Some of the nation’s most senior barristers will see their titles automatically changed following the Queen’s death.
Queen Elizabeth’s death has prompted a shake up for some of Australia’s most senior lawyers.
Following King Charles’ ascension to the throne, some of Australia’s senior barristers will now be known as “King’s Counsel”.
Previously, they were referred to as “Queen’s Counsel” but their name was automatically changed following the Queen’s death on Friday morning (Australian time).
“On the demise of Her Majesty Elizabeth II, the Queen of Australia, and the accession to the throne of His Majesty Charles III, the King of Australia, the appointments of persons as Queen’s Counsel by letters patent continue automatically,” the Australian Bar Association said in a statement.
“By custom, those persons, upon the passing of Her Majesty, became ‘King’s Counsel’ (or ‘KC’). They did not need to seek new letters patent of appointment or take any further action.”
The change will not have a far-reaching effect in NSW, where since the 1990s, barristers have been referred to as “Senior Counsel” or SC.
Though some barristers, who were given the rank of “Queen’s Counsel” before the change, will be affected.
However, the title is commonly used in Queensland, Victoria and South Australia.
There is another likely change coming to many courts in Australia as well: prosecutions will now be formally brought in the name of the King instead of the Queen.
Criminal charges in NSW, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia are brought in the name of the regent.
The names of criminal cases in NSW, for example, are often styled as R – for Regina or Rex, the Latin words for Queen and King – versus the defendant.
The NSW Director of Public Prosecutions said on Friday that from now on, charges will be brought in the name of “his majesty rather than her majesty”.
“With the passing of her majesty Queen Elizabeth II, sovereignty has passed to King Charles III. Indictments presented from today forward for arraignment should be in the name of his majesty rather than her majesty to reflect this,” Sally Dowling SC said.
Ongoing proceedings will not be affected.