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Encyclopedia > Court dress

Court dress comprises two forms of dress: dress prescribed for Royal courts; and dress prescribed for courts of law. To meet Wikipedias quality standards and make it more accessible to a general audience, this article may require cleanup. ... A trial at the Old Bailey in London as drawn by Thomas Rowlandson and Augustus Pugin for Ackermanns Microcosm of London (1808-11). ...


This article deals primarily with dress worn in the courts of law of England and Wales and elsewhere in the English-speaking world.

Contents

Court dress in England and Wales

Where court dress is worn

Court dress is worn at hearings in open court in all courts of the Supreme Court of Judicature and in county courts. However, court dress may be dispensed with at the option of the judge, e.g. in very hot weather, and invariably where it may intimidate children, e.g. in the Family Division and at the trials of minors. In the House of Lords and in the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council counsel wear court dress, but their Lordships are dressed in suits. This article concerns the Courts of England and Wales. ... Crown Court and County Court in Oxford. ... Her Majestys High Court of Justice (usually known more simply as the High Court) is, together with the Crown Court and the Court of Appeal, part of the Supreme Court of Judicature of England and Wales (which under the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, is to be known as the... The House of Lords, in addition to having a legislative function, has a judicial function as a court of last resort within the United Kingdom. ... The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council is one of the highest courts in the United Kingdom. ...


Court dress is not worn at hearings in chambers and in the magistrates' courts. Bedford Magistrates Court A Magistrates Court or court of petty sessions, formerly known as a police court, is the lowest level of court in England and Wales and many other common law jurisdictions. ...


See Courts of England and Wales. Schematic of court system for England and Wales The United Kingdom does not have a single unified judicial system—England and Wales have one system, Scotland another, and Northern Ireland a third. ...


Advocates

English advocates (whether barristers or solicitors) who appear before a judge who is robed, or before the House of Lords or Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, must themselves be robed. This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... A solicitor is a type of lawyer in many common law jurisdictions, such as the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Republic of Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, but not the United States (in the United States the word has a quite different meaning—see below). ...


All advocates wear a white stiff wing collar with bands (two strips of linen about 5" by 1" hanging down the front of the neck). They also wear either a dark suit (usually with waistcoat if single-breasted) or a black coat and waistcoat and grey pinstriped trousers. The black coat and waistcoat can be combined into a single garment, which is simply a waistcoat with sleeves, known as a bar jacket.


Junior barristers

Junior barristers wear an open-fronted black stuff gown with open sleeves and a gathered yoke, over a black or dark suit, hence the term stuffgownsman for juniors. In addition barristers wear a short horsehair wig with curls at the side and ties down the back.


Solicitors

Solicitors wear a stuff gown of the same shape as QCs, with no wig.


Queen's Counsel

Barristers or solicitors who have been appointed Queen's Counsel, or QCs, wear a silk gown with a flap collar and long closed sleeves (the arm opening is half-way up the sleeve). The QC's black coat, known as a court coat, is cut like 18th-century court dress, and the sleeve of the QC's court coat or bar jacket has a turnback cuff with three buttons across. Cherie Booth QC wearing her ceremonial robes (including full-bottomed wig) as Queens Counsel at the Bar of England and Wales. ...


On ceremonial occasions, and when appearing at the bar of the House of Lords (nowadays this usually only happens when the decision of the House is given), QCs wear ceremonial dress (see below).


Judges

Generally judges in the Family and Chancery divisions of the courts wear the same black silk gown and court coat or bar jacket as QCs, as do judges in the Court of Appeal. All judges wear a short bench wig when working in court, reserving the long wig for ceremonial occasions, and a wing collar and bands. Her Majestys High Court of Justice (usually known more simply as the High Court) is, together with the Crown Court and the Court of Appeal, part of the Supreme Court of Judicature of England and Wales (which under the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, is to be known as the... Her Majestys High Court of Justice (usually known more simply as the High Court) is, together with the Crown Court and the Court of Appeal, part of the Supreme Court of Judicature of England and Wales (which under the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, is to be known as the... Her Majestys Court of Appeal is the second most senior court in the English legal system, with only the Judicial Committee of the House of Lords above it. ...


