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Legal dress changes in the Supreme Court 24/12/2011 Advocates appearing before the UK Supreme Court or the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council may, by agreement, now dispense with any or all of the elements of traditional court dress

Legal dress changes in the Supreme Court

Advocates appearing before the UK Supreme Court or the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council may, by agreement, now dispense with any or all of the elements of traditional court dress, according to Lord Phillips, President of the Supreme Court.

A practice has already been adopted in family cases under which advocates customarily appear unrobed. The UKSC/JCPC User Group, which represents professional users of the Court, had asked whether this option can be extended to advocates in other cases, and the Justices have agreed.

They believe that the change will further underline the Court’s commitment to providing an appropriate environment for considered discussion of legal issues, and is in line with the Court’s goal to make this process as accessible as possible.

The Justices of the Court do not wear legal dress themselves and have decided not to impose this obligation on advocates appearing before them. In future, provided that all the advocates in any particular case agree, they may communicate to the Registrar their wish to dispense with part or all of court dress. The Court will normally agree to such a request.

It is anticipated that while some advocates will not wish to take advantage of this dispensation, others may prefer to reduce their legal dress to a simple gown, or to appear without legal dress at all.

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