This Article is written by Tejal.
Table of Contents
Dress code and maintaining a code of conduct is a mark of discipline, a symbol of confidence and a mark of the profession, a significant part of an individual’s behaviour for being a professional. The equilibrium between sustaining the court’s decorum & allowing freedom in a person’s lifestyle is mainly defined in a litigator’s dress code. The professional background commonly is symbolised by a set of rules for dressing in terms of mode, colour. A lawyer’s dress code in India is regulated by the Bar Councill of India Rules according to the Advocates Act, 1961, which makes it compulsory for every lawyer to carry a black coat or robe with a formal white shirt accompanied by a white neckband. As per section 49(1) (gg) of the Advocates Act, 1961 obligates it for “advocates” to wear bands. Lawyers acquire a license from the Bar Council of India or for that matter State Bar Council.
ORIGIN OF UNIFORM
The formal black and white uniform that is adorned by the legal professionals have a history of not being as black and white as the uniform itself. It goes back to the Middle Ages where advocates were also known as solicitors, barristers or councillors, their dress code was similar to that of the judge’s back then. In Britain, barristers carried gowns with stuffed shoulders and elbow-length glove sleeves. The gown is black in colour and the rules of Inns of Court was authorised for conducting barrister education and membership. In the 17th century countries decided the dress code of legal experts as per their taste and preferences. In 1602, the dress code of judges and lawyers were fixed as per the Royal mandate which individualised the fabric, colour & length of the gowns and dresses of judges, advocates and clerks.
The reason behind choosing black and white as the uniform for legal professionals is because Black and White is a representation of the legal profession all over the world barring a small number of exceptions. The colour black commonly has various distinct overtones. Like all the other colours, it has both positive as well as negative subtexts. Here, one side of it indicates evil, mystery and death and the other side indicates authority and strength. The colour black was preferred for two bases. At the outset, dyes and colours were not voluntarily accessible back then. Violet signified royalty, & therefore leaving black as the only option. On the other hand, the primary reason behind wearing a black coat is because it is the colour of power and authority. The colour signifies submission of oneself. Legal professionals wear black to represent their submission to Justice. Whereas, the colour white denotes purity, goodness, light and innocence. As the judiciary is the way for justice for a common man, the white colour represents the same. As we know that the Indian Legal system is persuaded by its British Rulers because of their reign, the aforementioned action for advocates makes it compulsory for an advocate to wear black. The counsels for both sides – Petitioner and Respondent have a similar dress code. The reason for that being “law does not differentiate, it only decides on the basis of evidence and not any other aspect.
LAW AND ETHICS
The legal line of work and ethics are directly related. One behaviour and conduct to a specific set of professional rules and norms is a significant aspect of this profession. The code of conduct can be written or unwritten. The chief objective of ethics in the field of advocacy is to sustain the integrity and dignity of the legal profession. It is not just the litigators, but also the responsibility of the judges to have an understanding of legal ethics and code of conduct so that the functionality of courts is maintained. The legal vocation has been formed by the state to fulfill the litigatory requirements of the public. Therefore, it is considered a profession and not a type of business. Accordingly, there are three essential bases of legal moral principles that provides and insight into the core of the legal profession:
- The organisation of its members in a way for the representation of their function;
- Sustaining specific standards at both ethical and intellectual level to protect the dignity of the vocation.
- Pecuniary growth should be sub-ordinate with the interest of the clients.
DISCREPANCIES BETWEEN PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT AND PROFESSIONAL ETHICS
There is an essential difference between professional conduct and professional ethics. The key difference is the obligation to be pursued by a member of the profession. When it comes to professional conduct, it refers to steps or acts taken as per contractual powers or statutory obligation. The obligation mentioned here is a lawful obligation. Whereas, when it comes to professional ethics, one is projected to follow a moral responsibility.
The temperament of the legal ethics discloses that it is supremely mandated on the other hand the language of the Code as per Advocate Act, 1961 makes it clear that lawyers owe a duty to Bar, bench and their clients along with opposite counsels in the court. The entire point of having codified legal moral principles is to complicate advocates to sustain the dignity of the court. Additionally, it protects the management of clients. The legal field has a great covenant with appearance. It is significant that the Lawyer can attain the trust of his/her client, the judges and the Jury as well. In accumulation to being a visual direction for members of the legal vocation to that of their peers, the representation of judges and other legal professionals in their occupational uniform for society hark backs the public of the gravity and dignity of the legal system, & the neutrality of the system. It further acts as a mask to protect barristers, judges and other legal professionals outside the courts and acts as a tool for understating differences in gender and age. In the modernizing and upgrading world of legal practice, an elevated standard of code of conduct and ethics accompanied with the precise dress code represents the system of the judiciary in a constructive and affirming position and sets an example of discipline and restorative justice system.