After endless consultations and a unilateral baring of heads by the parts of the High Court, it finally seems that the wig is to vanish from the civil courts. The craniums of judiciary and counsel shall henceforth be as stimulated by the air conditioned draughts as those of solicitor-advocates.
Allegedly, soicitor-advocates’ complaints that they were visibly of lesser authority in the courtroom, having only a gown to maintain their dignity, were part of the reason for the change. Personally, I suspect there are more than a few disappointed solicitors who actually wanted to don the horsehair.
Although the reasons for the change are entirely sound and should help with the post Wolff vision of civil litigation as a reasonable and practical process, I will miss the wigs. Not for any visions of grandeur and authority, but because I enjoy the atmosphere of second rate theatrical crossed with Grub Street that they conjure up. It is all a bit Tristram Shandy, which sometimes fitted both the cases and the Divas of the bar conducting them all too well. I like the Divas. How will they cope without the wig (and possibly gown) and all the extra little bits of business it affords them? Merely glaring over the top of a pair of glasses is not enough. I can and do do that.
Some new markers of position will inevitably emerge. I’ll look forward to seeing them.