Judges should allow Muslim women to appear in court wearing a full-face veil, Britain’s most senior judge has suggested.
Lord Neuberger, the President of the Supreme Court, said it was crucial that courts and judges “show, and be seen to show” respect towards different customs.
He said this included having an understanding of the “different cultural and social habits” of those appearing as witnesses, defendants or jurors in cases.
His comments, in a lecture about the need for courts to be less intimidating, come at a time of uncertainty over the place of the Muslim niqab, or full face-veil, in the legal system.
In 2013 the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas, said there was a need for clear guidance on the issue following controversy over the trial at London’s Blackfriars Crown Court of a Muslim woman accused of witness intimidation.
Rebekah Dawson was told that she would be forced to take off her full-face veil if she gave evidence, which she declined to do. She was later jailed for six months after changing her plea to guilty…