Posted: Friday, 3 October 2008 @ 14:04
Yesterday marked a historic day in the civil courts. Civil court judges will no longer wear wigs.
I must say, it has always appeared strange to me that we expected our judiciary to support headwear dating back some 300 years. Those in favour of wigs tended to argue that they helped judges command respect, and provided a degree of anonymity, which is useful when judges have to make difficult decisions.
However, most of the work done in the civil courts, and especially in the business-related courts, has been done outside a formal courtroom, and it was becoming increasingly rare to see a judge presiding over a business case wearing a wig - unless it was in a full-scale trial.
I have never heard it suggested that respect should not be shown to a judge just because they were sitting in chambers rather than open court, or that a judge sitting in these circumstances found it more difficult to reach a decision than when wearing a wig.
I sincerely hope that this change is more than symbolic and represents a real shift in the judicial system, bringing it at last fully into the 21st-century. The gradual use of the internet and email in the court system has been a welcome step forward but, in my opinion, far too much work is still conducted using paper and old-fashioned systems. The business community needs to know that it has a judicial system that understands its needs and modern ways of doing business.
Gary Cousins, Business Lawyer
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Blog by Gary Cousins
Gary has been providing legal advice to shareholders, directors and business owners for over 25 years. Specialising in dispute resolution Gary is based in Birmingham with clients throughout the UK and overseas. View profile
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