Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Back to school

For most of us, today was the first day back in court after a four-day Easter break. Maybe it's partly because the sun was shining outside, but there was a real gloominess about the Crown Court I was in, just like the beginning of a new school term. As well as chatting about what we'd been up to over Easter and general robing room gossip, there was some discussion about reported plans to abolish wigs in civil, family and commercial proceedings. Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers (the Lord Chief Justice) has declared that they contribute to the public perception that lawyers and judges are out of touch. Wigs and gowns will, however, continue to be worn in criminal cases. Obviously it doesn't matter whether or not people unfortunate enough to become involved in either side of the criminal justice system think that lawyers and judges are out of touch!

I have mixed feelings about court dress. On the one hand, robes are another thing to carry around and in summer are not the most comfortable thing to wear. In one of my recent forays into the civil courts a judge decided to dispense with robes, which I quite liked. On the other hand, they do help maintain anonymity to a certain, albeit limited, degree. I've been told several times by clients who see me without my wig and gown on that they barely recognise me. Also, wigs are a great leveller. When you're two minutes' call and up against somebody who's been at the Bar longer than you've been alive it somehow helps that you're dressed the same - not just because it improves your confidence but because it improves your client's confidence in you. It's quite difficult to be taken seriously by some old lags when you're a fresh-faced young thing (oddly, this is a problem I've experienced less and less lately) and wearing a wig definitely helps.

On balance, I'm in favour of keeping wigs and gowns. I know that tradition alone is not a reason to hang onto something pointless but once traditions are dispensed with there's no going back. And for all that they're old-fashioned and odd-looking, wearing a wig does mean you don't have to make any effort with your hair in the morning and if that isn't a good reason to keep them, I don't know what is.


Mr Beagle said...

Reminds me of that bit in Withnail and I:

Danny: So there's this judge sitting there in a cape like ******* Batman with this really rather far out looking hat.

Withnail: A wig.

Danny: No man, this was more like a long white hat. So he looks at The Coalman and says, 'What's all this. This is a court man. This ain't fancy dress.' And The Coalman looks at him and says, 'You think you look normal, Your Honour?'. **** give him two years.


Anonymous said...

anything that we do that the american's don't must be good.

Anonymous said...

Looks like Mr. Beagle is into Female Domination. Isn't that right, danny_legalbeagle?

Anonymous said...

What's up to every , as I am truly eager of reading this webpage's post to be
updated regularly. It contains nice information.
my web site -

Anonymous said...

I tend not to comment, however after browsing a few of the responses here "Back to school".
I do have some questions for you if you tend not to mind.
Could it be simply me or do a few of these comments appear
like they are left by brain dead visitors? :-P And,
if you are writing at additional social sites, I would like to keep
up with anything new you have to post. Would you post a list of the complete urls of your social sites like your twitter feed, Facebook
page or linkedin profile?

Feel free to surf to my web-site: how to trademark a name

Anonymous said...

I'd like to thank you for the efforts you've put in penning this blog.
I am hoping to view the same high-grade content from you later on as well.
In fact, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my very own
site now ;)

Also visit my weblog phil cardella mugshot

Anonymous said...

Fastidious replies in return of this issue with solid arguments and telling everything
about that.

My web-site: company profile
my web site > web design jakarta

Anonymous said...

What's Going down i'm new to this, I stumbled upon this I've found It absolutely useful and it has helped me out loads. I am hoping to give a contribution & help other customers like its helped me. Good job.

my web page: cfnm fever handjob

Anonymous said...

Hi there! Do you know if they make any plugins to help with Search Engine Optimization?
I'm trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I'm not seeing very good success.
If you know of any please share. Thank you!

my web site :: naked man massage

Anonymous said...

It's hard to come by well-informed people for this subject, however, you sound like you know what you're talking about!

Here is my website: Live Girls

Anonymous said...

Does your site have a contact page? I'm having trouble locating it but, I'd like to send you an e-mail.
I've got some recommendations for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great site and I look forward to seeing it improve over time.

my blog post: Party girl sex

Anonymous said...

I have learn a few good stuff here. Definitely worth
bookmarking for revisiting. I surprise how so much attempt
you set to create the sort of excellent informative site.

Also visit my webpage;