Attorneys should smarten court dress. It is with sincere alarm that over the past several months that I have, when appearing in the magistrates court, in Johannesburg, observed attorneys appearing in court most inappropriately dressed. All too often presiding magistrates find it necessary to reprimand practitioners in open court for such disrespectful conduct. One observes attorneys not wearing ties, or not wearing a jacket underneath their robes.

Of greater concern I have even had to wimes colleagues of the fairer gender appearing in court in sun dresses and sandals. This trend seems to be emerging as the norm rather then the exception.  There can, in my mind, be nothing more embarrassing than to be present in open court and witness a colleague being reprimanded not only in the presence of his colleagues but in the presence of members of the public for inappropriate attire. Apart from being disrespectful to the presiding omcer and to the dignity of the court, where juslice must at all times be seen to be done, it undermines the integrity of our profession in the eyes of the public.

I therefore not only appeal to all colleagues to ensure they are appropriately dressed for court appearances at all times, I suggest that perhaps the time has arrived for us to insist on a uniform dress code for all court appearances. This suggestion came up for much discussion and debate some years back but the issue was shelved in favour of us retaining the present status quo. Perhaps it is now necessary for this issue to be revisited in the fervent hope that a uniform dress code is implemented. Being attired smartly in a dignified manner, makes us as professionals feel smart, and when we feel smart we will perform our duties in a smart, competent and professional manner. Above all, the dignity of our courts and integrity and image of our profession must be maintained at all costs, and we as oiiicers of the court have a dutytoenhance that dignity.

Leslie Kobrln, attorney

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