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Legal regalia

Kent Wang

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A 2003 New York Times article on British legal regalia. In short, they still wear wigs and robes. Is there any new information on plans to change it? Do all the Commonwealth countries still require it? How about Hong Kong?
 

GradSchooler

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Here in Canada lawyers and court officials still need to wear their robes. I'm fairly certain at the Supreme Court they also have to wear wigs, but don't quote me on that one.
 

Kent Wang

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The US Solicitor General, when appearing at the Supreme Court, wears a morning coat. This applies in some state supreme courts as well, including Texas. Still, morning coat is not quite as fancy as a wig.
 

Izhitsa

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Here one can find a 2005 essay on judicial costumes around the world.
 

Anthony Jordan

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The Lord Chancellor's Department undertook a major consultation some years ago regarding options for changing legal dress in England and Wales. I was not sure what came of it but here is an article from the Independent newspaper about it, with picture:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk...s-1655348.html

In short, having regard to this practice direction, it appears that civil judges have new gowns whereas judges in the criminal courts continue to wear the old winter gown.

All rather depressing really. There is a catena of news articles and releases here if anyone wants to delve further:

http://innertemplelibrary.wordpress....y/court-dress/
 

Not Ed Harris

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If it's a solicitor, they don't wear robes unless they're appearing in a higher court (High Court, Crown Court, Court of Appeal etc), which requires them to have "higher rights of audience". A lot of the advocacy work in the magistrates courts and county court is dones by solicitors. Dress is then conservative suit and tie, though if you're a bit more flamboyant most judges probably won't call you on it.

A barrister appearing in a lower court might wear their gown to distinguish them from a solicitor but is unlikely to wear the wig. The judge, of course has no need to distinguish themselves but might wear a gown out of personal preference.

It used to be that the Lords of Appeal, while doing the hearings would just be in suits and would only get dolled up for delivering verdicts in the House itself. Not sure what the situation is with the new Supreme Court.

In the tribunals for employment, immigration and the like it's all suits no gowns, even for barristers and the judges.

That said, my personal court experience isn't that great as I moved into in-house fund work a couple of years after qualifying.
 

culverwood

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Originally Posted by Not Ed Harris
Not sure what the situation is with the new Supreme Court.
What I have seen of the Supreme Court in England is that the barristers wear wigs and gowns but the judges just wear suits or a dress.
 

Kent Wang

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Originally Posted by Izhitsa
Here one can find a 2005 essay on judicial costumes around the world.
Excellent, thanks. I'm most curious about the various other countries. Hong Kong is an especially odd case as it's no longer even part of the Commonwealth. I suppose they'll maintain the regalia under the One Country Two Systems policy.
 

asdf

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Originally Posted by GradSchooler
Here in Canada lawyers and court officials still need to wear their robes. I'm fairly certain at the Supreme Court they also have to wear wigs, but don't quote me on that one.

Nope, no wigs. Canadian lawyers, as far as i know, have never worn wigs. They do wear gowns, wing-collar shirts, and "tabs" though. QC's wear silk gowns as a sign of status.
 

aj_del

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In India, they have summer dress and winter dress. Summer is black SC and white trousers with those wing coallr shirts and tabs. In winter black robes on top of black jacket with those black and charcoal stripe trousers.

Senior counsels (designated by HC and SC) wear a full sleeve vest in summers instead of black SC.

Judges are addressed as m'lord, though some judges ask to be addressed as your honour since it has been some time since India has had lords of any kind and m'lord is regarded somewhat as an relic of the colonial era by some judges.

No wigs ever
 

mdp0430

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Reminds of the scene in Boston Legal when Spader and Shatner show up in a Canadian court with fishing waders and wigs... Funny stuff.
 

patrickBOOTH

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There is a lot of clubs here in New York where people wear wigs and robes too. I can't see it going away anytime soon.
 

Kent Wang

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What clubs? Please explain. This is new to me.
 

MBreinin

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You furriners get to have all the fun. If I showed up in court with a robe/morning coat or a wig, it would be like when Vinny showed up wearing a velvet tux in Herman Munster's Court. LOL.
 

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