Three members of Birmingham barristers’ chambers are to be appointed Queen’s Counsel later this month.

Two are members of No5 Chambers, while the third is a member of St Philips Chambers.

Mark Heywood and Gary Bell are both criminal law specialists at No5 and, together, they have approaching 50 years’ experience at the Bar and have conducted many high profile cases.

Andrew Smith from St Philips also assumes the rank of QC. At just 37 years old and having been called in 1997, Mr Smith is the youngest barrister to be appointed this year and also becomes the youngest ever criminal silk in England and Wales.

No5 practice director, Tony McDaid, said: “I should like to congratulate Mark and Gary and look forward to seeing them deservedly appointed to Queen’s Counsel. The two are leaders in their fields of law and are greatly respected by their clients.

“They have appeared in a wide range of nationally leading cases in recent years and thoroughly deserve this recognition. The QC selection process requires candidates to demonstrate a wide range of legal and personal skills. The level of commitment required to achieve QC status is vast and testament to the dedication of all those appointed.

“I am delighted to welcome them to the growing family of QCs we have at No5 Chambers.”

The appointments brings the total number of QCs at No5 to 28.

Kevin Hegarty QC, head of chambers and fellow criminal silk at St Philips, said: “It is a real honour to be appointed to the rank of Queen’s Counsel and to achieve this at such a young age is testimony to Andrew’s hard work and dedication in delivering a first class legal service to both solicitors and lay clients.”

Just 88 QCs have been appointed this year, around 40 less then previous years. All will be officially sworn-in by the Lord Chancellor, Kenneth Clarke QC, in a ceremony at the Palace of Westminster on Friday March 30.