The Lord Chief Justice has a new funky gown. As I studied Law at University for four years I find this piece of news more interesting than I probably should do. After the first few weeks of lectures I was pretty sure that the legal profession wasn't right for me. Was the traditional and conservative style to blame? For 300 years the wig and gown have symbolised the authority of the court. All that will change in October, when judges in civil and family cases will ditch their horsehair wigs and instead be dressed by Betty Jackson. Jackson, a former designer of the year, worked for free as the design consultant for the new gown, in consultation with a panel of judges. The new robe has coloured bands to indicate seniority, with heads of the high court's four divisions and appeal court judges wearing gold bands and high court judges wearing red. Judges will no longer wear wing collars and bands for civil and family proceedings.
However, Not everyone is in favour of the change. Last year a public consultation found that the majority of barristers and members of the public found were in favour of keeping full legal dress in the higher courts. That raises the prospect of barristers wearing wigs but judges going wigless (which sounds quite funny put like that). Lawyers did not wear wigs until the 17th Century, previously they had to have short hair and a beard (a beard is always a good measure of a man).
What do you make of the law profression being dragged into the 21st Century? I personally would have preferred to see a beautifully tailored suit and of course a return to short hair and a beard!