New robe, no wig

New robe, no wig

Judges get fresh attire for court

BY PAUL HENRY Crime/Court Desk co-ordinator

Friday, April 05, 2013

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THE era of judicial wigs and the heavy red robe worn by Jamaica's High Court judges is now over.

The judges — with the opening of the Easter Term of the Home Circuit Court on Wednesday — started sporting their new robes, without the wigs.

The full black robe — with vertical stripes in the national colours of black, green and yellow running down the front — appears to be made of lighter material, which is more suitable for the tropical climate.

The change was hailed by some lawyers who highlighted the nationalistic quality of the new robe. Some were of the view that the justices should have long thrown off the old garb that are vestiges of the colonial era.

"It instils a sense of national pride," attorney Peter Champagnie told the Jamaica Observer. "I had long imagined that the heavy red robe and wig must have been uncomfortable for them to wear."

Said attorney Chuckwueneka Cameron: "The faster we get rid of the vestiges of our past is the faster we will continue to develop our own jurisprudence and finally have our own final court of appeal. It's a small step, but a step in the right direction."

The British-based Privy Council is the island's final court of appeal.

"It's a serious break from the colonial past," Catherine Minto said about the new attire. "I kind of liked the tradition and what the robe and wig represented, but I can understand why they felt the need to move away from that."

The new attire was first worn by Court of Appeal justices last year.

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