Are Judges Required to Wear Robes?

Bench, witness stand, chambers, jury box, and gavel – these are the common things one can see in a courtroom. And another typical sight to behold? A judge wearing a distinguished black robe.

We typically expect to see judges wearing their judge robes during court proceedings. Is there such a law or order for the judges to wear robes, specifically black robes in the court?

Why Judges Wear Black Robes in the Court

So, back to the question, are judges following a certain rule from a handbook regarding the wearing of black robes in the court? The answer to the question is remarkably – No. According to a popular claim in the history, the tradition of wearing black robes started during the death of Queen Mary II of England in 1694. The judges wore the black robe as a sign of their mourning. Over the years the tradition has extended and eventually became the normal standard among the court judges.

The American judges have followed with the English tradition of wearing black robes. The tradition has been carried on to date and even the judges from most of the countries around the world wear the same simple plain black robe.

Over the years the black robe has become symbolic among the judges. It is somehow a reminder about their common responsibility to uphold justice. The black robe has also helped set an air of authority and decorum in the courtroom.

How Judges Style Their Robes in the Courtroom

Judges can be pickier when it comes to choosing the robe to wear in the court. Still, they have the unspoken rule of following the traditional norm of wearing black robes. Despite the seemingly uniform and plain looks of their robe, they are actually able to make changes and customize their robes based on what they perceive is more comfortable for them – provided they don’t deviate too far from the simple plain black robe.

There are many reasons why a certain judge may alter the style of his or her judicial robe. Some find the bell sleeves of the traditional robe too large or they feel the robe is to plain it needed to be pleated to add some fun. Some also opt to add functionality to their work attire by adding zippers, more buttons, and extra pockets. Furthermore, to add some sense of style, some judges also prefer to incorporate ornamental black braids and trimmings to their court robes.
The good news today is that there are already a number of tailor shops and stores available which are specialized in making customized judiciary robes. Judges now have easy access to these shops where they can order robes tailored to their preferences. They can simply choose the style, fabric type and sizing. They can even order what they need from the comfort of their home, with just the Internet and their mobile phones. Today, finding the right and comfortable robe should be easier.

It goes without saying that these judges have one of the most stressful and toughest professions in the world, so they simply deserve to wear the most comfortable black robe they can get.