Every profession has its dress code, and its appearance can identify those who work in that field. For example, doctors wear white coats, and engineers wear helmets, lawyers wear a black coats, etc. However, history has it that both doctors and lawyers wore black coats before the nineteenth century. To improve hygiene, the doctors changed the color of the coat to white over time.

Lawyers can be identifiable by their black and white dress in this fashion. Even though the hue of the lawyer’s clothes is the same, the dress code for lawyers varies from country to country. Compared to other professions, lawyers wear a black coat and have one of the most exquisite dress codes.

Lawyers are thought to be among the most well-dressed professionals as it has been observed that people wearing black outfits look more expressive and sophisticated. In some nations, such as Canada, lawyers wear a red and white uniform. However, most countries have a white and black clothing code.

So why do lawyers wear black?

A classic black-winged jacket is worn over the lawyer’s Attire in various European countries. This dress ethic is followed by both men and women lawyers in most countries—the majority of lawyers around the world dress in professional Attire with muted color combinations.

Lawyers typically wear a white shirt with black trousers and a coat with a white neckband. We frequently ponder the reasoning behind the black-and-white dress code. There is a reason for this, which we shall cover in the following essay.

The Legal Dress Code

A professional’s dress code is a mark of Confidence, an act of discipline, a Sign of professionalism, and a Projuding Part of an Individual’s Personality. In a Lawyer’s Dress Code, the balance between sustaining Court Decorum and allowing independence in one’s lifestyle is best defined.

The dress code is an integral aspect of respect and masterliness, with few exceptions. Generally, the standard clothing style for lawyers is a white shirt, black trousers, and a white neckband. Judges and Solicitors wearing Judicial Robes appear to be a sign of respect and commitment to the Court and the Justice.

Historical background (Why lawyers wear black coat)?

The Black Coat has a long history dating back to when Edward III created the Attire for Judges based on the Dress ethics for the Royal Court in 1327. Judges and sergeants who wore a white styled wig on their heads and practiced from St. Paul’s Cathedral, and the four legal societies, were divided into Pleaders, Benchers, Students, and Barristers. They were mostly from monarchical and well-endowed families and were the only legal profession members in Britain at the end of the 13th century.

In England, the Department of Legal Profession was established in 1340, laying the development stage for Professional Advocacy. In 1340, the general people protested the length of the legal Attire, but the Lawyers steadfastly refused to abandon the long gowns.

Judges wore Violet gowns in the winter and Green gowns in the summer throughout medieval times. However, by 1534, Green Summer gowns had less significance, and wearing the Black and Violet gowns was commonly worn. On the other hand, Robes can refer to both a wig and a gown.

Except for church and the martial service, legal professionals used to wear gowns. In Europe, an academic and clerical tradition of forensic dress dates back to when the advocate-accessorial of Papal Courts and the legal practitioners of the Roman Sapienza wore long mantles.

Solicitors, barristers, and judges in England wore black coats, gowns, traditional wigs, and white bands in the 17th century. In England, three accounts about the use of robes have been discovered. Black gowns were first introduced in 1685 as a mourning symbol when King Charles II died. Platted shoulders and bell-shaped sleeves were fashioned for these mourning robes in honor of King Charles II.

The high-ranking Lawyer’s Robes are distinguished by their flapdoodles(collars) and sleeves. Similar robes are still worn today. The wigs are likewise in keeping with the era’s trend. Robes and wigs were thought to provide Judges and attorneys with some anonymity.

Second, in 1694 Judges nationwide attended Queen Mary II’s burial clad in black robes as an act of Morning. The wearing Black gowns became deep-rooted in the English Judiciary because the mourning period continued a few more years following Mary’s burial.

Finally, in 1714, following the death of his wife, Queen Mary II, King William III ordered all advocates in his realm to express their grief by wearing black coats publicly. As a result, Italian judges who resembled English judges in the 18th century wore white Wigs, white robes, and white bands.

In light of the preceding, it is apparent that the advocates’ black gowns and modern-day dress had their origins in the United Kingdom. Since then, lawyers have worn white and black dresses as their formal dress ethic. Thus, the Black Robes custom expanded throughout the British Empire and subsequently worldwide, and it is being practiced today as part of Britain’s colonial ambitions.

Why do lawyers wear black and doctors wear white coats ?

Lawyers and judges wearing black robes date back to the 17th century in the United Kingdom. Black color is associated with dignity, honor, knowledge, and justice because lawyers and judges must uphold these beliefs while maintaining grace and dignity. Therefore, black is the color of choice for them. In comparison, doctors wear white coats to represent cleanliness and wellness. In addition, a white coat is preferred since it shows stains and may indicate when you should change your garments as soon as they become stained. 

Why black and white Uniform?

The colors black and white are well recognized as the colors of the legal profession. However, the color black contains a variety of overtones. It, like any other color, has both positive and negative connotations. On the one side, it represents death, evil, and mystery, but on the other, it means power and authority.

Reasons for choosing black color

The adoption of the black color is due to two reasons which include;

  • At the period, colors and dyes were not easily available. Purple was associated with royalty and was hence the solely available color, leaving black, the only fabric color as a choice.
  • The main reason for wearing a black coat is that it symbolizes power and authority. The black color represents submission. Lawyers wear black to symbolize their submission to justice, much as priests wear black to indicate their submission to God.

White is associated with brightness, goodness, innocence, and purity. The court system is an ordinary man’s sole hope for justice.

As the British rulers influence the Indian legal system, a lawyer must wear a black robe or a black coat with a white neckband on it, according to the Advocate Act of 1961. Both the petitioner and the respondent’s counsel dress in a similar manner. The color’s significance also draws attention to the fact that “LAW IS BLIND.” It is based solely on the weight of the evidence and not on any other aspect.

The Significance

Every individual’s only hope in a court war is a lawyer. Except for a few exceptions, black and white is a universal symbol of the legal profession. Lawyers wear black robes to signify their obedience to the Law. As a result, black is the color of hope, inspiring people to trust the legal system.

A white neckband represents benevolence, innocence, and purity. It symbolizes the legal system in which the average man places his trust. It also reflects the observance of God’s and man’s laws.

Conclusion

The ‘Black Coat,’ like Law, is a source of intrigue and appreciation and a deep sense of empathy for this magical thing. The ‘Dress Code’ reflects the sacredness and devotion of lawyers to judicial institutions while also emphasizing their professional duty. The ‘Dress Code’ isn’t just a status symbol; it also helps Lawyers maintain discipline and provides them the power and self-assurance to fight for justice. Also, it provides lawyers with a distinct personality that distinguishes them from other professionals.

It is critical to dress appropriately in a courtroom because the judicial system is regarded as one of the most respected. Therefore, it is necessary to show respect for it and the people who work in it. Judges in the courtroom can deny a lawyer’s request for an audience if he is dressed inappropriately. As a result, not only lawyers but everyone who works in a courtroom should adhere to a strict ‘Dress Code.’ The primary rule for clothing is to dress modestly. In the courtroom, wearing casual and shabby clothes is deemed disrespectful to the Law.

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