What Does Proper Court Attire In Canada Look Like?

In Canada, court attire is very similar to what is worn in England, except that wigs are not worn. Specifically, bar jackets are worn under gowns, and Queen’s Counsel and judges have more elaborate cuffs than other lawyers. Barristers are required to be in gowns for the Courts of Appeal and Superior-level courts of the provinces and territories, unless appearing in Small Claims Court or before Masters.

In some cases, court attire for judges includes having their robes embellished with coloured sashes. For example, Federal Court Judges’ robes are adorned with a gold sash, and Tax Court of Canada Judges’ robes with a purple sash. In order to ensure that their court attire is suitable and properly fitting, most barristers and judges will order tailored, custom robes from a reputable robemaker.

Are Gowns Required For Court?

The Federal Court and the Tax Court of Canada at the general procedure level require barristers to be gowned. Gowns are also required at the Federal Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada. The donning of business attire is acceptable by barristers appearing in chambers, as well as in provincial and territorial courts. Dressing in court attire is permitted, but not often worn, with the exception of Quebec where gowns are standard practice in the Court of Quebec.

When court attire is required, you can expect to see:

 1. Red robes with white fur trim worn by Judges of the Supreme Court of Canada on ceremonial occasions.

 2. Black gowns with white neck band tabs when Supreme Court Judges are hearing cases.

 3. Black gowns, sometimes with a sash and crest, depending on the level of court and the province in which the case is heard.

For barristers, the robes can act as a great equalizer. By having all lawyers wear the same court attire in high level court, it eliminates the potential for bias and judgement based on choice of dress.

Where To Find Custom Robes For Proper Court Attire In Toronto

If you are a lawyers or a judge, it is important for you to have all the required pieces of court attire which can include a waistcoat, robe, wing collar shirt, and tabs. In order to ensure that your legal or judicial attire looks professional, it is worthwhile to invest in custom robes made from high-quality materials that will support your dignified position in court. Harcourts can custom tailor your legal and judicial robes to ensure you receive a perfect fit. We have been the primary supplier of robes for the legal profession for over a century, and continue to maintain our tradition of superior workmanship and tailoring. Contact us to learn more about ordering custom robes.