The Judiciary of England and Wales today released photographs of the new robes for Court of Appeal and High Court judges which will come into effect on 1 October 2008.
Last July the Lord Chief Justice announced reforms to simplify judicial court working dress in England and Wales. The changes, which include the introduction of a new civil gown, are due to come into effect on 1 October 2008. Fashion designer, Betty Jackson CBE, worked on a pro-bono basis as the design consultant for the new gown.
In the Civil and Family jurisdiction, the Court of Appeal and High Court judges will no longer wear wigs, wing collars and bands when sitting in open court in civil and family proceedings; the new civil robe will be worn.
Circuit Judges sitting as deputy High Court judges will wear the new civil gown. The remainder of the Circuit Bench, in accordance with their current wish, will continue to wear the same gown and tippet less the wig, wing collar and bands.
In civil and family hearings in open court, all other judges will wear the new civil gown.
The design favoured by a judicial working group incorporates coloured bands to identify seniority. The chosen colours are:
In the Criminal jurisdiction, High Court judges will wear a single set of red robes for criminal proceedings throughout the year, rather than different sets of robes for summer and winter. Apart from this there will be no change to court dress worn by judges when sitting in criminal proceedings.