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Dublin: 13°C Wednesday 17 August 2022

Judges to lose the wigs from today

Starting this morning, judges will no longer be required to wear horsehair wigs – a tradition dating back to 1660 – in court.

High Court judges will no longer need to don their wigs.
High Court judges will no longer need to don their wigs.
Image: Albert Gonzalez / Photocall Ireland

FROM TODAY, JUDGES in Ireland will no longer be required to wear wigs of horsehair.

The historic use of the white, curly wigs in both the Supreme Court and High Court will end following a change in court rules yesterday.

The decision by the Superior Courts Rules Committee will save the State €2,200 for every new judge that is appointed.

The ruling was signed into law by Justice Minister Alan Shatter, who welcomed the move. He said it should be recognised as a “small but significant step” in the ongoing process of reform.

The tradition of wearing the horsehair wigs dates back to the restoration of the monarchy in England in 1660 and they survived the transition to Independence in 1921.

In a statement yesterday evening, the Courts Service said a similar rule change will apply to Circuit Court judges.

A spokesman said the rule change is complementary to the removal of the necessity to address a judge in court as “My Lord”. It is now appropriate that a judge be referred to simply as “Judge” or “A Bhreithimh”.

Exemptions to the requirement for a judge to wear a wig have existed in relation to family law proceedings for some time.

Read: Total for judges’ travel and clothing expenses tops half a million euro>

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