Chief Justice Martha Karambu Koome has issued a waiver on periwigs – the most precious garment worn by advocates during admission to the bar.
The historic declaration by Chief Justice will see the garment – which is considered an achievement by fresh legal graduates – those being admitted to the bar opt to attend the event without donning it.
The announcement by the CJ was done on Thursday, August 4, just a day before the Judiciary admits 774 advocates to the bar to join their colleagues in the legal profession. This will be the highest number of admissions to be done at once in the country.
Advocates pictured at the Supreme Court Building
The decision for waiver is based on the high number of graduates who applied for the admission, with those able to access the garment being encouraged to do so.
“Having been notified of the difficulty in securing periwigs due to the high number of petitioners, I hereby waive this requirement for this particular ceremony,” CJ Koome declared.
Despite its simple appearance, one periwig goes for Ksh35,000. This means the Judiciary would bag Ksh27 million in a single day should advocates stay the CJ’s decision.
This has, however, not been welcomed by some advocates who argue that the CJ’s move is simplistic.
They argue that the CJ has subverted the court procedures and that she has no jurisdiction to implement the waiver.
“Only Parliament can do that by amending the Judicature Act Campaign Section 3,” Martin Nyakundi, a lawyer and a lecturer at Mount Kenya University, stated.
According to Nyakundi, the Judicature provides that procedures and practice of English Court, July 10, 1897, should proceed and that what the CJ has done is not tenable.
The Kenyan legal profession is among renown sectors that conflate with substance, or the dignity of office with garb.
The profession comes with its stature and one feels well identified with a periwig, better known as advocate wig, on top of their heads.
The Supreme Court of Kenya.