If there's a guy in the courtroom with a huge, powdered-white wig, chances are he's the judge. Thanks to eighteenth-century fashion sentiments in England, the judicial wig has become a symbol of the power behind the bench. This convention extends to media depictions of the judiciary as well - even if there's no other information like dialogue or setting to indicate it, you can figure out the job of the guy with the long white wig. (The "full-bottomed" wig seen in the photo is now only worn on very ceremonial occasions - English judges and barristers now wear a shorter wig with a pig-tail in normal court hearings.) This may seem like People Sit on Chairs to some Tropers, particularly those who inhabit Britain or countries in The Commonwealth; notably, America is neither, and this is more often than not an Averted Trope there. The Wig of Justice owes its existence to fashion trends in Europe in the eighteenth century—long, powdered wigs were in vogue. For those places where court dress has retained these elements of style, force of habit and tradition kept them in place even after people in general stopped wearing them. In particularly modern settings, this may serve as an indicator that the presiding judge is too much of a Cloud Cuckoolander or, ironically enough, a Rules Lawyer to render a decision effectively. That Other Wiki has more information. Compare Scales of Justice, another common symbol of law, and Black Cap Of Death, with which the wig may be complemented.
All rise! The honorable works that provide examples of this trope include:
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Film - Animation
- The segment of Heavy Metal that focuses on the trial of Captain Lincoln Sternn is presided over by a corpulent judge wearing the classic woolen wig, even though the courtroom is aboard a huge space station, with a Cast of Snowflakes gallery of bizarre aliens. He presumably bugs out when star witness Hanover Fiste goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
- Clopin wears one briefly in the "Court of Miracles" number in The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
- The Wind in the Willows segment of The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad features Toad on trial. Both the judge and the prosecutor wear wigs; Toad himself puts one on while representing himself.
Film - Live-Action
- The judge who sentences Jack (or actually, Gibbs being mistaken for Jack) at the beginning of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides wears a wig sporting big, white, curly hair. The wig serves as a disguise too, since the "judge" actually is Jack himself.
- In And Then There Were None, when Judge Wargrave is (apparently) shot and killed, he's been dressed up in a mockery of a judge's outfit, with a wig made from grey wool.
- One episode of British television's The Prisoner has the current Number Two don a woolen wig to preside at the bizarre trial of Number Six. The charges are bogus, but it's all done to compel Six to reveal why he resigned from the Intelligence Service. Or kill him, either will do for Two's purposes.
- In the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Squire of Gothos", Trelane puts Kirk on trial for defying him and wears a judicial wig along with his judges' robes.
- As Monty Python's Flying Circus is a British TV show, all sketches taking place in a courtroom have the judge wearing a wig.
- In the episode "The Music Box" of Little House on the Prairie, Laura has a nightmare about a wigged judge after she steals Nellie's music box.
- The Sketch Show: There's a short gag about justice wigs in a sketch where the (bald) judge is happy to take off "that silly wig" at the end of a hard day's work at court. Then he immediately puts on a Dodgy Toupee.
- The judges in Einstein on the Beach wear these—even the child judge.
- In The Amazing World of Gumball episode "The Love", one skit shows Richard in a courtroom. The judge is essentially Judge Arse from The Wall, powdered wig included.
- Batman: The Animated Series:
- In "Trial", Batman is put before a Joker Jury that the the man himself presides over. Joker's attire includes the traditional black cloak and powdered wig, both apparently over his regular suit.
- In "Judgement Day", a villain-of-the-week dubbing himself The Judge (actually, Two-Face's third personality) wears just such a wig when going after Gotham rogues with an intent to bring them to his particular brand of vigilante "justice".
- In The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, Judge Roy Spleen wears a curly white wig, which serves his role as The Comically Serious.
- On the Looney Tunes short "Bugs Bonnets", Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd keep changing roles depending on the hats that end up landing on their heads. At one point, Bugs as a gangster tries to bribe Elmer as a cop. Elmer tries to give the bribe back, but at that point a judge wig lands on Bugs, who then sentences him for corruption.
- The Simpsons: When Homer is on trial in Britain in "The Regina Monologues", the judge wears the traditional attire. Homer mistakes him for an old woman, causing him to angrily pull the wig off while pointing out otherwise.
- The Wander over Yonder episode "The Good Deed" has Wander reconciling Feuding Families by putting on a mock trial where he plays ever member of the court. As judge, Wander wears a powdered wig so oversized that it droops over the sides of the podium◊.