UK judges `considerably annoyed’over foisted new robes!

March 27th, 2009 - 5:19 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Mar.27 (ANI): A survey has found that London High Court judges are “considerably annoyed” about having new robes “foisted” on them, and there is “strong support” for abandoning the new robes.

The new robes, unveiled last May as part of a package of measures to simplify court working dress, immediately drew scornful comments.

The Independent quoted one critic as deriding the new robes as being akin to the vestments of “a Catholic bishop”, while another said it looked like “a cross between a Star Trek costume and a fascist stormtrooper’s uniform”.

The robes identify seniority, with heads of division and Court of Appeal judges wearing gowns with gold bands, High Court judges wearing red bands, and district judges to be dressed in gowns with blue bands at the neck.

The new robes were first worn officially in October as judges were instructed to abandon their horsehair wigs, wing collars, and traditional garb when sitting in civil and family proceedings.

Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, then Lord Chief Justice, modelled a gown in May and claimed he was pleased with the new look.

Lord Phillips is now the senior law lord in the House of Lords and so does not have to wear the robes.

His colleagues in the judiciary, according to the survey released yesterday, do not share his enthusiasm for updating their dress.

Of 104 High Court judges surveyed, 40 voted for abandoning the new robes, while 32 favoured retention, with or without modification. Others failed to reply.

The High Court Judges Association committee has now said it will propose “that no further step should be taken to recommend abolition, and that the new robe should be accepted.” (ANI)

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