• Robert Spicer

Money needed to practise as a barrister 2021

Money needed to practise as a barrister (2021)

Fee for joining an Inn of Court (compulsory) : £100

Cost of Bar Practice Course (postgraduate qualifying course): outside London £12,100; London £13,400.

Basic costs: (Rounded up)

Gown £150

Wig £600 (vegan hemp alternative £650)

Legal tunic shirt 2x£79

Wing collar £8

Bands 2x£5

Dark suit £350

Minimum cost of dressing up: well over £1000.

Extras:

Wig case £270

Blue bag £85

Sleeved waistcoat £225

Legal striped trousers £145

Plus: practising certificate fee and professional indemnity insurance.

These figures do not sit easily with the professed aim of the Bart to broaden access to the profession, to diversify and to recruit the more disadvantaged. They are another example of law as a commodity.

The system generates work for tailors and wigmakers. If barristers and judges did not have to wear wigs, many wigmakers would be at risk of unemployment. Perhaps this is one justification for the retention of fancy court dress – to preserve jobs in the English wigmaking industry.

Another point is that fancy dress is not worn in the employment tribunal or the employment appeal tribunal. These tribunals deal with cases involving areas of law as complex as any trusts or companies matter. They can award unlimited compensation in discrimination cases. How they can manage to do this without the help of wigs and gowns can be seen as one of life’s great mysteries.

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