COVID-19: Coronavirus outbreak changes dress code for lawyers while appearing for virtual court hearings! As the Coronavirus outbreak escalated in India, the Supreme Court relaxed the dress code for all advocates as a measure to contain the spread of COVID-19 infection. The website of the Supreme Court of India has provided the notificaition dated 13th May 2020. This circular has been signed by Sanjeev S Kalgaonkar, Secretary General. According to this latest Supreme Court notification related to the dress code of lawyers, all lawyers can now make their appearance in virtual hearings without the mandatory black gown. So, what exactly does this dress code change mean for advocates? Simply put, the advocates do not have to wear their professional black robes during virtual court hearings.
Dress Code changed for advocates in India: What exactly does this mean and what are the changes?
Now, the lawyers can wear plain white-shirts or white salwar kameez/ saree along with a plain white neck band while appearing for the virtual court hearings. The court further said that it has released this after taking some medical advice in consideration and this will remain in practice till further orders. The directions have come into force with immediate effect, the notification stated. Also, copies of the same have been sent to the Supreme Court Bar Association, alongwith five additional copies to display on the Notice Board of the said Bar Association so that members are duly informed.
Dress Code for advocates outside India: What about other countries like US and UK?
While the court has released this circular, lawyers will have to adhere to it until the court releases another order in this regard. Not only India, but the judicial system across countries are following similar protocol. As most of you already know, India’s judicial system is largely attributed to the British and has more in common with it than the US legal system. According to a report by AP, courts in the US also dismissed wearing black robes as the hearings will now happen over calls, as the Coronavirus outbreak has upended the judicial traditions. Meanwhile, in the UK, even before the Coronavirus pandemic came, the lawyers appearing before the highest court in the UK were exempted from wearing the traditional gown as well as the wig.