Why do British barristers and judges wear wigs?

Wearing a wig for a judge or barrister is one of the most famously unique features in UK traditions and past times. In other countries and regions, including former British colonies, we can even see this precisely British culture branch out into Hong Kong.

The question, why do British Judges and barristers wear these wigs? Many people who’ve studied British history provide various explanations.

 

British lawyer wig

The Four Explanations:

Fashion

Louis XIV began the trend of wearing wigs. The balding Louis XIV adopted the wig out of vanity. When King Charles II returned from the French court. The trend spread like a wildfire among the wealthy of England and by 1660, the House of Lords had adopted the fashion.

British Judge Wig

Self-preservation

England emerged from a civil war between the Crown, Cavalier King Charles II, and the Parliament-supporting Roundheads, named for the shorn heads of the Puritans. With the monarchy restored, long judicial wigs which made a statement against the Roundheads.

Anonymity

A bench of Judges/Lords, dressed uniformly, from wig to toe, which is implied to unitedthe front representing the Crown’s interest, rather than the individual interests of its members. Robes and wigs also hiddetails of clothing that potentially distract attention during a court proceeding.

Tradition

Numerous campaigns were launched to rid barristers and Lords of wigs during legal proceedings. Sir Robert Collier waged the first effort, inspired by a sticky summer of 1868. As of 2010, all historical and modern attempts failed, citing tradition as the main reason for continuing the practice.

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