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This Act is current to January 25, 2023

King's Counsel Act

[RSBC 1996] CHAPTER 393

Contents
1Attorney General to be appointed King's Counsel
2Power of Lieutenant Governor in Council to appoint King's Counsel
3Quota
4Eligibility for appointment
5When appointments may be made
6Precedence of certain members of Bar
7Precedence of other members of Bar
8Precedence of counsel acting for the government not affected by this Act
9Power of Lieutenant Governor in Council to revoke King's Counsel appointment
10Automatic revocation of King's Counsel appointment on disbarment

Attorney General to be appointed King's Counsel

1   On the appointment of a person to the office of the Attorney General of British Columbia, a commission must be issued appointing the person one of His Majesty's Counsel learned in the law.

Power of Lieutenant Governor in Council to appoint King's Counsel

2   (1) On the recommendation of the Attorney General, the Lieutenant Governor in Council, by letters patent under the Great Seal, may appoint, from among the members of the Bar of British Columbia, Provincial officers under the names of His Majesty's Counsel learned in the law for the Province of British Columbia.

(2) Before making a recommendation under subsection (1), the Attorney General must consult with

(a) the Chief Justice of British Columbia,

(b) the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court,

(b.1) the Chief Judge of the Provincial Court, and

(c) 2 members of the Law Society of British Columbia appointed by the benchers for that purpose.

Quota

3   The maximum number of persons who may be appointed as His Majesty's Counsel learned in the law is 7% of the number of barristers and solicitors in British Columbia at the time the appointment is made.

Eligibility for appointment

4   A person is not eligible to be appointed unless the person has at least 5 years' standing at the Bar of British Columbia.

When appointments may be made

5   The quota for the year or the quota as increased under section 3 may be made at any time during the year.

Precedence of certain members of Bar

6   (1) The following members of the Bar of British Columbia have precedence in the courts of British Columbia in the following order:

(a) the Attorney General of Canada;

(b) the Attorney General of British Columbia;

(c) the members of the Bar who have filled the offices of Attorney General of Canada while a member of the Bar of British Columbia, or Attorney General of British Columbia, according to seniority of appointment as Attorney General;

(d) the members of the Bar who have filled the office of Solicitor General for Canada according to seniority of appointment as Solicitor General;

(e) the members of the Bar of British Columbia appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council Her or His Majesty's Counsel learned in the law for British Columbia.

(2) All persons mentioned in subsection (1) (e) have precedence among themselves in the order established in the letters patent issued under section 2.

(3) Any precedence established in letters patents issued before the date this subsection comes into force in relation to persons mentioned in subsection (1) (e) continues to apply.

Precedence of other members of Bar

7   The remaining members of the Bar have, as between themselves, precedence in the courts in the order of their call to the Bar.

Precedence of counsel acting for the government not affected by this Act

8   This Act does not affect rights or precedence of a member of the Bar when acting as counsel for the government, or an Attorney General, in a matter in the name of the government or of the Attorney General before the courts, and the right and precedence remains as if this Act had not been passed.

Power of Lieutenant Governor in Council to revoke King's Counsel appointment

9   (1) On the recommendation of the Attorney General, the Lieutenant Governor in Council, by letters patent under the Great Seal, may revoke an appointment made under section 2.

(2) Before making a recommendation referred to in subsection (1), the Attorney General must consult with

(a) the Chief Justice of British Columbia,

(b) the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court,

(c) the Chief Judge of the Provincial Court, and

(d) 2 members of the Law Society of British Columbia appointed by the benchers for that purpose.

(3) This section applies in relation to an appointment whether

(a) the appointment is made before or after the date this section comes into force, or

(b) the reason for the revocation occurs before or after the date this section comes into force.

Automatic revocation of King's Counsel appointment on disbarment

10   (1) If a person who is appointed under section 2 is disbarred under the Legal Profession Act on or after the date this section comes into force, the person's appointment is revoked on the date of the disbarment.

(2) Subsection (1) applies in relation to an appointment whether the appointment is made before or after the date this section comes into force.

(3) If a person who is appointed under section 2 is disbarred under the Legal Profession Act before the date this section comes into force, the person's appointment is revoked on the date this section comes into force.