4 NRIs appointed Queens Counsels

London: A leading London-based barrister Kalyani Kaul and three others of Indian origin have been appointed Queen`s Counsels (QCs) by the Queen.

50-year-old Kalyani, who has handled high-profile cases in the UK, is one of the 120 QCs appointed this year and one of the four NRIs chosen. She is currently working as a Recorder and presides over hearings in county courts.

The other three NRI QCs appointed this year are Poonam Arjandas Melwani, Rajiv Menon and Rohan Anthony Pershad.

Queen`s Counsel is a status conferred by the Crown, that is recognised by courts. Members have the privilege of sitting within the Bar of court.

Kalyani, who was the third highest paid barrister in terms of legal aid payments in 2005, said: "I am still a Recorder, specialising in serious crime cases. The appointment as a QC is a good thing and it adds to the status. I will handle more serious work which only QCs can handle."

As members wear silk gowns of a particular design, the award of Queen`s Counsel is known informally as "taking silk".

In order to qualify, a lawyer usually has to serve as a barrister or solicitor for at least ten years.

Kalyani has been practising law in Britain for the last 27 years. She studied Law in the London School of Economics (LSE).

Major cases handled by her included one relating to government of Rwanda vs Munyaneza and an extradition case against the government of Rwanda in 2009 in connection with charges of genocide.

Kalyani, who specialises in serious crime cases, has handled the case relating to the Chohan murders in 2005, when five members of the family were kidnapped and murdered. It was the longest murder trial at the Old Bailey.