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England and Wales civil and family judges abandon traditional wigs

[JURIST] Under a new judicial dress code [press release and text, PDF] that took effect Wednesday, civil and family judges in the Judiciary of England and Wales [official website] will no longer wear wigs during court proceedings. The new dress code also features redesigned robes [UK Judiciary press release], intended to give a more modern and grounded appearance to members of the judiciary. The dress reforms were instituted by the former Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers. The dress code, which was announced in July, affects only civil and family judges, and does not apply to criminal judges. BBC News has more. Reuters has additional coverage.

The reforms came following a four-year debate surrounding the findings of a 2004 report [text, PDF] which found that the public preferred modernization of the judiciary working dress, which a majority of the judiciary opposed. Judiciary members argued that the traditional dress is well-suited for judicial functions because it is "authoritative, traditional and distinguishes the wearer." Other court professionals also argued that "lay members of the public are ill placed to advise on dress" as they have no direct experience in legal proceedings.

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