It truly is a sad day. The robing room as we know it, has come to an end.... well, not this blog, but the actual real robing room located at the Supreme Court of Seychelles, of which this blog derived its title from.
Lawyers would have come back from the Christmas vacations only to discover that the real robing room has been blocked off and all of the wooden lockers, wigs and gowns have been transferred into a tiny room adjacent to courtroom no. 1. In the transfer process one attorney's wig has gone missing and another one was found after a week missing in action. The real robing room is now a tiny little room that can be best described as a store room. The room is so small that only 3 lawyers can fit in it at any one time to robe up. Gone are the tables and chairs, all that is left are the lockers, a mirror and an air conditioner that appears to be on but doesn't seem to be working.
Around 15 years ago, the robing room had tables, chairs and was even properly air conditioned. It was located next to court room no. 2, with a one-way mirror, allowing those inside the room a peek at those waiting outside courtroom numbers 1 and 2. Over time the air conditioner was removed, a corridor was made to go through the real robing room which shrank the room. But it still had the tables and chairs and was a room which encouraged social interaction between the attorneys. It was a room where lawyers could obtain a second opinion on a legal conundrum or even a ruling or judgment. It was a room where State Counsel could be found giving private tuition to their witnesses (ahem!), where lawyers could sit down and explain legal processes to their clients in a more private setting. It was a room where all the new State Counsel and pupil attorneys could hang out to meet and introduce themselves to all of the other court advocates.
More and more lawyers enter the profession and yet the judiciary decides to shrink instead of enlarge the robing room. There are currently just over 40 attorneys, around 10 State Counsel and about 5 pupil attorneys. The numbers are expected to rise with about 15 Seychellois currently in the advanced stages of their legal education and about 30 currently enrolled through the University of Seychelles in their first year of the LLB programme.
The tagline to this blog will have to be changed. For historical purposes, it is reproduced below:
"The Supreme Court of Seychelles has a room where most of the lawyers keep their wigs and gowns and where they change into them. It is also where all the latest news and gossip are shared... "
The Robing Room is the official blog of the Seychelles Legal Environment Website (sites.google.com/site/theseychelleslegalenvironment), the only website about the Seychelles Legal Environment that is constantly updated.