HC Deb 18 April 1995 vol 258 cc2-3W
Mr. Gordon Prentice

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what assessment he has made of the usefulness of the wearing of wigs in court. [18713]

Mr. John M. Taylor

The question concerns a specific operational matter on which the chief executive of the Court Service is best placed to provide an answer and I have accordingly asked the chief executive to reply direct.

Letter from Michael Huebner to Mr. Gordon Prentice, dated 12 April 1995:

PARLIAMENTARY QUESTION: THE USEFULNESS OF WEARING WIGS IN COURT The Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellors Department, has asked me to reply to your question about the usefulness of wearing wigs in court. On 19 July 1994 a Practice Direction on court dress was issued by the Lord Chief Justice on behalf of the Lord Chancellor. The Direction arose because of the need to maintain consistency in the court dress worn by solicitors following the extensions to the rights of audience under the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990. The Direction indicated that the current dress requirements for advocates appearing in the Supreme Court and the county courts continued to apply. This meant that while Queens Counsel and junior counsel could wear a short wig in court, solicitors could not. The Lord Chancellor recognised the need for further consultation on court dress before arriving at a long-term decision. In August 1994 views were therefore sought from organisations and individuals closely concerned with the working of the courts, on whether solicitors should be allowed to wear wigs in court. Comments were also invited from members of the public. Because there was no consensus among respondents, the Lord Chancellor concluded that the case for change was not made out. A Practice Direction was issued by the Lord Chancellor on 11 April 1995 to re-affirm the position on court dress as stated in the Practice Direction of 19 July 1994.