New judicial robes - get over it

New Judge Gown From The Times 15.05.08

“Debate rages on the new Betty Jackson-designed robe. Verdicts are mixed, although in The Times' letters page today, Professor Sir John Baker expresses alarm to find “our judges wanting to look like warlords from outer space”, while one Times Online contributor says the new garb is “a cross between a Star Trek costume and a fascist storm-trooper's uniform”.

I’ve read a lot of opinion arguing both ways for the new robes. Some say it will add to costs, at least in the short term and that’s even before you get to the fact judges wearing the new garb will resemble something between Captain Kirk and a walking pause button. Others recognise the fact that dressing judges as if they were from the 17th Century doesn't make a whole lot of sense any more.  Whatever your personal opinion, concerns undoubtedly remain over the new robes, particularly as regards the expected durability, and ease of identification for the public.  It's difficult to completely avoid the feeling that this might just be change for change's sake and a move that bears no reflection to the desires of the public, the bar and indeed the judiciary.  But surely, now the decision has been made to implement this new dress code for certain judges, let’s just get on with it. Life’s too short to be bickering over this stuff. 


  1. I still haven't formed an opinion on this... I think that UK's traditional robing is really cool :)

    But I like the 'walking pause button' simile :)

  2. Yeah, I'm quite open-minded on it and can see both points of view. But as I pointed out in the post, now a decision has been taken, I think it's time we all moved on and concerned ourselves with something a little more important than exactly what a judge donns on before he gets out 'on the floor'.


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