High standards

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 10 September, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 10 September, 2003, 12:00am

I refer to the letter headlined 'Robes and wigs' (September 4).

I cannot understand the connection which your correspondent draws between the attire that judges wear in court and 'equity and fairness'.

The wigs and gowns of members of the judiciary are worn in court as tokens that represent the standing of the possessor as a dispenser of justice without fear or favour.

As such, the attire indicates to all those who appear in court - legal practitioner and layperson alike - that no action will be entertained that does not accord with the very highest standards.

The lack of abuse to which the English legal system is subject, relative to the American system, where trivial litigation is spiralling out of control, may be ascribed in part to the high esteem in which judges are held in England.

Finally, your correspondent should remember that, as in the armed forces, where one salutes the rank and not the individual, so with the courts.

To make changes to a system that has stood the test of time for centuries strikes me as folly bordering on madness.

Dr. ROBERT AUSTIN, Faculty of Education, University of Hong Kong