New robes to set Irish judges apart from UK peers

Sat, Oct 20, 2012, 01:00

From next Tuesday, Supreme Court judges are to wear new robes which will finally distinguish them from their counterparts in the UK.

The traditional black suits and gowns will be replaced by simple black robes with two green bands on the sleeves and a white tab at the neck. Designed by Irish company Signum Ltd and made by French company L’Artisan Costumier in Lyon, which also manufactures the robes for judges of the European Courts of Justice and other continental countries, the new robes will also save the State more than €1,000 per judge, the Courts Service has said.

Up to a year ago, when judges were required to wear wigs, the cost of attire for a newly appointed judge was more than €4,000. Excluding the cost of the wig, the black suits and gowns, which were made in England, cost €1,886 each. The new attire will cost €861.

Chief Justice Mrs Justice Susan Denham said yesterday the current costume was “an outfit rooted in a previous, historical regime”.

“The wigs were introduced at the restoration of the British throne and the costume of black suits and gowns were from such times – when the professions went into mourning for a dead monarch,” she said.