The Times has today reported on the outcome of a case in which a judge recently adjourned a hearing because the Muslim lawyer appearing before him refused to remove her full face covering.The law firm has replaced the lawyer and the courts have replaced the judge. As the relevant parties say, this has been done in order to protect the interests of the client and of justice respectively. I can well understand this attitude, as the last thing Jagdev Singh needs is a media circus surrounding his efforts to get his nephew a visitor’s visa.

Meanwhile, guidance is in the course of preparation that will cover who can wear what in court – magistrates, lawyers, parties, witnesses and jurors. In the interim, “Mr Justice Hodge, president of the Asylum & Immigration Tribunal, which oversees all immigration cases, said that Muslim women should be allowed to wear their veils in court unless doing so means they cannot be heard or otherwise “interferes with the interests of justice.” ” (Whatever that means.)

This all seems moderately sensible. But what I want to know is – why does the veiled woman chosen by The Times to illustrate their story (see here, also above – in case the picture is moved off the Law homepage!) have such soulful, come-hither eyes? Is it to remind us that veiling is – like any other issue connected with women’s dress – all about “beauty” and sex?

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