The Lord Chief Justice has handed down a Practice Direction which will introduce the wearing of a new civil robe in civil and family law cases from 1 October 2008. The new civil gown will be worn without a wig.
The Bar Council has published guidance to the court working dress of advocates, which take effect on the same date.
In all proceedings before the House of Lords, the Privy Council and the Court of Appeal, counsel will continue to wear court dress. Where a defendant's liberty is at stake, counsel will also wear court dress. In County Courts court dress will be worn for trials and business suits on all other occasions.
In the Family Courts business suits will be worn except in the course of contested petitions for divorce or annulment of marriages during which counsel will wear court dress. On other occasions, such as applications before masters in chambers and Registrars, business suits will be worn.