Spending on court paraphernalia up
Over £11,000 has been spent on gowns, wigs and wig boxes worn by Scottish legal staff in the last three years, The Scotsman reports.
An additional £240,000 was paid to cover uniforms for court officials, figures from the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS) show.
Courts in Scotland spent £6,317 last year on bar wigs, wig tins and bar gowns for those appearing in the Court of Session and the High Court in Glasgow – over double last year’s figure of £2,441.
Some senior legal staff have said in the past that traditional garments should be abolished. Since last year, judges in the Inner House of the Court of Session have stopped wearing robes and wigs when hearing appeals.
The figures also indicated £121,077 was spent on staff uniforms, with the Supreme Courts spending £30,752.
The SCTS said: “The Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service only purchases replacement wigs and gowns for members of the judiciary. Certain staff and SCTS legal advisers are specifically required by court convention to wear gowns and wigs in court.
“It is also an SCTS requirement that certain key frontline staff are uniformed. As a matter of SCTS policy, those staff are provided with uniforms and replacement items. SCTS does not provide gowns or wigs for lawyers.
“In April 2015 the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service took over the responsibilities of the Scottish Courts Service and Scottish Tribunals Service incurring necessary transitional costs such as uniforms. Staff turnover and recruitment also impact on uniform costs.”
However, Eben Wilson, director of campaign group TaxpayerScotland, said: “While judges are rightfully given some anonymity and authority through their robes, it is perhaps it is time that the rest of the legal profession cut back radically on their traditions and gave taxpayers who pay their very high fees a break.”