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Wigging & gowning of judges and speakers

There is the English tradition of wigs used by judges and speakers of the legislative bodies in the commonwealth countries. Such traditions are now being phased out systematically due to lack of meaning. The purpose of this blog is not whether to accept the wig or not but rather, to search for its contextual meaning in the legal practice.

Law is part of people’s culture. There is no doubt that the traditional English common law emerged from the English culture and traditions in the early 12th Century. Through colonization, the British imposed their legal system on the colonies. Such imposition included some garments and wigs won by persons presiding over the judicial and legislative processes. However, still, it is right to question the meaning of such wigs in the world today? We live in cultural globalization and some cultural practices tend to dominate over others systematically. The most affected lot are the Africans who have not learned how to embed their cultural blue print into the modern cultural globalization trends.

In Kenya, the new constitution is loud on African culture and heritages. The book of law does not prescribe any type of dress code for state officials. This is left to the choice and wisdom of the authorities. The first Chief Justice, Dr. Willy Mutunga did not use the wig as a dress code for the Supreme Court. Instead, he changed the gown for the Supreme Court judges. The appelate and High Court judges were always in their suits and with no wig or gown unless otherwise. Advocates to the High Court have their dress code which is a requirement.

However, do we really have the meaning of the English wigs on the head of judges and speakers in Kenya today?

About Peter Onyango

Dr. Peter Onyango O. is one of our main contributors. He is a senior law lecturer, a writer, a consultant, peace ambassador, and a researcher. He assists so many professionals, legal minds, and debaters with his skills and scholarly wealth! He supports children and village community as a way of giving back to community. He edits, proof reads, and publishes various articles for our page!

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