British judges are wiggin' out

A wigged judge in London

TEXT OF INTERVIEW

Scott Jagow: Some courts in England have decided to get rid of those wigs. You know, the white curly ones made of horsehair. Judges and barristers have worn them since the 17th Century. Starting in January, they'll dispense with the wigs and some of the other traditional garb in civil courts. They'll keep the tradition in criminal courts. The British government expects to save $600,000 a year doing this, but for shops that sell these items, it's a losing proposition. Stanley Ginsburg owns a shop in London. Stanley, how is this gonna affect your business?

Stanley Ginsburg: If you were to see me now, I'm sitting in front of my computer with a box of Kleenex tissues in front of me cryin' my eyes out.

Jagow: I can imagine.

Ginsburg: How will it affect my business? Oh, horrendously! I'm going to lose a jolly good percentage of all of my accessories. My winged collars, all the studs that go with them, my court tunic shirts. I can't sell them, I can't buy them and if I can't buy them, it means that the people who make them are going to be out of work.

Jagow: So how are you going to respond to this? What are you gonna do?

Ginsburg: Nothing at all. What can I do? You know, the law is the law. If I say to a high court judge, sir I think you're an idiot, he'll lock me up! What I can't understand though is a very old Cockney, which is a London tradition, which is if it ain't broke, don't fix it. There's nothing wrong with tradition, why change it? The one thing the Brits are the best in the world at, no argument, is pomp and circumstance. Why take it away?

Jagow: But didn't you see this coming? Didn't you think that this was going to end at some point?

Ginsburg: Well it's been coming for the last 10, 15 years, everything has been, but why? You know? There's no reason for it. I understand that there's an awful amount of money spent when a person becomes a judge, the British government gives him X amount of pounds to spend on a full bottom long wigs, robes and . . . let the people pay for it themselves. I mean why should you buy someone a uniform to work? The person who is working should buy his own uniform if they're getting paid the money these people are.

Jagow: Well what other uses do these wigs and outfits have?

Ginsburg: None. None. I sell quite a lot to America to your lawyers there who probably put them on their desks as clients come in just to show them this is what they wear in the U.K.

Jagow: Well Stanley I wish you the best of luck. Stanley Ginsburg sells wigs and legal clothing in London.

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