Black Robes For Advocates – A Sneak Peak Into The History

The dress code for advocates, lawyers and judges across the world is a combination of Black and White except for some. Black color has two sides both positive and negative implications.

Black Robes For Advocates

During the medieval era, the judges wore two colors, green and violet, in summer and winter respectively. But, the summer robes slowly vanished making way for black and violet robes. This history of black robes dates back over centuries to the age of Edward III in 1327. The legal system during that times included the Judges, sergeants, students, benchers, pleaders and Barristers. While the Sergeants practiced from St. Paul’s and wore the coiffure wig on heads, the Judges wore English Judicial costumes. The costumes of the English Judiciary are known to be in existence for over six centuries. In the year 1340, the legal profession in England was divided but even after the public opposed the length of the robes, but Lawyers decided against public and went ahead with long robes.

The Indian legal system influenced by the British, obviously so, made it compulsory for the lawyers to wear a Black coat or Robe alongside a white neck band on top of it in the year 1961 through the advocates act. As per the Section (49) (gg) of this act advocates need to wear the black robe irrespective of their seniority.

Black robe has a lot of significance in the legal field. It is an epitome of discipline as well as renders a sense of seriousness to the identity of Advocates. Even the white neck band also has a significance and has two strips of white cloth joined to make one band that signifies ‘Tablets of Stone’ or ‘Tablets of the Laws’. These tables also have a meaning. They are known to have been uses by Moses who received them on Mt Sinai from a burning bush and inscribed the Ten Commandments. They are also known to depict the upholding of laws of God as well as men.

The Indian as we all know has a great influence of the British as they ruled us for over 200 years. The Indian legal system also continues to follow the same black robe with white neckband on the top standard.

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Gone are the times when pursuing a career in law was a legacy affair. Today, law has opened up umpteen avenues and hence students are quite willing to foray into law as a career choice after 12th. These days there are a lot of opportunities in giant corporate houses knocking doors. It has also increased the influx in admission in law courses. Moreover there are colleges that offer integrated courses in law, viz. the benefit of two degrees under one single course. For example BA LLB BCOM LLB BBA LLB. These are 5 year integrated courses that offer undergraduate degrees in Arts, Commerce and Business alongside a degree in Law as well. It also includes an internship program of 20 weeks

Thus multiplying the opportunities as well as scope of work.

To get yourself a seat in a law colleges you need to crack the codes called LSAT and CLAT. After you clear the entrance is when you are eligible for a Law seat as per your scores in a law college. All the government and state based colleges organize these entrance exams.

Selecting a good college with state of the art infrastructure is a preliminary and important task. There are many colleges in India and Karnataka that offer courses in Law. But, do check for the infrastructure of the college, the amenities and facilities, the ranking on a national and state level basis as well as the placement assistance they offer. It’s always a good idea to short list and try and visit the colleges personally to check them out yourself rather than relying on a word of mouth. For people looking to study away from their natives, need to also look at commuting and residence provisions. Also, take into account the needs of the future as in what is your ultimate goal viz if you are going to look for a job after the course or opt for higher education in India or abroad. While deciding or narrowing down upon the college keep these points in mind.

Ultimately, before you choose law as a career make sure that you are really passionate about it and not taking it up under any kind of influence or pressure because you can only excel in your career or a field you choose, only if you are really passionate about it.

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