This week, the Reuters reported that Britain’s head of the judiciary announced that lawyers and judges should cease wearing white horsehair wigs in non-criminal cases.
Reuters reported that Lord Chief Justice Phillips of Worth Matravers stated that lawyers and judges would still wear the wigs in criminal cases.
And asked if lawyers in Zambia would consider moving in the same direction, Mwitwa, in an interview, said the association has no problem with wearing the wig.
“What we have in Zambia is that it’s not mandatory for lawyers to wear those wigs except on call-day and for state counsel, whenever they are appearing in court. But otherwise, any lawyer who doesn’t have the wig will not be prevented from presenting their case in court. On the question of whether we should do away with them completely, it’s not one that we have discussed as an association. It doesn’t seem to be a problem for anybody at the moment. But if anybody raises the issue, we might consider the reasons [that] our colleagues in the UK from whom we copied the tradition from,” Mwitwa said. “The only time you will not be allowed is when you are being called to the bar. As a matter of tradition and in uniformity, it is expected that you wear a wig. And for state counsel, because they are at a level where they are supposed to lead by example and also are expected to be able to afford those things, they are mandated to wear those wigs when they appear before our open courts in the High Court or superior courts.”
He said in an event that the need for Zambia to move in that direction is raised, the association would compare the practices of international standard.
“I have not seen what the reasons are. But if somebody raises the issue here in Zambia as well, we do have a good tendency to see what the international best practices are and we always want to move with the times as long as we are advancing towards making life easier for advancing the calls of justice. So at the moment, it is not a problem at all in Zambia because you have the option as an advocacy to go to court without a wig,” said Mwitwa.