Oddly Enough

Tattoos, shaved heads out for judges

BEIJING (Reuters) - A court in central China has banned on-duty judges from wearing heavy makeup and “frolicking” with colleagues, in an exhaustive list of 55 regulations to improve judicial etiquette.

A notice issued by the high court of Henan, the top judicial authority in the heartland province, also banned judges using certain phrases in the courtroom, including: “Are you the judge or am I?” -- and “You will certainly lose this case.”

Judges would not be allowed to wear jewels, Friday’s Beijing Times said, citing court spokesman Xie De’an. Holding hands with colleagues is also out, he said.

“Judges must not dye their hair, wear heavy make-up, tattoos or painted nails. Male judges must not grow long hair, beards or shave their heads,” the paper quoted the notice as saying.

To ensure judges treated their office with respect -- and not taint it by questioning lawyers’ abilities or calling trial witnesses “annoying” -- plainclothes inspectors would be posted to monitor court proceedings, the paper said.

Judges who broke the rules would receive “criticism and education,” and serial offenders would be fired, it said.

Authorities in China have also asked police and taxi drivers to mind their manners.

In September, 2008 Olympic host city Beijing said it would crack down on police officers smoking, eating and chatting on duty, while female taxi drivers in April were ordered to leave their scarves and chunky earrings at home.