A court dress consultation was conducted in 2003 but the results have not been published. If the reforms go forward, likely changes include the getting rid of wigs in civil courts (but keeping them in the criminal courts), and making the dress of barristers and solicitor-advocates identical. A review in 1992 led to no significant changes, and it is possible (though unlikely) that the new review may have the same result.
Scottish court dress is very similar to English court dress, but there are notable differences. For example, Scottish advocates wear morning coats instead of lounge suits under their gowns, and wear white bow ties instead of bands. QCs and judges wear long scarf-like ties instead of bands.
Scottish judicial robes are also different from English ones.
Court dress in many jurisdictions in Commonwealth realms such as Australia and the Caribbean is identical to English court dress. Many African countries that were formerly British colonies similarly continue to wear the dress, white wigs and all.
In Canada court dress is identical, except that wigs are not worn.
In New Zealand court dress was simplified in 1996. Judges and counsel wear black gowns on most occasions, and wigs and bar jackets (for counsel) are only worn on ceremonial occasions. No gowns are worn by the Judges of the Supreme Court of New Zealand, on a false analogy with the Law Lords of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.
Court Dress in the United States
Some judges eschew special dress entirely and preside over their courts in normal business wear "Professional" (lounge suits) attire is the norm for attorneys appearing in court, although with the gradual increase in the number of women admitted to the bar in the past half-century the term has been of necessity subject to some re-definition.
The most significant exception to the practice of non-ceremonial court dress is the United States Solicitor General. When the Solicitor General (or one of his assistants) argues a case before the Supreme Court of the United States, he (or she) wears late 19th century style dress, with striped trousers, grey ascot, waistcoat, and a cutaway morning coat, making him (or her) a very distinct sight in the courtroom.
Related terms and definitions: