As you may have heard, the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales recently announced changes to simplify the traditional court attire worn by judges and lawyers there. Effective January 2008, judges and advocates appearing in civil and family courts will no longer wear the wigs and wing-collars for which they are known throughout the world. At criminal trials the traditional dress, including wigs, will continue to be worn. The official announcement is posted on the Judiciary of England and Wales website, where other interesting facts about English judges and photos of judicial court dress are available. For a brief and amusing look at how English court dress came to be--and why it remained that way for centuries--I recommend "Wigs, Coifs, and Other Idiosyncrasies of English Judicial Attire," by Cardozo School of Law professor Charles Yablon (Cardozo Life, Spring 1999).
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