Why do British and Australian lawyers and judges wear wigs in court?
The short answer: Tradition, syphilis, and lice.
To start, the wigs are typically made of horse hair.
Second, they’re expensive — from $500 to $3,000 depending on model.
Tradition is self-explanatory. The tradition goes back to the late 16th century when people with syphilis were plagued by rashes, blindness, dementia, open sores and... hair loss.
Hair loss was deemed to be a good indication of syphilis, and wigs covered over a lot of problems.
Wigs also made it possible for barristers to cut their hair short, which made lice less of a problem, as wigs could be easily picked or dunked in lice killer.