Wondering Why?

Why Do Judges Wear Black Robes?

Why Do Judges Wear Black Robes?

We often see judges wearing black robes in court. This is already a tradition because judges are supposed to be persons of dignity. They must be respected because they carry with them important decisions. With the heavy role they play, they need to look dignified and honorable.

Black robes symbolize aristocracy and nobility. When you wear a robe, it means that you are knowledgeable and educated. In British history, people who wear robes were considered to be men of higher position. The robe doesn’t need to be black as what other judges in some parts of the world use to wear. Wearing the black robe just started when the judges in England attended the funeral of Queen Mary. Since black symbolizes mourning, the judges wore black to show that they are also in great grief. After that, the judges had been known to wear black robes. This tradition spread in some parts of the world so the custom of wearing black robe was also adopted by other countries.

There was an attempt before to change the costume of the judges to formal suits but former US president John Adams had fought for keeping British tradition of wearing black robes in the court to give respect for the long-time custom. From then on, wearing of black robes had been accepted as part of the court practice.

Now, black robes are simpler and plain. Other countries have other colors as lining while others even wear wigs just like what the judges wear during the 18th century.

A robe also symbolizes the power of the law and its neutrality. The black also symbolizes the people who are seeking for justice. Black is an image of grief which is what the people seeking for justice feels. Black also means that an event is solemn. Judges consider the court precedence as a solemn event that deserves silence and respect.

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