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England civil court judges abandoning traditional wigs

[JURIST] The Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, announced reforms to judicial working dress Thursday, abolishing the traditional wigs [press release], wing collars, and bands for civil and family court judges, as well as advocates in civil proceedings. Judges sitting in criminal proceedings will continue to be dressed in traditional attire. Lord Phillips said that the reforms, which become effective on January 1, 2008, are intended to achieve "substantial savings" by reducing dress allowances made to judges, which will save approximately $610,000 annually.

The reforms came following a four-year debate surrounding the findings of a 2004 report [PDF text] which found that the public preferred modernization of the judiciary working dress, which a majority of the judiciary opposed. Judiciary members argued that the traditional dress is well-suited for judicial functions because it is "authoritative, traditional and distinguishes the wearer." Other court professionals also argued that "lay members of the public are ill placed to advise on dress" as they have no direct experience on legal proceedings. AP has more. BBC News has local coverage.

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