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  #1  
Old 09-10-2005, 10:44 PM
alphaboi867 alphaboi867 is offline
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When did Canadian lawyers stop wearing wigs?

When did Canadian lawyers and judges stop wearing wigs? Were they abandoned on a province-by-province basis? When did the Supreme Court abandon then? Newfoundland was a seperate dominion/colony until 1949, did they keep them longer?
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  #2  
Old 09-11-2005, 04:30 AM
Kimstu Kimstu is offline
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It sez here, it sez:
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Canadian judges dress similar to British justices but with a few key differences. The most obvious difference is that unlike justices in most of the Commonwealth, Canadian judges do not wear wigs. Different regions of Canada ended the use of judicial wigs at different times. In Ontario and Quebec wigs have not been worn since at least the mid 19th Century. In British Columbia they were formally abolished in 1905. I am not exactly sure what the situation was in the Maritimes. I would assume that because of Newfoundland's extended history as a sovereign crown colony the wigs were retained for a longer period than in the rest of the country.
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Old 09-11-2005, 05:22 AM
Foaming Cleanser Foaming Cleanser is offline
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M'Lord, if it pleaseth the court, I found the internet commonweal singularly barren of information that would fully satisfy your entreaty regarding all things wigish jurisprudential in the Canadas. However, I hereby reproduce that which could be gleaned and pray your indulgence in any seeming lack of diligence, which, I assure you, would be a description quite contrary to the substance of the deed. (The dearth of intelligence upon the matter is illustrated by my first example merely repeating that put forth by my learned colleague kimstu.)

This page,which does not cite its sources, says:
Quote:
Different regions of Canada ended the use of judicial wigs at different times. In Ontario and Quebec wigs have not been worn since at least the mid 19th Century. In British Columbia they were formally abolished in 1905. I am not exactly sure what the situation was in the Maritimes. I would assume that because of Newfoundland's extended history as a sovereign crown colony the wigs were retained for a longer period than in the rest of the country.
This page discusses Nova Scotia's courts:
Quote:
. Sir Brenton Halliburton, who replaced Blowers in 1833, was the first chief justice to be depicted bare-headed in his portrait, suggesting wigs were out of fashion in this province by the mid-nineteenth century. Judges in Upper Canada appear to have dispensed with wigs even earlier, due to their high cost and the discomfort to the wearer. It was not until 1905 that British Columbia passed a law banning wigs from its courtrooms.
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Old 09-11-2005, 06:09 AM
Northern Piper Northern Piper is offline
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I don't have anything to add to what the other posters have stated, but I'm not sure how accurate that web-page is. I noticed a few things that it gets wrong, or incomplete:

1. Newfoundland was not a "sovereign crown colony" prior to joining Canada - it was a Dominion, same as Canada, Australia, etc. The Dominions were not colonies - they were independent countries, as recognised by the Statute of Westminster, 1931.

2. The picture of the judge labelled "Lower Court Judge" is actually a picture of Roy McMurtry, Chief Justice of Ontario - i.e. - the jude at the top of the provincial court system, just below the Supreme Court.

3. The "Santa Claus" outfit of the Supreme Court of Canada is not worn for everyday use. They only wear them for the swearing in of new judges of the Court, and for the formal opening of Parliament. (And they do carry/wear the tricorne hats for those events.) When they're hearing appeals, they normally wear the same black robes and waistcoats that Q.C.s wear.

4. The website seems to assume that the provincial Supreme Courts are the same as the appellate courts. That's not correct. In some provinces, the Supreme Court is the superior trial court, with a separate superior Court of Appeal (e.g. - B.C.). In others (e.g. - Nova Scotia), the Supreme Court is composed of a trial division and an appellate division.

5. My personal experience has been that Court of Appeal judges normally wear the same black robes as Q.C.s, and that it's the judges of the superior trial courts that wear robes with colour.

6. The website uses "British" when the context means "England and Wales."

7. The Lord Chancellor is not the "de facto chief justice." The Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales is the head of the superior trial court, the High Court of Justice.
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Old 09-11-2005, 10:23 AM
Zombone Zombone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern Piper
I don't have anything to add to what the other posters have stated, but I'm not sure how accurate that web-page is. I noticed a few things that it gets wrong, or incomplete:

1. Newfoundland was not a "sovereign crown colony" prior to joining Canada - it was a Dominion, same as Canada, Australia, etc. The Dominions were not colonies - they were independent countries, as recognised by the Statute of Westminster, 1931.
All the thing says is that Newfoundland had a long history of being a crown colony which is true. They only became a Dominion in 1918, and then in 1934 they reverted back to being a crown colony because the government of the day had gotten into such bad financial state.
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Old 09-11-2005, 11:47 AM
Northern Piper Northern Piper is offline
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Originally Posted by Zombone
All the thing says is that Newfoundland had a long history of being a crown colony which is true. They only became a Dominion in 1918, and then in 1934 they reverted back to being a crown colony because the government of the day had gotten into such bad financial state.
I'm still not seeing the relevance of the comment. Newfoundland was the oldest English colony, but for several centuries was not heavily settled, being mainly a fishing outport. The British government only established the court system there in 1824, by the Newfoundland Judicature Act, several decades after the British courts were established in the colonies of Upper and Lower Canada and the maritime provinces. So the Newfoundland legal system is actually the youngest in eastern Canada.

