The Ashanti Regional branch of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) has appealed to Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood to immediately restore the wearing of wigs by judges and lawyers during court sittings.
According to the lawyers, the wearing of wigs in court offered them some level of protection as the wigs helped to disguise their faces, thereby, preventing criminals who they (lawyers) prosecute in court, from noticing and attacking them in public in the course of time.
The Ashanti Regional GBA President, Francis Koffie, said the lives of lawyers have been put in great danger since the wearing of wigs in court was stopped about a decade ago, stressing the need for the practice to be restored.
“When you wear wig to court it gives you a different look so people, including criminals, you prosecute will not notice you when court sittings are over and you change into your normal dressing,” he said.
The occasion was the official inauguration of the refurbished Lawyers’ Robing Room, located on the ground floor of the High Court building in Kumasi.
The plush facility boasts of a front desk, a private robing section, among other key facilities.
Aside being used as a changing room, lawyers can also use the facility for relaxation and learning, which would go a long way to help enhance their delivery in court.
Lawyer Koffie remarked that “since lawyers cannot dress more than judges, they (lawyers) also stopped wearing wigs to court, and the development makes lawyers vulnerable to possible violent attacks by criminals.”
According to him, the special identity and respect that lawyers used to attract from the public because of their exceptional dressing code have been lost because nowadays they don’t properly robe, calling for the support of judges to restore the dress code.
“I respectfully urge Your Lordships to insist on proper robing and unless otherwise blatantly justifiable, refuse to grant audience to any lawyer who appears naked before you. That said, as the adage goes, whilst advising the cat, one must also advise the rat.
“By convention, lawyers are not supposed to over-robe the court/judge. It is therefore expected that this insistence will be mutual. Respectfully, some of us do really miss our wigs and want them back. I guess walls have ears,” the president appealed.
Mr Koffie disclosed that plans were afoot for the GBA to construct a permanent Bar Centre/Secretariat at Denyame in Kumasi, adding that the Lands Commission had allocated a piece of land for the project and that the documentation processes were still ongoing.
The Deputy Judicial Secretary, Boakye Yiadom, who represented the Supervising Judge of the Ashanti Region, commended Lawyer Koffie and his executives for refurbishing the Robing Room and urged lawyers to properly maintain the facility so that it will last long.