Follow TV Tropes


Judicial Wig

Go To
"[J]udges are serious people who wear long, silk nightgowns and big, white powdered wigs."
Tahani, The Good Place

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.

This may seem like far too obvious to some Tropers, particularly those who inhabit Britain or some countries in The Commonwealth; notably, America is neither, and this is more often than not an Averted Trope there. The Judicial Wig 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.

The Other Wiki has more information. Compare Stern Old Judge, 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 

    Asian Animation 
  • Happy Heroes: Headmaster Tele wears one in Season 2 episode 10 when he holds a court trial concerning Big M. and Little M. being spies.
  • In the Simple Samosa episode "Samosa Mama", when Mayor Royal Falooda holds Samosa's trial in the courthouse, he has bubbles protruding from his head which form the shape of a judicial wig.

    Comic Books 
  • 'Weird' Pete wears whenever he is presiding as judge at Gamer Court in Knights of the Dinner Table. It is not known if judges in other Gamer Courts also do this, or if this is just another example of Pete's fondness for theatrics and formal trappings.

    Fan Works 
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami: As seen in Corruption?, Audshul's human judges have them, as seen with Evercalm's judge:
    Behind the high wooden podium in the middle sat a wrinkly man who could only be the judge. Powder was trickling down from his white, curly wig onto the hammer resting before him as he leaned forward, looking Ami up and down.

    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.
  • The Bullet Farmer from Mad Max: Fury Road puts his own unique spin on this by wearing a judge's wig made of leather bandoleers, with bullets forming the "curls".

  • 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 The Prisoner (1967)'s "Dance of the Dead" 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.
  • Mentioned in The Good Place — when waiting for the Judge who resolves disputes between the Good and Bad Places, Tahani (who is British) says that judges are serious people in long nightgowns who wear powdered wigs. The actual Judge turns out to have the robe, but not the wig.
  • In Silk, Nick Slade, a brand-new barrister, steals a wig and set of robes after learning their eye-watering price. When Martha sees him trying them on, she says he was dumb to buy brand-new attire (not knowing he stole them) and that it's better for young barristers to buy used ones because the faded appearance makes them look more mature. Nick is later shown soaking his bright-white wig in tea to try and age it.

  • 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 giant ass in a wig.


    Video Games 
  • Hitman: Absolution: Judge Strickland insists on wearing one while presiding, despite him being an American presiding over a court in South Dakota. This is explained by his being an Anglophile; he also insists that stenographers "translate" change some American English words to their British English counterparts.
  • The titular character in JYDGE wears a headpiece that resembles one of these, albeit in black, though the Jydge is actually a cyborg street enforcer more like Judge Dredd or RoboCop.

    Western Animation