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Last Updated: Friday, 7 December 2007, 18:37 GMT
Civil case judges hold on to wigs
Judges generic
Judges in criminal cases will keep their wigs and gowns
Plans for judges to take off their wigs in civil cases and wear a new style gown have been put on hold.

The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Phillips, decided to postpone the plans because not enough gowns will be made in time.

The new dress code was supposed to come into effect on 2 January but it will not now happen until next October.

The change follows a four-year review of legal dress code which will see judges and lawyers in criminal courts keep their traditional wigs and gowns.

Production details

The updated gown design was created with the help of fashion students, and will be unveiled in the new year.

A Judicial Communications Office spokesman said: "Although the design of the gown is now confirmed, production details are still being worked out.

"As it will not be possible to manufacture gowns for all the judges who will need them, Lord Phillips has decided to postpone the introduction of the changes in court dress until the start of the next legal year, 1 October 2008."

The changes will save 300,000 a year after a one-off cost of about 200,000 on producing a new civil gown, according to the Judicial Communications Office.

A survey in 2004 of more than 1,600 members of the public and 500 court users found 64% believed court dress should be modernised.

But a poll of more than 1,000 judges and lawyers revealed more than 70% felt they were suitably dressed for criminal cases.



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