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  • Dec 27, 2014
  • Updated: 1:27am
NewsHong Kong
LAW

Top Hong Kong judge refuses to let solicitors wear wigs in higher courts

PUBLISHED : Friday, 26 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 26 April, 2013, 11:23am
 

Poll

  • Yes: 45%
  • No: 55%
26 Apr 2013
  • Yes
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Total number of votes recorded: 293

It's a ruling that may leave some solicitors tearing their hair out.

The city's top judge has refused their request to be allowed to wear wigs - historically a symbol of power and the preserve of judges and barristers - when they represent clients in higher courts.

Earlier this year the Law Society, which has more than 8,000 solicitors as members, asked Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma Tao-li to allow them to don the horsehair apparel after they won approval to speak on behalf of clients in hearings in the High Court and Court of Final Appeal, alongside barristers.

They argued that the wearing of wigs was essential in helping to ensure justice is done, as a difference in appearance could influence the perception of jurors during criminal trials.

If wigs were to be worn by solicitors in court, given the court robes worn by solicitors, there is a potential for confusion in that, in appearance, there would be little visible difference between Solicitor Advocates and Senior Counsel

But the Bar Association, which represents more than 1,100 barristers, disagreed, saying the public would be confused about the differences between the two sides of the legal profession if they both wore wigs - a view the judiciary apparently shares.

In a written reply to the Post yesterday, the judiciary said it found no evidence that differences in court dress may give rise to solicitors being seen "in a negative light". It stressed there are "obvious differences" between barristers and solicitors, one of which is court dress.

"If wigs were to be worn by solicitors in court, given the court robes worn by solicitors, there is a potential for confusion in that, in appearance, there would be little visible difference between Solicitor Advocates and Senior Counsel," the judiciary wrote.

So far, 15 solicitors have been granted the right to represent their clients in open court in the Court of First Instance, Court of Appeal and Court of Final Appeal.

Stephen Hung Wan-shun, chairman of the Law Society's criminal law and procedure panel, expressed disappointment at the decision but said they would not pursue the issue further.

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This article is now closed to comments

pslhk
Some judges hear only noises and not statements
They need to see whether or how the utterers are wigged
to decide which side carries weight
That’s how justice is seen to be done
Don’t mistake the blindfolded girl above the Supreme Court façade as Themis
she is more likely a case of abduction, about to be sold to …
pslhk
Fools who make a fetish of horsehair scalps
may apply to ATV or TVB
to play stooges in costume dramas
-
Outlandish histronics of courtiers in republican law courts
insult justice and offend against the proprieties
-
Historians will look back
and laugh at Treasury Island's legalised farce
where legal practitioners fool themselves and everybody else
-
My sympathy for those who unwillingly don the clownish attires
required for the colonial courthouses of post-colonial HK
johnyuan
So one reads law and SCMP as well? May the latter expands your mind.

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