Two Catholic barristers, who refused to declare they would serve the queen in order to become QCs, finally ‘took silk’ yesterday. Barry Macdonald and Seamus Treacy were due to be sworn in last December but, because of their refusal to swear the traditional declaration to serve the queen, they were forced to continue to practise as junior counsel. The pair claimed the declaration discriminated against them as nationalists and was an affront to their political sensibilities. However, last May they won a judicial review of the lord chancellor’s decision that they would have to declare they would “well and truly serve Queen Elizabeth II”. Instead, the barristers made the following declaration at the royal courts of justice in Belfast yesterday: “I sincerely promise and declare that I will well and truly serve all whom I may lawfully be called upon to serve in the office of one of her majesty’s counsel learned in the law according to the best of my skill and understanding.” The new declaration was recommended by the Elliott Committee, headed by Frazer Elliott QC, and composed of members of the Bar Council. After a short formal ceremony, the two new QCs, wearing the traditional longer wigs, were congratulated by friends, family and fellow barristers outside the courthouse. Both barristers preferred not to comment on the legal issue but said they were both “delighted that the matter has been satisfactorily resolved”. “This has been an eagerly awaited day for ourselves and our families,” Mr Treacy added. Their solicitor, Peter Madden from Madden and Finucane solicitors, said: “This is a big day for them and their families. I’m pleased that they have both been vindicated.”