Why Lawyers Wear Black?

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This is a very commonly asked question that generate curiosity among people to know that why a particular dress code is for advocacy.

Firstly In legal ethics , lawyers have The Indian advocate’s act 1961 makes it mandatory for lawyers to wear a black robe or coat with a white neck band on top of it. The dress code has origins rooted in England. The two pieces of white clothes join together to make a neckband  represents the Tablets of laws or Tablets of stones. The white advocate’s band represents The upholding of laws of God and of men.

According to the regulations of the bar council of India The dress code of the advocate appearing in Supreme Court, High Court, district court, Tribunal Shall wear the dress code which is dignified and sober.

Dress Code for Advocates in India 

Part VI: Chapter IV of Bar Council of India Rules: Rules under Section 49(1) (gg) of the Advocates Act, 1961.

1. COAT

(a) A black buttoned up coat, chapkan, achkan, black sherwani and white bands with Advocates’ Gowns. 

(b) A black open breast coat, White shirt, White collar, stiff or soft, and white bands with Advocates’ Gowns.

In either case wear long trousers (White, Black Striped or gray) or dhoti excluding jeans. 

2. BLACK TIE

Provided further that in courts other than the Supreme Court, High Courts, District Courts, Sessions Courts or City Civil Courts, a black tie may be worn instead of bands.

II. Lady Advocates 

Lady Advocates may wear either the dress prescribed in Sub-Rule (b) or the following:

(a) Black full sleeve jacket or blouse, White collar, Stiff or soft, with white bands and Advocates’ gowns.  White blouse with or without a collar, with white bands and with a black open breasted coat.

OR

A. SAREE OR LONG SKIRT

(b) Sarees or long skirts (white or black or any mellow or subdued color without any print or design) or flare (white, black or black stripped or gray) or Punjabi dress churidar kurta or Salwar-Kurta with or without dupatta (white or black) or traditional dress with black coat and bands.

B. ADVOCATE’S GOWN

Wearing of Advocates’ gown shall be optional except when appearing in the Supreme Court or in High Courts.

C. BLACK COAT

Except in Supreme Court and High Courts, during summer wearing black coat is not mandatory.  These amendments have been approved by the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India

Now beside this being a rule , let’s talk about the significance or views of people on wearing this dress code.

Black colour generally has many different overtones. Like every colour it has both positive and negative connotations. So on one hand black colour the represents mystery, death, evil while on other hand Black colour represents power, aggression, position and if we talk about Indian Mythology , The Indian God “Shani” who is also known as the god of justice is represented with black. Also the universe is considered to be all black.

Secondly, black colour represents submission just like priest wear black gown to show their submission to God similarly the lawyers wear black to show their submission to justice.

White colour signifies light and goodness

History says, in February 1685 when King Charles 2 died people started wearing a gown as the symbol of mourning, This was the time when the people in court were continuously wearing black and it was finally decided that the dress code in the court will be black.

It was believed that wearing a wig and a gown awarded a degree of anonymity to lawyers and judges. It was considered fashionable among the English Upper class to wear a wig separating them from the society and making them all honourable. This style started when King Charles 2 got inspired from court of France. For 150 years the legal wig remained the concept of court

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