Judges in the highest courts, the House of Lords and the Privy Council, do not wear court dress at all (although advocates appearing before them do), as they are sitting respectively as legislators and Privy Counsellors. Instead they are dressed in ordinary suits and ties.


It is in intermediate courts that try cases at first instance (with a jury in criminal cases) that court dress is the most complicated.


High Court judges

When dealing with first-instance criminal business in the winter, a High Court judge of the Queen's Bench Division wears a scarlet robe with fur facings, a black scarf and girdle (waistband) and a scarlet casting-hood or tippet. When dealing with criminal business in the summer, the judge wears a similar scarlet robe, but with silk rather than fur facings. Her Majestys High Court of Justice (usually known more simply as the High Court) is, together with the Crown Court and the Court of Appeal, part of the Supreme Court of Judicature of England and Wales (which under the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, is to be known as the... One of the ancient courts of England, the Kings Bench (or Queens Bench when the monarch is female) is now a division of the High Court of Justice of England and Wales. ... Meriwether Lewis wearing a tipped presented to him by Sacagaweas brother, Cameahwait. ...


When he tries civil cases, he wears in winter a black robe faced with fur, a black scarf and girdle and a scarlet tippet; in summer, a violet robe faced with silk, with the black scarf and girdle and scarlet tippet.


Circuit judges

A circuit judge (in the County courts or the Crown court) wears a violet robe with lilac facings. As well as a girdle, the judge wears a tippet (sash) over the left shoulder - lilac when dealing with civil business and red when dealing with crime. Crown Court and County Court in Oxford. ...


Special occasions

On Red Letter Days (which include the Sovereign's birthday and certain saints' days) all judges wear the scarlet robe for the appropriate season. The article refers to the calendar references. ... A monarch (see sovereignty) is a type of ruler or head of state. ...


On special ceremonial occasions (such as the Opening of the Legal Year) judges and QCs wear long wigs, black breeches and silk stockings, and wear lace jabots instead of bands. High court judges in addition have a scarlet and fur mantle, which is worn with his gold chain of office in the case of the Lord Chief Justice. The Lord Chancellor and judges of the Court of Appeal have black silk damask gowns heavily embellished with gold embroidery. The Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, or Lord Chancellor and prior to the Union the Chancellor of England and the Lord Chancellor of Scotland, is a senior and important functionary in the government of the United Kingdom, and its predecessor states. ...


Reform

A court dress consultation was conducted in 2003, but the results have never been published and it is widely seen has having been "kicked into the long grass" by the current Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer of Thoroton. It had been suggested that reforms might include the abolition of wigs in civil courts (but retaining them in criminal courts), and making the dress of barristers and solicitor-advocates indistinguishable. 2003 (MMIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Charles Leslie Falconer, Baron Falconer of Thoroton, PC (born November 19, 1951), is a British lawyer and Labour Party politician. ...


A previous review in 1992 resulted in little change of substance. 1992 (MCMXCII) was a leap year starting on Wednesday. ...


Scotland

Scottish court dress is very similar to English court dress, but there are notable differences. For example, Scottish advocates wear tail coats under their gowns, and wear white bow ties instead of bands. QCs and judges wear long scarf-like ties (known as falls) instead of bands.


Scottish judicial robes are also very different from English ones.


Commonwealth

Court dress in many jurisdictions in Commonwealth realms such as Australia and the Caribbean is identical to English court dress. Many African countries that used to be British colonies similarly continue to wear the dress, white wigs and all. The Commonwealth Realms, shown in pink A Commonwealth Realm is any one of the sixteen sovereign states within the Commonwealth of Nations that recognise Elizabeth II as their respective monarch. ... West Indian redirects here. ...


In Pakistan, the courts have continued to uphold the raj tradition of lawyers wearing white and black. However, in 1980s, judges modified their dress to do away with wig and to allow the usage of a black sherwani (a long traditional Pakistani coat).


In Canada court dress is identical, except that wigs are not worn. Bar jackets are worn under the gown, though QC's and Judges have more elaborate cuffs than other lawyers. In some lower level courts of Queen's Bench it has been acceptable for lawyers to be dressed in proper business attire. Business attire is suitable for the lower provincial and territorial courts. There is no distinction between solicitors and barristers; all lawyers are formally qualified as both.


