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Malawi’s top court suspends wearing of wigs and gowns

Soaring temperature levels in Malawi has forced the country’s constitutional court to suspend the wearing of traditional white wigs and black robes in the courtroom.

Malawi is among several African countries that continue to hold on to a practice of lawyers and judges wearing white wigs and black robes in the courtroom.

But heatwave has been sweeping through Malawi, according to reporting by Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Temperatures have hit 45 degrees Celsius, according to Malawi’s Department of Meteorological Services.

The suspension of the wearing of these traditional attires should help bring relief to lawyers and judges.

Chikosa Silungwe, a lawyer told Thomson Reuters Foundation “The heatwave this week meant that the gowns and wigs were uncomfortable.”

There are some who have hoped that the suspension is made permanent but Agnes Patemba, a judicial spokeswoman, said the suspension was a temporary measure.

“There is a heatwave and that has compelled the court to indeed do away with wigs and gowns. It is not the first time this has been done,” Patemba said.

In 2017 there was an out-pour of anger from some lawyers in Ghana and ordinary citizens following a notice from country’s Chief Justice warning judges and lawyers to wear wigs in courtrooms.

Ghana and other African countries copied the practice from their British colonial masters, although the British have stopped the practice.


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