A black coat & white coat dressing always brings to our mind the professionals aspiring law. This dressing makes a lawyer or an advocate distinct from the others. But then why Black & White only in this world full of colours is something that can come to our mind. The black coat and white coat dressing derives its origin from the 17th century.  It runs back to the time when Queen Mary II passed away due to smallpox in 1694. Her widower the bisexual King William III ordered all the judges and lawyers to wear black gowns as a token of public mourning. This ordered was never revoked. Later lawyers adopted and liked the practice of wearing the uniform as it gave them a distinct identification in the court of law. So we can rightly say that this culture developed from Britain and since the Britishers ruled a large part of the world the culture spread all over the world.

In India, the courts have upheld the traditions of wearing black and white. The Advocates Act 1961 makes it mandatory for advocates appearing in the Supreme courts, High courts, Subordinate courts, Tribunals or Authorities to wear a dress that is sober and dignified and from then India has been following the British constitution and was never changed even after the British left. This dress code is not merely a status symbol but however enables to bring out discipline among the lawyers and also gives the strength and confidence to fight for justice.  It also gives the lawyers and distinct personality from other professionals.

The colour black also symbolize authority and power and so is the colour of defence. It’s also is a colour of submission to justice and the colour white symbolizes purity and innocence. In India the male judges wear white shirts and trousers with a white neck band and a black coat whereas the female judges normally prefer wearing the traditional sari along with a white neck band and a black coat.

The male lawyers in Indian can wear (i) A black buttoned up coat , chapkan, achkan, black sherwani and white bands along with the Advocates Gown, or (ii) A black open breast coat, white shirt, white collar, stiff or soft, and white bands along with Advocates’ Gowns in any of the cases they can wear long trousers (white, black striped or grey) or dhoti but not jeans.

Females can wear either (i) Full sleeve jacket or blouse in black, white collar stiff or soft, with white bands along with Advocates Gowns (ii) White blouse, with or without collar, with white bands, a black open breast coat and Advocates’ Gowns or (iii) Churidar Kurta (Punjabi dress) or Salwar-Kurta with or without dupatta (white or black) or traditional dress with white bands, a black coat and Advocates’ Gowns or (iv) A Sari or long skirt (white or black or any mellow or subdued colour without any print or design) or flare (white, black or black stripped or grey) with white bands, a black coat and Advocates’ Gowns.

Law has a lot to do with appearance.  It is necessary that the lawyer is able to gain the trust of the client the judges and the jury. It is righty said that the first impression is not the last but instead the lasting impression and so it is essential that the professional dressing enables a lawyer to gain that trust and faith from the client, the judges and fellow lawyers, jury and the society at large.

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