Commissioned in September 2008 by the two bodies, the review investigates the criteria and assessment methods of the current system. Since 2005, QCs have been appointed by a selection panel in an open competition. Following the move away from the previously used “soundings” process three years ago, Sir Duncan considered the operation of the new selection process; the business model supporting the selection process and the personnel who will comprise the selection panel in the future.

In January, a Law Society survey found many solicitors believed the current system was biased in favour of barristers and was too costly and time-consuming to complete. Des Hudson, chief executive of the Law Society, said: “The essential point remains that the current system is infinitely preferable to the former ‘soundings’ behind the scenes.”

Bar Council chief executive David Hobart said he was keen to “ensure that the QC marque was not diluted”. The Bar Council and Law Society plan to produce a concerted response once they have considered the report further.