In New Zealand court dress was simplified in 1996. Judges wear black gowns in the District Court, High Court and Court of Appeal, while counsel only wear black gowns in the latter two courts. Wigs and bar jackets (for counsel) are only worn on ceremonial occasions. No gowns are worn by the Judges of the Supreme Court of New Zealand, on a false analogy with the Law Lords of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. This article needs cleanup. ... The Supreme Court of New Zealand is the highest court of appeal in New Zealand, having formally come into existence at the beginning of 2004, and sitting for the first time on 1 July 2004. ... The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council is one of the highest courts in the United Kingdom. ...


Australia

In Australia court dress varies according to the jurisdiction.


In the High Court of Australia, Justices wear plain black robes with zippered fronts over normal attire. They do not wear wigs, collars, bands or jabots. The robes are similar in appearance to those worn by Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States, although they are more elaborately tailored. These robes have been worn since 1988, when the High Court abandoned the previous court dress of black silk robes, bar jackets, jabots or bands and full-bottomed wigs and lace cuffs on formal occasions and bench wigs for ordinary business High Court entrance The High Court of Australia is the final court of appeal in Australia, the highest court in the Australian court hierarchy. ... Federal courts Supreme Court Chief Justice Associate Justices Elections Presidential elections Midterm elections Political Parties Democratic Republican Third parties State & Local government Governors Legislatures (List) State Courts Counties, Cities, and Towns Other countries Politics Portal      The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the highest judicial body in the...


In the Federal Court of Australia, judges no longer wear traditional court dress, but wear black wool robes with a black trim for ‘first instance’ work, and black wool robes with a red trim for appeal cases. These robes were adopted in 1997 and were designed by Bill Haycock. The robes have seven horizontal tucks or "ombres" on one side, representing the six Australian States and the Territories. They also serve to symbolise Australia’s federal constitution and the federal jurisdiction of the Court. The robes also include a vertical band of black silk made up or of seven equal parts, also symbolizing Australia’s federal system and equality before the law. In Melbourne, the Federal Court is housed with other federal courts such as the High Court and the Federal Magistrates Court in the Federal Court Building on the corner of La Trobe Street and William Street The Federal Court of Australia is the Australian court in which most civil disputes...


Judges and judicial registrars of the Family Court of Australia wear a black silk gown, a bar jacket with either bands or a jabot and a bench wig. On formal occasions, judges wear full-bottomed wigs. It has been suggested that Australian family law be merged into this article or section. ...


Federal Magistrates wear a plain black gown in court without a wig.


Judges of the Supreme Courts of the States and Territories of Australia wear court dress similar to that worn by judges of the High Court in England and Wales. On formal occasions, judges wear red scarlet robe with white fur facings, bands or a jabot, a black scarf and girdle and a scarlet casting-hood, with a full-bottomed wig. Unlike judges in the United Kingdom, judges in Australia never wear breeches, hose and buckled shoes. When sitting in criminal proceedings, judges wear scarlet robes with grey silk facings, bands or a jabot and a bench wig. When sitting in appeal or in civil proceedings, judges and masters wear a black silk gown, a bar jacket with either bands or a jabot and a bench wig. In some jurisdictions, the wearing of wigs has been abandoned for other than formal occasions.


Judges of the Land and Environment Court of New South Wales and judges sitting in the Workers’ Compensation Court of NSW and the Dust Diseases Tribunal wear the same court dress as a judge of the Supreme Court sitting civilly. The Land and Environment Court of New South Wales is a Court established by legislation giving it exclusive determine environmental, development, building and planning disputes. ...


Judges of the District or County Courts of the States of Australia wear court dress similar to that worn by judges of the County Court of England and Wales.


Judges in all Australian courts will not usually wear court dress for procedural or chambers proceedings.


Stipendiary Magistrates and justices of the peace do not robe, other than in NSW where they have worn a black robe over normal business attire since 2005.


