Senior barristers don mourning bands to pay tribute to Queen’s public service

King’s Counsel take part in a wreath laying after the death of the Queen (Stefan Rousseau/PA) (PA Wire)
King’s Counsel take part in a wreath laying after the death of the Queen (Stefan Rousseau/PA) (PA Wire)

Senior barristers have donned their court robes with ceremonial “weepers” and “mourning bands” to publicly pay tribute to the Queen’s “steadfast and true public service”.

On Thursday, more than 50 King’s Counsel and junior barristers made a rare out-of-court appearance in their black gowns and wigs to pay their respects.

White cuffs, known as weepers, are a ceremonial mark of sorrow and can be worn by KCs and judges.

Mourning bands with dark lines around the neck are worn instead of the usual collars.

Having assembled outside the Old Bailey in London, the lawyers walked a short distance in informal groups to Gray’s Inn Chapel to lay a wreath.

Criminal Bar Association chair Kirsty Brimelow KC carried a white and purple floral tribute and was joined by the Common Serjeant of London, Judge Richard Marks KC.

Speaking outside the Old Bailey, she told the assembled crowd: “Thank you very much all of you for coming here. Also there is a lot of you wearing the mourning court attire which is traditional – probably none of us have had to wear it until this time.

“It is to mark the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. This is a mark of respect for her and her memory.

“And also it might help us mark the transition from QC to KC.”

At the chapel, Ms Brimelow laid the wreath and said: “The Criminal Bar Association joins with legal professions across the Commonwealth in mourning at the passing of Queen Elizabeth II.

“We pay tribute to the Queen’s steadfast and true public service and offer deep condolences to His Majesty the King and the royal family.

“We mark with sorrow and dedication to justice the change of Queen’s Counsel to King’s Counsel.”

The barristers then stood together in silent reflection for a minute.

The event was organised by the CBA, which ceased all planned demonstrations after the Queen’s death last week.

In August, defence barristers voted for an all-out strike which began on September 5.

A meeting with the new Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor, Brandon Lewis, which was due on Thursday, has been postponed until Tuesday September 20 out of respect for the mourning period.