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Wear wigs, gowns; ‘police’ lawyers to do same - CJ warns Judges, magistrates

Chief Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah Justice Kwesi Anin-Yeboah, Chief Justice of Ghana

Sat, 22 Jan 2022 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Chief Justice issues circular on dress code

Reminds Judges and professional magistrates to keep up with the standards

Asks the bench to ensure compliance on the part of lawyers


Chief Justice, Kwasi Anin-Yeboah has issued a circular admonishing all members of the bench to be appropriately dressed in the discharge of their duties within the courts.

According to a statement signed by himself, the reason for the circular was because he had noted that certain judges and professional magistrates were flouting existing rules on dress codes - i.e. to be fully robed in wig and gown.

“Judges and professional magistrates must be fully robed in wig and gown for court sittings at all times,” the circular read.

"I re-iterate that dressing in this manner helps to preserve the decorum, seriousness, and formality of court proceedings and the importance of the proper administration of justice.

“For this reason, judges and professional magistrates should also ensure that members of the Bar who appear before the Courts strictly comply with the dress standards to maintain the dignity of the court. I trust that I can count on your unalloyed cooperation,” it stressed.

The circular went on to provide dress standards as follows:

FEMALES


Black skirt or trouser suit or Barrister’s skirt or trousers (Trouseline) with Court

Waistcoat

White Court tunic shirt or white top

Or plain black sleeved (long or three quarters) dress

Collarette

Black Court or Block heeled Shoes (Full closed shoes)”.

MALES

Barrister’s trousers (Trouseline) with Court waistcoat or Black trouser suit

White tunic shirt

Collars held with studs and stiffeners

Court band tie/bibs

Black plain socks and black shoes.

The subject of wigs worn by members of the bench and the bar has often drawn heated arguments, even as opponents and proponents seek to drum home their preference.

In September 2021, the CJ issued a similar circular titled: “Dress Standards in Court” addressed to all judges and professional magistrates.

The crux of the statement was an explicit order to the bench to stick to “the requirement to be fully robed in a Wig and Gown, for Court sittings at all times.”

They were also to ensure that lawyers appearing before them were well dressed to “preserve the decorum, seriousness and formality of court proceedings.”

Those against the dress code argue that it is a colonial inheritance as is much of our laws, and have argued that Justices in parts of the UK have ditched the wig and it stands to reason that Ghana will do the same.

During a recent public lecture on the Constitution, keynote speaker, Senyo Hosi despite not having legal education waded into the debate and stated a position of opposition to the wearing of especially wigs by lawyers.

In the introductory statements of his lecture, he stated: “All that I have stated about our Constitution represents no veiled attempt to appear to sound legalese nor impose on a sense that I belong to this very revered and reclusive group of people with white wigs, called lawyers."

“I pray you change your wigs though. Black men don’t have white grey Caucasian hair,” he stressed.

Hosi on Friday, January 14, 2022, delivered the keynote address at the Constitution Day lecture at the University of Professional Studies-Accra, UPSA. The event was organized by the One Ghana Movement.

He averred among other things that the current democracy had plunged Ghana into a spiral of misgovernance in a manner depleting hopes of the people. Which spiral he continued had led by non-conformity and legitimate demand for change of the current Constitution.

The Economic policy analyst and CEO of the Ghana Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors also advocated a customized democracy he called “Ghanacracy” as a viable means to addressing legitimate concerns of Ghanaians about the current 1992 Constitution.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com