Barristers in all Australian jurisdictions, when required to do so, wear court dress similar to that worn in the United Kingdom. Queen’s Counsel or Senior Counsel wear a black silk gown, a bar jacket, bands or a jabot and a horsehair wig with curls at the side and ties down the back. On formal occasions, they wear full-bottomed wigs. In addition Victorian Senior Counsel wear a black rosette hanging from the back of their gown. Junior Counsel wear a an open-fronted black stuff gown with open sleeves and a gathered yoke, and otherwise wear the same outfit as Senior Counsel (other than full-bottomed wigs). Counsel usually wear dark trousers or striped trousers, or a dark skirt for female barristers. Barristers will not usually robe for procedural hearings. British barristers wearing traditional dress. ... The Times satire Queens Counsel, see Alexander williams. ... The title of Senior Counsel (postnominal SC; 資深大律師 in Hong Kong Cantonese [1] [2]; 高级律师 in Singapore Mandarin [3] [4]) or State Counsel is given to a senior barrister or advocate in some countries, especially in Commonwealth countries or jurisdictions in which the British monarch is no longer head of state, such...


Solicitors, in those jurisdictions where the legal profession is not fused (such as New South Wales and Queensland) do not robe when appearing in court, even before superior courts. In those States and Territories with fused professions, solicitors robe in situations where barristers would normally wear robes. Capital Sydney Government Constitutional monarchy Governor Professor Marie Bashir Premier Morris Iemma (ALP) Federal representation  - House seats 50  - Senate seats 12 Gross State Product (2004-05)  - Product ($m)  $305,437 (1st)  - Product per capita  $45,153/person (4th) Population (End of March 2006)  - Population  6,817,100 (1st)  - Density  8. ... Capital Brisbane Government Constitutional monarchy Governor Quentin Bryce Premier Peter Beattie (ALP) Federal representation  - House seats 28  - Senate seats 12 Gross State Product (2004-05)  - Product ($m)  $158,506 (3rd)  - Product per capita  $40,170/person (6th) Population (End of September 2006)  - Population  4,070,400 (3rd)  - Density  2. ...


In the High Court of Australia, barristers wear the same dress as is required by the Supreme Court in their jurisdiction. Barristers robe (but without a wig) if it is the usual practice to robe in the Supreme Court of the State or Territory in which the matter is being heard in the Federal Court of Australia. Counsel do not robe before the Federal Magistrates Court.


Hong Kong

Court dress in Hong Kong is practically the same as court dress in England and Wales. Under the auspices of the one country, two systems arrangement after 1997, when sovereignty of the former British crown colony was transferred to the People's Republic of China as a special administrative region, the territory has continued to be a common law jurisdiction, and English legal traditions have preserved. Judges in the Court of Final Appeal, however, do not wear wigs but only gowns with lace jabot, similar to those of International Court of Justice. One country, two systems (Simplified Chinese: 一国两制; Traditional Chinese: 一國兩制; pinyin: yì; guó liǎng zhì; Jyutping: jat1 gwok3 loeng5 zai3; Yale: yāt gwok leúhng jai), is an idea originally proposed by Deng Xiaoping, then Paramount Leader of the Peoples Republic of China (PRC), for the unification of China. ... A Special administrative region (SAR) is an administrative division of the Peoples Republic of China (PRC). ... Court of Final Appeal usually refers to the last court in which one can appeal cases brought before the highest level. ... The International Court of Justice (known colloquially as the World Court or ICJ; French: ) is the primary judicial organ of the United Nations. ...


United States

Group photo of United States Supreme Court Justices from 2005. Optional formal dress can be seen under the robes, such as bow ties. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor has added white ruffles.
Group photo of United States Supreme Court Justices from 2005. Optional formal dress can be seen under the robes, such as bow ties. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor has added white ruffles.

Formal court dress is a relative rarity in the USA. Generally, judges of both state and federal courts are free to select their own courtroom attire. The most common choice is a plain black robe which covers the torso and legs, with sleeves. Female judges will sometimes add to the robe a plain white collar similar to that used in academic dress. Very occasionally, a judge will wear another color, such as blue or red. Image File history File links Group photo of current justices. ... Image File history File links Group photo of current justices. ... Portrait of a woman wearing a heavily ruffled cap, 1789 . In sewing and dressmaking, a ruffle or frill is a strip of fabric, lace or ribbon tightly gathered or pleated on one edge and applied to a garment, bedding, curtain or other textile as a form of trimming. ... Academic dress or academical dress (also known in the United States as academic regalia) is traditional clothing worn specifically in academic settings. ...


