Barristers and solicitors who successfully apply to hold the elite status of Queen's Counsel will have to pay fees of more than £4,000.
A new independent selection procedure replaces a widely criticised system which relied on the Lord Chancellor taking "secret soundings" from senior legal figures on who to appoint.
QC, or "silk", status is normally held by about ten per cent of barristers. Tony Blair's wife Cherie is a QC.
Chairman of the new independent selection panel, Sir Duncan Nichol, said he believed the revised system would be fair and transparent.
Applications will open next Tuesday, with lawyers expected to complete a selfassessment proving their abilities, provide referees, and undergo a face- to- face interview.
They will pay £1,800 up front and a further £2,250 if they are awarded silk.
Sir Duncan said: "We have been extremely keen to ensure that it's a figure that doesn't put people off.
"We have been striving very, very hard to keep the gateway fee at a level which will not deter applicants."
For the first time, there will be a mechanism to remove silk status from lawyers who later cause concern that they are no longer meeting standards, although it will only apply to those who have been awarded the mark under the new regime.
Sir Duncan said he hoped it would see more women and ethnic minority lawyers being awarded silk but he stressed it would be handed out on merit only.
"We are extremely anxious to make sure that the process is truly blind to extraneous factors," he said.
"We don't start with a quota. We start from the principle of merit. But we do have an aspiration to see a more diverse pool."
Law Society president Edward Nally said: "Gone are the days of secret soundings and in their place we have created a modern recruitment process.
"We believe we have created a modern, fair and transparent selection process for future QCs."
He pointed out that only eight solicitors had successfully applied for QC status since they became eligible in
Sir Duncan said it was impossible to predict how many lawyers may apply before the September 14 deadline but indicated the figure could be between 450 and 650.
Bar chairman Guy Mansfield QC said: "My understanding is there is a pent-up demand within the profession. I think there will be no shortage of applicants."
He added that silk status remained a "quality mark in the public interest".