The Law Society has welcomed a decision that requires barristers in District Court jury trials to don gowns in a bid to bring more formality to proceedings.
The decision, announced today, was made by Chief District Court Judge Russell Johnson, and will take effect on February 28.
All counsel in a jury trial in a district court in New Zealand will be required to wear a barrister's gown appropriate to their rank.
``The Law Society is pleased. The profession is not unanimously behind this decision but a significant majority thought it a good step to ensure appropriate formality,'' Law Society president Jonathon Temm told NZPA.
District court barristers had never worn gowns and this was an extension of the rule which already applied to High Courts, Mr Temm said.
Chief Judge Johnson said this would highlight to all court users the dignity required and the serious nature of matters now being conducted in the District Court.
Barristers would only need to wear gowns in jury trials which made up about 1500 of approximately 200,000 trials a year, a Law Society spokesman said.