The title of Queen's Counsel will be restored through legislation that will be introduced to Parliament this year, says the Attorney-General, Chris Finlayson.

The previous Government introduced the title of Senior Counsel to replace QC last year, and it was open to solicitors in firms as well as barristers.

The title Senior Counsel will be removed by the legislation.

Mr Finlayson said eligibility to be appointed a QC would be restricted in most cases to barristers, rather than lawyers in partnerships or firms.

"The title Queen's Counsel is instantly recognised as providing a certain standard of legal advice among the New Zealand public and internationally," he said.

"The Government is taking these steps to protect the essential independence of the inner bar."

Mr Finlayson said seven Senior Counsel appointed last year would be given the option of adopting the title of QC.

- NZPA