Judicial Wig

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/sir_christoffel_brand00.jpg

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:

    open/close all folders 

    Film - Animation 

    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.

    Literature 
  • 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.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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.

    Music 
  • On the stage and film versions of The Wall, Pink's trial is presided over by Judge Arse. He is Exactly What It Says on the Tin - a giant talking human backside wearing a judge's wig. On the film version, the Judge first appears as a worm, which then turns into a wig.

    Theatre 

    Western Animation 
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/JudicialWig