British Muslim wins right to wear veil in court

The head of a network of British immigration courts ruled Thursday that lawyers should be allowed to wear full-face veils in the courtroom unless it prevents them being heard. The guidance from Sir Henry Hodge, head of the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal, follows an incident involving a Muslim lawyer at a hearing in Stoke-in-Trent, central England. Shabnam Mughal, 27, refused to remove her veil at the request of a judge in an immigration hearing, who said he could not hear her. Mughal insisted she had the right to use the black veil covering all but her eyes, and had worn it at many previous hearings. Judge George Glossop adjourned the hearing and officials asked Hodge to issue a decision about how to resolve the courtroom stand-off. Hodge said Thursday that if a lawyer wishing to wear a veil "has the agreement of his or her client and can be heard reasonably clearly by all parties to the proceedings, then the representative should be allowed to do so."