A split has opened up between those who want to protest in full court garb, and those who don’t.
The organisers of Friday’s strike want the lawyers attending to wear their wigs and gowns.
CBA, LCCSA, CLSA & Justice Alliance encourage as many people as possible to wear wigs & gowns on Friday. Timings and details coming soon!
— The CBA (@TheCriminalBar) March 4, 2014
But last night three top criminal silks came out against the dress code, with Mukul Chawla QC labelling it an “awful idea”, John Cooper QC calling it a “terrible image” and Francis FitzGibbon QC branding it “daft”. This is the tweet by Chawla that began the debate:
CONTROVERSIAL TWEET ALERT 2!! For what it's worth, I think wearing wigs and gowns on the streets on Day of Action of Friday is awful idea.
— Mukul Chawla QC (@MChawlaQC) March 4, 2014
The main argument in favour of wig-wearing is that it will lead to more publicity, with photos of lawyers in court dress more likely to feature prominently in media coverage of the protests.
Those against suggest that wigs and gowns introduce a barrier between lawyers and the public at a point in time when that’s not desirable, while enabling the press to play on popular stereotypes of the legal profession as aloof and old fashioned.
It’s an interesting debate, but happily appears unlikely to derail the aim of the day of action.
Whether barristers are robed or not this Friday the message is clear. We will fight to prevent our Criminal Justice System being destroyed.
— Ian Unsworth QC (@IanUnsworth_QC) March 4, 2014