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As a consequence of Section 49 of the Courts and Courts Officers Act 1995;

49.—A barrister or a solicitor when appearing in any court shall not be required to wear a wig of the kind heretofore worn or any other wig of a ceremonial type.”

I have never known of an Irish solicitor to wear such a wig or to have been required to wear one. The same was not true of barristers. The Rules of the Superior Courts did require a barrister to wear such a wig. In other words, the Oireachtas had to intervene to prevent the Rules committee from persisting in that requirement. (The requirement was in Order 105, Rule 3 of the RSC of 1962)

It is interesting to note the reluctance of the Irish bar to abandon the wig. It is a sign of poor character that a barrister would continue to wear a ceremonial wig without compulsion. (In the UK they are conflicted, as seen HERE. They are trying to get to “business suits”, but court dress includes the wig; the whole shooting gallery in fact.)

I have referred to the committee as a bunch of obscure unelected people HERE.

They may be that, but powerless they are not.

They have changed the Rules of the Superior Courts to ensure that costs on interlocutory applications are not deferred, to be “costs in the cause”.

This is a serious matter.

When Lord Woolf delivered his report in 1996 (“Access to Justice”), one of his objectives as he told an Irish conference on reform of civil law was:

…to make the system more equal. By more equal I mean achieving a situation in which it is not possible for a party to use greater resources to deprive the party who has less resources of the opportunity of obtaining justice.”

The original practice of usually making costs, “costs in the cause” was not a free ride for chancers; the bill eventually had to be paid. However, when that decision as to the identity of the person to pay was made, the court knew exactly why that person should pay.

The new rule favours parties with resources; the more resources that party has the greater the advantage. The new rule may even ensure the precipitate premature ending of the case; a complete denial of justice.


  1. “It is a sign of poor character that a barrister would continue to wear a ceremonial wig without compulsion.”

    That is an extremely sweeping statement. Please explain?

  2. Res Ipsa Loquitur, Barney