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Lois Gander, the Founder and former Director of the Legal Resource Centre and Publisher of LawNow, was recently named a Queen's Counsel. She was granted the prestigious designation at a ceremony held at the Law Courts Building in Edmonton on February 25, 2008.

LawNow is pleased to note that a number of volunteer contributors to LawNow were also honoured. They included Steven Bilodeau, Shirish Chotalia, Diana Lowe, and Scott Watson.

These appointments are given to lawyers who have made an exceptional contribution to both the legal profession and the communities they serve. Lawyers so honoured are referred to as "counsel learned in the law".

The history of the Queen's Counsel designation dates back over 400 years to the time of Queen Elizabeth I. Her successor, King James, was prevailed upon by Sir Francis Bacon to designate him "King's Counsel Extraordinary" and it was at this time that the phrase "counsel learned in the law" first came into use.

Some ancient traditions continue to be associated with present-day QCs. For example, they are entitled to wear robes made of silk when appearing in court. This practice dates back to the funeral of Queen Mary in 1694, when Queen's Counsel wore black silk robes as a symbol of mourning. Hence, when lawyers are appointed as Queen's Counsel, they are said to "take silk".

The tradition of appointing Queen's Counsel continues in England, Canada, and other Commonwealth jurisdictions. Most provincial governments appoint Queen's Counsel, usually every two years. This is the case in Alberta, where the appointments are made in accordance with the requirements of the Queen's Counsel Act. Nominated candidates are assessed by a committee consisting of eminent members of the legal profession including the President and President-elect of the Law Society; the President of the Canadian Bar Association, Alberta Branch; the Chief Justice of Alberta; the Chief Justice of the Court of Queen's Bench; the Minister of Justice and the Attorney General, among others.

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Only about 12% of all lawyers ever admitted to the Law Society of Alberta have been honoured in this way. LawNow congratulates all of this year's Queen's Counsel appointees, and celebrates with those QCs who are part of the LawNow family.

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Title Annotation:appointment of Queen's Counsel; Canada
Publication:LawNow
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:May 1, 2008
Words:368
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