Money needed to practise as a barrister
Money needed to practise as a barrister (2012) (excluding costs of training courses)
• Wig £525
• Gown £195
• Tunic shirts: £100
• Bands £10
• Dark Suit £250
• Minimum cost of dressing up: approximately £1000.
• Wig tin with name in gold letters: £185
• Bridle leather collar box: £75
• Blue bag with initials: £72
• Striped trousers: £85
• Wig stand: £95
• Gavel and Block: £95 (The usefulness of this item is unclear: gavels are not used in English courts).
• Sleeved bar waistcoat: £275.
These figures do not seem to sit easily with the professed aim of the bar to broaden access to the profession and to recruit the more disadvantaged.
These costs are another example of law as commodity. The system generates work for tailors and wigmakers. If barristers and judges did not wear wigs, many wigmakers would become unemployed. Perhaps this is one justification for the retention of fancy court dress – to preserve jobs in the English wigmaking industry.