General Question

Bluefreedom's avatar

I recently watched a movie that showed a trial in a British courtroom and I was wondering if anyone knew why the lawyers (Barristers) wear wigs during court proceedings.

Asked by Bluefreedom (22861 points ) November 13th, 2008

I’ve seen this in a number of movies, actually, and I don’t know if this is still the custom in English courts today but I’ve always found it unusual but also intriguing for some reason.

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10 Answers

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

@Bluefreedom, I found this article about the tradition.

augustlan's avatar

AP, thanks for the link. Interesting and entertaining!

Bluefreedom's avatar

@Alfreda. Great article and very informative. Thank you very much for posting that link and helping to answer my question. :o)

stratman37's avatar

Those are wigs? No WAY!

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

Apparently they decided in 2007 to make the wigs optional for civil suits, but not for criminal.

lercio's avatar

The barrister’s wigs are a lot smaller than the judge’s wig. See the smaller one in this link .. http://www.gifts4lawyers.co.uk/mall/departmentpage.cfm/GiftsforLawyers/_107076/1
It’s like a badge of office now, but obviously the roots are historic, going back to the times when all people of high office would wear powdered wigs.

There are quite a few historic uniforms that still show up in everyday life, like the academic gowns worn by graduates of most universities during the graduation ceremonies, and the formal uniforms worn still on some occasions by the police here in the UK.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

I think they’re all made out of horsehair? That must be miserable. especially in the summer.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

@AlfredaPrufrock but I bet the horses are cooler because of it. =)

w2pow2's avatar

It shows that they’re cooler and more civilized than we are.

Nullo's avatar

Why not make the barristers wear wigs? Sounds like fun.

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