Saturday, February 25, 2006

Why Do Lawyers and Judges Wear Funny Robes and Wigs?

If you have ever wondered about the origins of court attire in the common law jurisdictions, especially the United Kingdom, there is an interesting book out that is also available in PDF format: Legal Habits: A Brief Sartorial History of Wig, Robe and Gown.

Published by Ede and Ravenscroft, suppliers of wigs and robes to the British legal profession for a few hundred years, this small volume by Thomas Woodcock covers the history of judges’ robes, barrister’s gowns and wigs.

As the introduction explains: "This account puts wigs in their historical context and shows how they were originally adopted as an item of fashion but retained by the Bar and Judiciary after they ceased to be fashionable. The wearing of wigs makes the administration of justice impersonal and with gowns contributes to uniformity of dress in court proceedings, which helps to emphasise the formal gravity and dignity of justice."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:05 pm


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