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Why Do the British Wear Wigs in Court

And in Ireland, judges wore wigs until 2011, when the practice was abandoned. In England and other former English and British colonies – such as Canada, for example, whose provinces abandoned wigs in the 19th and 20th centuries, or Jamaica, which retired wigs in 2013 – lawyers and judges wear wigs only for ceremonies. One of the editors of the Nigerian lawyers` blog wrote that wigs were not made for the sweltering heat of Lagos, where lawyers wilted under their robes. “The culture that invented the wig and dress is different from ours and the weather is different,” Unini Chioma wrote. The reforms suggest that the court is becoming increasingly flexible when it comes to lawyers wearing wigs. It is possible that they will be thrown away in the next 50 years. When it comes to trendsetters, no one has had a greater impact on British wigs than Louis XIV of France. During his reign from 1643 to 1715, the Sun King disguised his prematurely bald scalp – historians believe it was caused by syphilis – with a wig. In doing so, he set in motion a trend widely followed by Europe`s upper and middle classes, including his cousin Charles II, the King of England (who is also said to have syphilis), who reigned from 1660 to 1685. Other British Commonwealth countries, such as Australia and Canada, also inherited wigs and dresses, but removed them from courtrooms. Last year, an Australian chief justice asked lawyers to remove their wigs before addressing them. The outlet compares the wig to a uniform: “Like many uniforms, wigs are a symbol of anonymity, an attempt to distance the wearer from personal involvement, and a way to visually tap into the supremacy of the law,” Newton explains. Wigs are so much a part of British criminal courts that if a lawyer does not wear a wig, it is considered an insult to the court.

The Court of Appeal was established at the same time as the High Court, again merging several existing courts. The Master of the Rolls (head of the civil chamber of the Court of Appeal) and two other members of the Court of Appeal of the Chancery were among the new members of this court – which probably explains why a black silk dress was chosen. Legal clothing continues to evolve to this day. Last year, we reported that an Australian company manufactures and sells vegan plastic wigs. Its goal, they told us, is to meet the needs of all its customers, and given the rise of veganism, it makes sense to offer synthetic wig options. During the reign of George III. (1760-1820) Wigs are gradually going out of fashion. Until the end of the century, they were mainly worn by bishops, coachmen and the legal profession – and even bishops were allowed to stop wearing wigs in the 1830s. In Zimbabwe, which is still ruled by the vehement anti-colonialist Mugabe, wigs are perhaps the most enigmatic.

Why would a man who stole their land from white farmers, who railed against the name Victoria Falls, allow an archaic legal tradition to continue? By the 1820s, wigs had gone out of fashion, but coachmen, bishops, and lawyers continued to wear them. The coachmen and bishops ceased in the mid-1830s, but again, the courts retained the tradition. The drama of a criminal trial has a macabre appeal. In America, strangers line up to enter courtrooms as spectators of high-profile trials. Those unable to attend in person will watch live versions on TVs and tablets. And when there are pauses of actual legal battles, many turn instead to pseudo-fictional prime-time depictions. The Middle Temple Library`s latest exhibit, “Legal Fashion,” features a history of English court dress from the 14th century to recent times. The exhibition, organized in partnership with the Middle Temple Archive, opened last month, coinciding with London Fashion Biennale. It is clear that wearing wigs was not only a form of “dressing”, but a decisive influence on how the legal profession wanted to best represent itself. Although the wearing of wigs is still a debate today, some British judges believe it brings a sense of formality, power and respect to the court.

Im 17. In the nineteenth century, only the elite wore powdered horsehair wigs. Those who couldn`t afford the best dress, but wanted to watch, wore wigs made of goat hair, rolled up cotton, or human corpse hair. There was also a regular trade involving living people selling their long hair for wigs, although horsehair remained ideal. That`s probably not what afflicts Amal Clooney today. But today, the reason the legal community still approves of wearing wigs is the same reason their judges sometimes wear black caps – to kill people. Well, not quite. Judges wear black caps when handing down death sentences, but that`s one of the main reasons everyone wears wigs.

It`s all part of a symbolic distancing. Peruke, as they call their wigs because “wig” was not a ridiculous name, is largely meant to separate the lawyer or judge from the work they do. In that sense, it`s no different from America`s legal robes — only much larger. “The elimination of wigs is part of the progress toward a modern path,” Chief Justice Marilyn Warren said. Wigs and dresses worn by judges and lawyers in the former British colonies are among the most blatant symbols of colonial legacy; a legacy so old-fashioned and uncomfortable that even British lawyers have stopped wearing But wigs aside, African dishes have adapted to a postcolonial context. New constitutions have been written. A new generation of judges has emerged. Although some judicial systems have yielded to political pressure, the new legal systems are rooted in British common law, but shaped by the traditions and cultures of their own countries.