Belgium deletes 19th century keppeland headscarf law

The ban on wearing a cap, headscarf or keppel in Belgian courts will disappear. The rule would not be more of this time.

The obligation for audience members to attend sessions with โ€œunsecured headsโ€ dates back to the nineteenth century. A top hat or cap was part of the daily kit for men at that time. As a sign of courtesy and reverence in court, the headgear had to be dropped off.


2021, judges hardly apply the rule to people with a Jewish keppel or Islamic headscarf. But a few times a magistrate has ruled that these religious expressions are not allowed in court either.

That hasn‘t always been without consequences. In 2007, Belgium was tapped by the European Court of Human Rights, following a complaint by a man who was evicted in a case in Antwerp for wearing a keppel. More recently, in 2018, Belgium was condemned by judges in Strasbourg for a similar headscarf role.

New law

Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne (Open VLD), his spokesman confirms following reports in Flemish media, now proposes to remove the ban. The governor no longer finds the rule of this time because of today’s religious diversity. A judge may still ask someone to take off a hat or appeal to a person on inappropriate clothing. Parliament has yet to approve the amendment of the law.