Britain Edges Toward Mothballing the Venerable Courtroom Wig


Britain is taking a first step toward ending its 300-year tradition of outfitting judges and lawyers in curled wigs and tassled gowns. British lawyers have been arguing over the issue for the better part of the last 16 years, with a majority apparently in favor of keeping things exactly as they have always been, reports the Los Angeles Times. With that in mind, Lord Chief Justice Nicholas Phillips unveiled the modern new robe that judges in the civil courts of England and Wales are expected to wear beginning in October — minus the traditional wing collar and the venerable white horsehair wig.

Judges, barristers and solicitors will continue to sport traditional attire in criminal courts, where lawyers say it’s important for defendants not to be judged by their advocates’ suits. But even there, wigs may already be on a long slow road to ruin. “The stage is set for anarchy. Did no one tell his Lordship about Samson and Delilah?” the Times of London wondered. The new continental-style outfit, featuring such innovations as pockets, snap fasteners and color-coded bands depending on the court, was conceived by celebrity fashion designer Betty Jackson. The fashionistas so far have not been wowed.


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