Hong Kong Lawyers Fight to Wear Wigs Like Englishmen
In Hong Kong, the 17th century British tradition of lawyers wearing wigs has become a battle between barristers, who wear wigs and have unlimited rights in court, and solicitors, who want to wear the wigs but only have limited rights of audience in court. The city’s top judge ruled against the request of the solicitors, Dieter Yih, the president of the Law Society of Hong Kong, feels that his solicitor group may be discriminated against because their lack of wigs indicate their lack of power in the court.
But Kevin Tang, a Hong Kong barrister, argued that the wigs barristers wear point out the independent traditions of the Hong Kong’s judiciary, and thus are a sign of the city’s independence from mainland China. China’s influence is being felt through the increased desire for Mandarin-speaking lawyers in legal firms to the detriment of barristers who only speak English. Once owned by England, Hong Kong had a tradition of using English in court.