Why Do British Lawyers Wear Wigs?
One distinct feature of British lawyers that often draws attention is the traditional wig worn by barristers judges. These wigs known as “full-bottomed wigs” or “periwigs” have a long history evoke a sense of tradition formality within the British legal system. Let’s explore the roots of this unique practice understwhy British lawyers continue to wear wigs today.
The tradition of wearing wigs in the legal profession dates back to the 17th century when it was fashionable for people of high social status to wear wigs. During that period wigs were a symbol of prestige grandeur formality. Lawyers adopted this trend to enhance their professional appearance imitating the fashion of the English court. These wigs became an intrinsic part of legal attire.
Role in Courtrooms
Wigs gained prominence in British courtrooms during the 18th century when they were seen as a means of creating uniformity among lawyers. Since wigs were expensive not every lawyer could afford them wearing a wig became a symbol of legal professionalism social status.
Another reason for adopting wigs in the courtroom was the desire to depersonalize the lawyers judges. By covering their natural hair donning a wig legal professionals aimed to present a more objective neutral image detached from personal biases or judgments.
Despite changing societal trends evolving fashion British lawyers continue to wear wigs to this day. The preservation of this tradition is seen as a way of paying tribute to the historical roots maintaining a sense of dignity within the legal profession.
Symbolizing Authority Formality
The use of wigs in courtrooms helps create an atmosphere of authority formality. When a barrister or a judge enters a courtroom wearing a wig it symbolizes their professional authority the significance of the proceedings being conducted. It sets a serious tone accentuates the gravity of the legal system.
Although wigs remain an essential part of the British legal dress code there have been some adaptations to make them more practical. Today wigs are typically only worn in more formal court settings such as the Supreme Court the Court of Appeal or ceremonial occasions. In less formal settings such as county courts or magistrate courts wigs are not required.
Furthermore the style size of wigs have also evolved. Previously full-bottomed wigs were the standard. However these voluminous wigs have become less common shorter or more practical options are often preferred.
The tradition of British lawyers wearing wigs is deeply rooted in history continues to be an integral part of their professional attire. From symbolizing authority formality in courtrooms to preserving tradition paying homage to the legal profession’s historical origins wigs play a significant role in the British legal system. Despite modern adaptations to make them more practical wigs remain a visual reminder of the rich heritage traditions of British law.