Court attire

August 27, 2009


My wife recently took this photo of my wig to post in a photo competition. It prompted my sister in law to comment on my sudden loss of weight!

So, why do barristers wear wigs? One of the better historical explanations is in an article I saw in West Australian Bar Review in 2005. Some of the reasons why the practice goes on are :

(a) formality, solemnity and tradition; and

(b) neatness/uniformity

Whether you agree or not I once heard the argument that there is no hurry to change something that was out of date 200 years ago. All that aside there is another practical problem for barristers and that is attempting to comply with the Supreme Court “robing policy” in NSW. The policy is meant to clarify when robes/wigs need to be worn. However, I recently had an experience where I had to receive a reserved judgment (policy said robes were required) immediately followed by a common law duty judge application (policy says no robes required). The judge delivering the judgment was not robed (so I took my robes off) and the duty judge in other court was wearing his robes and wig (so I put them back on again)!….seems some judges haven’t read the policy.


3 Responses to “Court attire”

  1. walsh Says:

    I told you not to go on that diet!

  2. That’s beauty of appearing as a Solicitor Paul no need to robe. I practise as a Barrister & Solicitor and Robe only during Jury trials. Other wise I’m a Solicitor for intents and purposes and still have the right of appearance 😉

  3. Hi Paul,
    this is such an awesome image I have reproduced it, with acknowledgement, on my own blog –
    Let me know if this is not okay and I will remove it. I enjoyed your blog, by the way.
    Best wishes

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