A British lawyer has explained why barristers wear their recognisable white wigs in UK courts.
Up there with black cabs and red telephone boxes, the white wigs worn in courtrooms are a staple of British culture.
But in reality, the wigs don't really seem to serve any purpose. They hardly cover any real hair the barrister might have, and they don't exactly look very cool. (Sorry, barristers, but surely you're aware?)
Wigs are requirement for criminal trials in the UK and many law practitioners take pride in wearing them, though it's worth noting that they're no longer required in civil or family law courts, or in the UK Supreme Court.
So, why are they still a thing?
Well, one female barrister took to Reddit to answer this question, offering both a long and short explanation for the iconic wigs.
"The short answer is that it's still worn because it's traditional to do so and most jurists whinge about it, but there was a proposal in 2007 to simplify court dress and no one wanted it," she said.
In the 'long answer', the barrister gave three other reasons for the wigs, which were introduced in the 17th century.
"It's both traditional and a way to equalise the court room, and afford us a certain amount of anonymity," she said.
"It's not about who wears the best suits or has the coolest haircut, it's about facts and justice."
Discussing what it's like to wear the wig, she continued: "The wig itself isn't heavy and you just put it on. I'm a woman with long hair so I'll often wear a hair net underneath but it's not really necessary.
"Ideally you store it in its box, mine is air tight which helps it stay nice, but some just carry it in their bags with them. Not a lot of maintenance required, I have mine cleaned every 2 years and that's it."
According to The University of Law, the wigs stemmed from the fact they were a popular accessory during the reign of King Charles II (1660-1685), especially among the upper classes and aristocracy of the time.
Wigs were seen of a symbol of authority, leading lawyers to wear them in the courtroom to show their power and status.
Though wearing wigs in day-to-day life became less popular over time, the tradition to wear wigs within the legal profession remained, and eventually became a formal requirement.
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Topics: UK News