Malawi’s constitutional court has suspended its requirement that lawyers and judges wear traditional white wigs and black robes in the courtroom as an early season heatwave sweeps the southern African nation.
Temperatures in some parts of the country have hit 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit) this week, the country’s Department of Meteorological Services said.
Malawi, a former British protectorate, still follows the British legal system, with the wearing of wigs and robes a requirement for judges and lawyers.
“The (temperature) figures within their respective areas are higher than what is always expected during this time of the year,” as the southern hemisphere heads toward summer” said Jolamu Nkhokwe, Malawi’s director of climate change and meteorological services.
Agnes Patemba, the registrar for the country’s high court and a judicial spokeswoman, said the lifting of the wig and gown requirement, which began Wednesday, 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.
The country’s ministry of health has issued a press statement warning of heat risks and urging people to take precautions.