As for the Dominion status in 1918, that's exactly the same as Canada, if you're going by the increase in their status following WWI, which was recognized in the Statute of Westminster of 1931.

The reversion to colonial status in the Depression would seem to me to come too late to change a custom such as wig-wearing.
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Old 09-11-2005, 12:01 PM
Muffin Muffin is offline
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The last time a particular unnamed lawyer wore a wig in court was in 2000.

A madame was in bail court trying to get one of her girls temporarily released. She told the Justice of the Peace that she had arranged for legal counsel which had been paid for by a couple of her girls bedding the said legal counsel for a weekend, and keeping his full toupee as proof. Shortly after making that outrageous and slanderous statement in open court, the said legal counsel walked in – sans wig.
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  #8  
Old 09-11-2005, 03:13 PM
Rube E. Tewesday Rube E. Tewesday is offline
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FWIW, I once knew a Canadian lawyer who knew a Canadian lawyer who'd owned a wig. Back in the day, he'd been to London to argue a case before the Judical Committee, and had invested in the necessary accoutrements.
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Old 09-12-2005, 01:12 PM
Foaming Cleanser Foaming Cleanser is offline
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Originally Posted by Rube E. Tewesday
FWIW, I once knew a Canadian lawyer who knew a Canadian lawyer who'd owned a wig. Back in the day, he'd been to London to argue a case before the Judical Committee, and had invested in the necessary accoutrements.
Think of the profit he made in reselling it — he flipped his wig.
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Old 09-12-2005, 11:37 PM
Northern Piper Northern Piper is offline
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Originally Posted by Foaming Cleanser
Think of the profit he made in reselling it — he flipped his wig.
Now that's definitely worthy of a contempt citation!
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  #11  
Old 05-04-2016, 10:06 AM
Caledonia Caledonia is offline
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Status of Newfoundland in 1949, Re: When Canadian judges stopped wearing wigs.

My understanding of the status of Newfoundland in 1949 was that it was a British Crown Colony. Although NL had had dominion status, it had lost that status when it went bankrupt and reverted to a colony during the 1930's. In the time leading up to it joining the Canadian Confederation, NL was a Crown Colony.
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Old 05-04-2016, 10:23 AM
Muffin Muffin is offline
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And then there's the whole sword thing.
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  #13  
Old 05-04-2016, 11:12 AM
Dorjän Dorjän is offline
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I dunno, I was at the Superior Court of Justice in Toronto a couple of years ago, and saw plenty of barristers and solicitors sporting wigs.
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Old 05-05-2016, 06:54 PM
Isilder Isilder is offline
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Originally Posted by Dorjän View Post
I dunno, I was at the Superior Court of Justice in Toronto a couple of years ago, and saw plenty of barristers and solicitors sporting wigs.
presumably they are not banned... the thread is more about whether a wig, of course the specific legal wig, is *required*.

Hopefully the government doesn't pay for or subsidize (whether by allowance or by tax deduction ) the wigs when they are not required. If I get dressed up like the Duke of Earl to go to work, and its my choice, why should the tax payer subsidize that ???

Last edited by Isilder; 05-05-2016 at 06:56 PM..
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  #15  
Old 05-06-2016, 09:04 AM
Muffin Muffin is offline
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Lawyers pay for their own court attire.

I expect that lawyer wearing a horse-hair wig in a Canadian court would be directed by the judge to remove it, for it is no longer part of prescribed lawyer's attire in any Canadian court, and would be contrary to the purpose of gowning being to discourage any one lawyer from using attire to stand out from the other lawyers. Decisions by the judge or jury are supposed to be made facts, law and analysis/argument, not on which lawyer is flashier.
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Old 05-06-2016, 10:19 AM
Northern Piper Northern Piper is offline
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When did Canadian lawyers stop wearing wigs?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Isilder View Post
Hopefully the government doesn't pay for or subsidize (whether by allowance or by tax deduction ) the wigs when they are not required. If I get dressed up like the Duke of Earl to go to work, and its my choice, why should the tax payer subsidize that ???

Why on earth would you think the government would pay for lawyers' court garb?

Last edited by Northern Piper; 05-06-2016 at 10:20 AM..
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  #17  
Old 05-06-2016, 10:54 AM
Monty Monty is online now
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Didn't lawyers and judges in the newly-minted United States of America also wear wigs in court for a while?
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  #18  
Old 05-06-2016, 12:32 PM
Muffin Muffin is offline
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Originally Posted by Northern Piper View Post
Why on earth would you think the government would pay for lawyers' court garb?
Well there are a few exceptions, e.g. Sask QB's GA-PD #5.
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  #19  
Old 05-06-2016, 03:39 PM
Northern Piper Northern Piper is offline
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Not sure where you're getting that, Muffin? The one on the QB's website doesn't have the phrase "at the expense of the Crown".

http://www.sasklawcourts.ca/images/d...D5_Gowning.pdf
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  #20  
Old 05-06-2016, 03:56 PM
Muffin Muffin is offline
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Must be a typo on the QB's website. Best send out the corrected one to new calls to the bar so they don't have to worry about coming up with enough coin to be heard.
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