Civil and Family Court Judges will no longer wear those fantastic wigs. From the BBC:
The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, has announced there will be no change to the 18th Century-style garb in criminal courts.
But judges and lawyers in family and civil courts have been ordered to ditch their wigs and wing-collars. The Judicial Communications Office said the changes would save £300,000 a year after a one-off cost of about £200,000. That would be spent on producing a new civil gown, a spokesman said. The decisions follow a £110,000 consultation paper on possible reforms, which was launched in May 2003. Lord Phillips said seasonal variations in the robes of High Court judges would be abolished.
I wonder if Scots or Northern Irish judges will follow suit and ditch their wigs as well. Scottish court dress is very similar to English court dress, but there are notable differences. For example, Scottish advocates wear tail coats under their gowns, and wear white bow ties instead of bands.
American judges have Thomas Jefferson to thank for the elimination of wigs in the legal profession there. Does the act of putting on a wig give some added emotional and intellectual weight to the judges, thereby giving them a better chance of reaching the "right" result? Or does it lend an added air of solemnity to judicial proceedings for the participants?
This question does not rise to the level of a constitutional dilemma of course but I'm wondering what the esteemed readers of the legal research society blog think. I've added an unscientific poll at the right where you can vote. Feel free to comment as well.