Until the tenure of Chief Justice of the United States John Marshall, all Supreme Court justices wore red robes with ermine trim and full-bottomed wigs, reminiscent of British court dress. Marshall, however, eschewed this formality and began the practice of only wearing a black silk robe, with no wig. In 1994, Chief Justice William Rehnquist added four gold bars to each sleeve of his black robe, but the change in his attire (he had been Chief Justice since 1986) was his own innovation and was inspired by a production of the operetta Iolanthe, rather than any historical precedent. His successor, John Roberts, has returned to the practice of wearing a plain black robe. Federal courts Supreme Court Chief Justice Associate Justices Elections Presidential elections Midterm elections Political Parties Democratic Republican Third parties State & Local government Governors Legislatures (List) State Courts Counties, Cities, and Towns Other countries Politics Portal      The Chief Justice of the United States is the head of the judicial branch of... John Marshall (September 24, 1755 – July 6, 1835) was an American statesman and jurist who shaped American constitutional law and made the Supreme Court a center of power. ... William Hubbs Rehnquist (October 1, 1924 – September 3, 2005) was an American lawyer, jurist, and a political figure, who served as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States and later as the Chief Justice of the United States. ... Iolanthe, or The Peer and the Peri, is a comic opera with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert. ... John Glover Roberts Jr. ...


Many state supreme court justices wear unique styles of robes, the most notable being the Maryland Court of Appeals, where all judges wear red, and British-style tab collars. The seven judges of the Maryland Court of Appeals in their crimson robes. ...


Some judges eschew special dress entirely and preside over their courts in normal business wear.


"Professional" attire (e.g. sharply fitted cleaned and pressed business suits, or the traditional trousers, jacket, tie, and shined leather shoes for men or medium-length skirt, conservative blouse, and fashionable high-heeled shoes for women) is the norm for attorneys appearing in court, although with the gradual increase in the number of women admitted to the bar in the past half-century the term has been of necessity subject to some re-definition. For example, some judges forbade female attorneys to wear trousers when appearing in court; but this practice is falling into disuse.


The most significant exception to the practice of non-ceremonial court dress is the United States Solicitor General. When the Solicitor General (or an assistant) argues a case before the Supreme Court of the United States, he or she wears morning dress, with striped trousers, grey ascot, waistcoat, and a cutaway morning coat, making for a very distinctive sight in the courtroom. The United States Solicitor General is the individual appointed to argue for the Government of the United States in front of the Supreme Court of the United States, when the government is party to a case. ... Federal courts Supreme Court Chief Justice Associate Justices Elections Presidential elections Midterm elections Political Parties Democratic Republican Third parties State & Local government Governors Legislatures (List) State Courts Counties, Cities, and Towns Other countries Politics Portal      The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the highest judicial body in the... Morning dress is a particular category of mens formal dress. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Pants. ... http://www. ... A traditional waistcoat, to be worn with a two-piece suit or separate jacket and trousers A waistcoat (sometimes called a vest in Canada and the US) is a sleeveless upper-body garment worn over a dress shirt and necktie (if applicable) and below a coat as a part of... A morning coat is a mans coat worn as the principal item in morning dress. ...


External links

  • Court Dress Consultation Paper
  • Judicial costume of the world
  • Legal Habits; a brief sartorial history of wig, robe and gown Thomas Woodcock (2003)

  Results from FactBites:
 
Department for Constitutional Affairs - (5144 words)
A court is a serious place of work where the outcomes of the matters under consideration by legal professionals and lay jurors alike often have a massive impact on the lives of court users and, at times, society as a whole.
The court working dress worn by the Lord Chief Justice, the Master of the Rolls, the President of the Family Division and the Vice-Chancellor, and Lords Justices of Appeal, comprises a court coat and waistcoat (or a sleeved waistcoat) worn with skirt or trousers and bands, a fl silk gown and a short wig.
The court dress worn by High Court judges dealing with business in the Chancery and Family Divisions is simple: a court coat and waistcoat worn with bands and a skirt or trousers beneath a fl silk gown, and a short wig.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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