King’s Counsel appointments
It is tradition to appoint lawyers as King's Counsel (KC) who have made particular contributions to:
- the legal profession, or
- public life
The Lieutenant Governor in Council makes KC appointments under authority of the King's Counsel Act.
The Minister of Justice will consider certain criteria when considering an application for King's Counsel (His Majesty's Counsel, learned in the law, for the Province of Alberta) and will award the appointments of King's Counsel to those lawyers who, in accordance with the King’s Counsel Act (Alberta), have been called to the bar for at least ten years, with a minimum of five years practicing in the province of Alberta, and have demonstrated the following attributes to the extent that they make the applicant a leader in the legal profession.
- sound intellectual ability with a thorough, comprehensive, and current knowledge of law and practice in the applicant's field
- distinguished legal service with demanding and challenging legal work that contributes to the development of the law and practice
- a recognized expertise in a particular area of law and practice (which may include the general practice of law)
- an outstanding ability as a lawyer in the applicant's field, to a standard to be expected of King's Counsel
Professional qualities, including:
- a history of honesty, integrity, discretion, and candid dealings in professional and personal matters including dealings with professional colleagues, clients, lay people, and the courts and in the execution of duties as an officer of the court
- the trust and confidence of others
- the respect of fellow lawyers
- the respect of the Bench and administrative tribunals before which the applicant may appear
- demonstrated mentorship of junior members of the Bar
The Minister of Justice may also consider the following in awarding a King's Counsel:
Contribution to the administration of justice, including:
- a demonstrated commitment to make legal services available to all who require them, regardless of the ability to pay
- a superior commitment to access to justice
Contribution to the community, including:
- a superior contribution to the life of the community including leadership on community, cultural, and philanthropic organizations
- contributions to the community in order to further the well-being of the community
- providing service and support to communities and community organizations in ways that encourage initiative, self-help, cooperation, and partnership building
Contribution to the legal profession, including:
- a superior contribution to the legal profession through leadership in governance of the profession or Bar-related activities
- a superior contribution to legal scholarship through teaching or legal writing and research
- a recognition of superior contribution in a variety of legal practices, including service to government, business corporations, non-profit organizations, administrative tribunals, academic institutions, Crown Prosecutor's office, and the Law Society
The Minister of Justice is committed to consider each application on the established merits of the individual alone without regard to law firm affiliation, and will consider each application on an equal basis regardless of gender, age, race, ethnic or national origin, religion, sexual orientation, marital or family status, disability, or political affiliation.
Applications will be reviewed by the King's Counsel Screening Committee. The committee advises the Minister of Justice whether each applicant is:
- not recommended at this time
King's Counsel Screening Committee
The committee is comprised of:
- President, Law Society of Alberta
- President-Elect, Law Society of Alberta
- President, Canadian Bar Association - Alberta branch
- Chief Justice of Alberta, or nominee
- Chief Justice, Court of King's Bench, or nominee
- Associate Chief Justice, Court of King's Bench, or nominee
- Chief Justice, Court of Justice, or nominee
- an Assistant Chief Justice
- the Minister of Justice, or nominee
- a Lay Bencher
- a representative from each of the North, Central, and Southern Districts
- the Deputy Attorney General, or nominee
How to apply
The 2023 deadline for King's Counsel appointment applications has passed.
After you apply
An email will be sent to the address listed in your application form if you are selected to receive a KC appointment.
No updates will be provided regarding the:
- KC process
- timing of announcements
Use of the King's Counsel designation
In accordance with s. 1 of the King's Counsel Act, a person is not allowed to use the King’s Counsel (KC) designation until the Letters Patent have been signed by the Lieutenant Governor and have been issued to the recipients.
If you have other questions unrelated to the status of your appointment application, connect with:
Office of the Deputy Minister
Hours: 8:15 am to 4:00 pm (Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Email: [email protected]
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