Why Do the Legal Profession Wear Wigs

The legal system in India derives largely from the judicial structure of the courts in the United Kingdom. In Britain, it was common for lawyers and judges to wear black coats, white collars and grey wigs. This tradition dates back to a few centuries ago in Britain. A judge must treat each person in his or her court uniformly and impartially. A judge`s wig creates his own identity and presents him as a third person to create a symbol of impartiality. Therefore, one of the main objectives of introducing wigs in the courts was to introduce the element of uniformity into the law. For those of us who can`t make it to London, wigs originally entered the legal uniform for the same reason they entered the general colonial era – because people were riddled with syphilis and lice. Wearing wigs and black robes is a process aimed at removing the wearer from any personal involvement in the criminal proceedings and making them look like the person. It is also about how to visually access the supremacy of the law. The full-bottom wig was used for criminal trials until the 1840s. Today, the full-bottomed wig is reserved for formal wear, while smaller wigs are used daily. Several campaigns have been launched to get judges and lawyers to get rid of wigs during hearings. The first attempt to abolish wigs was made by Sir Robert Collier in 1868.

However, all these reforms, whether historical or modern, have failed. Wigs are still worn in criminal trials; However, some people want it deleted. So far, there have been no successful attempts, and this tradition continues. However, this custom is not widespread in India to date. Read also – How to impress a judge in court But in Britain, nothing is more British than the iconic white wigs that judges and lawyers – or lawyers, as they are called – wear during formal hearings. Many judges and lawyers who wear wigs say the head covering — also known as peruke — brings a sense of formality and solemnity to the courtroom. But for lawyers who continue to wear wigs, including defence lawyers and others in court or the Court of Appeal, there is little enthusiasm for changing the status quo, according to James Mulholland QC, lead lawyer with more than 30 years of experience and president of the Criminal Bar Association. Wigs may have gone out of fashion over the centuries, but when they first appeared in a courtroom around 1685, they belonged to a well-dressed professional. Over time, wigs have gone out of fashion with society as a whole. During the reign of the English King George III, from 1760 to 1820, wigs were worn by only a few, namely bishops, coachmen and lawyers. And bishops were allowed to stop wearing them in the 1830s. But the courts have kept wigs for hundreds of years.

Qualified lawyers wear “tie wigs” that cover half of the head, and judges wear smaller “bobsleigh wigs.” Before the introduction of wigs in the 17th century, British lawyers had a dress code that would look positively modern. They were expected to appear in court with short hair and neatly trimmed beards. However, the dishes were slower to catch the trend, and many continued to wear their natural hair in their courtroom portraits. Around 1685, full, long shoulder wigs became an integral part of proper court clothing, as lawyers were also considered part of bourgeois society. Judges and lawyers wear wigs in court because it`s been the dress code since the 17th century. The judicial dress code, and in particular legal wigs, is a tradition that dates back 700 years. It all started with King Edward III in the 14th century, when dress, coat and dress were the dress code of the royal court. Avocado wigs are rolled up to the crown, with horizontal loops on the sides and back. Judges` wigs – also known as bench wigs – look similar, but are usually more ornate. They are fullest at the top and blend into tight curls that fall just below the shoulders. Another reason why wearing wigs is a widespread practice nowadays is the level of anonymity it offers.

In the legal profession, factors such as facial features and appearance should not be considered important. The focus should be on arguments and manners. Wearing wigs increases to some extent the anonymity of the person representing his client in court. The courtly dress system was first introduced by the child Edward III (1327-1277). In the past, before the 17th century, judges and lawyers were only obliged to keep them as clean and short as possible. Several portraits from the 1680s show judges sitting without wigs. The main merit of the introduction of wigs in the courtroom is generally attributed to Charles II (1660-1685). However, there is no doubt that Louis XIV. De France (1643-1715) had the greatest influence on the trend of wigs in the courtroom. In fact, wigs became an integral part of the formal dress of lawyers and judges in the 1760s.

Queen`s Council: A silk dress, a court coat and a waistcoat. On special occasions, a QC must wear a long wig, black pants, silk stockings, lace cuffs and buckle shoes. Dress codes usually help distinguish people from different professions. The dress code also plays an important role in the legal profession. Wigs help distinguish judges from other normal people and create their own identity. Therefore, another factor to consider in the debate over the validity of wigs as an integral part of avocado clothing is the additional connotation of distinction. The wigs, as well as the whole costume of the lawyers, make the appearance clear and separate from the rest of the people. Read also – What is the dress code for women lawyers? Horsehair may seem disgusting, but in the past, people took hair from human corpses to make these wigs, so it could be worse. And vegans are even involved, because being judged is no reason not to signal one`s own moral superiority. From Legal Cheek: In the legal profession, the importance of dress codes and dresses is indispensable.

Dress codes are an important aspect of any profession. They symbolize responsibility, solidarity and discipline. When it comes to legal practice, the prevalence of dress codes can be found throughout history. The exercise of the law itself requires the display of certain virtues. Dress codes can be seen as a form of representation of these virtues. Judges always wore wigs with a full background until the 1780s, when the less formal and smaller bobsleigh wig was introduced. The bob wig had frizzy sides rather than curls and a short tail or snake at the back. This was adopted for civil litigation. While many things in the justice system need urgent attention, from the long-running legal funding crisis to declining rape conviction rates to a huge backlog of Covid cases, Buckland`s animation on lawyers` clothes can raise eyebrows.

Wigs bring solemnity to the process, he says, and “as a young lawyer, it certainly helps level the playing field. If you are against someone who has more experience, you feel that your physical appearance is not as important if you both wear wigs and dresses, as you will be recognized by the judge and jury as qualified to handle the case. Although aristocrats and those who wanted to stay in a good social position quickly adopted the practice of wearing wigs, English courtrooms acted more slowly. In the early 1680s, court portraits still showed a natural appearance and without wigs. By 1685, however, full, long shoulder wigs were now part of the appropriate court garment. Still, wearing wigs is still popular with British lawyers, the Guardian reported in 2021. “If you don`t encounter the physical stereotypes of a lawyer — male, white, maybe older — it`s helpful to wear the uniform because it avoids awkward conversations,” attorney Zoe Chapman told the publication. Until the 17th century, lawyers had to appear in court with clean, short hair and beards. Lawyers and judges began wearing wigs around 1680. For 150 years, the legal wig was mostly white or gray. The introduction of wearing wigs in the courtroom was largely influenced by the reign of Charles II (1660-1685), who made wigs indispensable to polite society.

Dress codes in any profession have symbolic meaning and represent something that is the motive of the profession. Similarly, wigs have symbolic significance in the legal field. They represent the elitist character of the profession. They were a fashion statement in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Wigs symbolize sophistication and an already existing custom. Over time, there have been significant changes around the world regarding the application of dress codes for lawyers.