Women barristers wear men’s wigs

Lady Hale, a judge of the UK Supreme Court (equivalent to our High Court), has objected to barristers’ traditional headwear: “I do object to wigs as being 18th century dress in the 21st century. I think it’s really very silly, is the right word, for the legal profession to think that they dignify themselves by doing this. But I have the specific objection that everybody has to wear these men’s wigs. I had a fantasy once, that on my last day of having to wear a wig in court, I would go and hire a Madame de Pompadour woman’s wig, and powder that up and put that on instead.” According to Legal Habits, a history of lawyers’ clothing: “When women were first called to the Bar in 1922 there was some debate as to whether their entitlement should extend to the wearing of wigs. It was suggested that they should revert to the Tudor-style biretta, a soft, cornered black cap, before a vote among certain senior judges decided the matter. In March 1922 it was decided that women barristers should in fact wear the wig ‘which shall completely cover and conceal the hair’.”

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