A senior barrister of at least ten years' practice who has received a patent as “one of Her Majesty's counsel learned in the law”. QCs are now appointed by an independent selection panel of the highest calibre supported by a secretariat. Applicants are assessed against a competence framework. In court they sit within the bar and wear silk gowns (hence they are also known informally as silks). If the monarch is a king these barristers are known as King's Counsel ( KC).