Heatwave! It’s too hot to obtain a freezing order. Precedents won’t bind, they just melt. How to look lawyerly and stay cool?
Stay away to stay cool, Obiter’s own south London lawyer argues: ‘These rare hot days should be declared public holidays. We have no AC in the office, and I feel like I am being slow cooked!’
A more common option is to just give up on the lawyerly appearance thing. As the mercury climbs at 3 Verulum Buildings, barrister Tom de Vecchi says: ‘I have a nasty feeling that tomorrow we will be at Defcon 1: People Wearing Shorts In Chambers.’ Obiter’s friend at a global US firm says the weather has meant ‘many toes on show’.
But pitching up at criminal or High court is a different matter. ‘Please spare a thought for the male of the species - 3 pieced suit with gown and stinky wig to top off this literally hot look,’ runs one plea.
Can advice go further than a backless waistcoat? ‘I once, in weather like this, wore flip flops IN COURT,’ barrister Mary Aspinall-Miles admits. ‘It was the Isle of Wight. It was August. The flip flops were black. I had twinkly toes.’
Other advice comes from a US president, no less.
Lester Tate, 48th president of the Georgia Bar, has a generous offer for Obiter: ‘Would you like to borrow a seersucker suit? It’s what every lawyer needs for high temp/high humidity court appearances!… I understand why some might think it odd. A lot of trial lawyers here would think it odd to wear a wig in front of a jury.’ Fair point.
And of course, a dizzying number of England and Wales lawyers cite Atticus Finch as their literary hero. As Lester reminds Obiter, playing Finch in the film, Gregory Peck wore seersucker during Tom Robinson’s criminal trial.
Internet research reveals seersucker suits are now available in black and navy.