Female Zimbabwean lawyers who have a penchant for ‘trendy’, colourful, tight-fitting and body-hugging formal-wear while at court premises must certainly consider revisiting their nearest boutique after Chief Justice Luke Malaba announced a ban on the wearing of such apparel including ‘jewellery that is extravagant or excessive’.
The directive, which comes into effect on 1 July 2020, also compels female legal practitioners appearing at the magistrates court to put on skirts of knee-length, or not exceeding three centimetres above the knee.
Through Practice Direction 6 of 2020 (dress code for legal practitioners appearing in the Magistrates Courts), Malaba reiterated the need for legal practitioners to uphold decorum and protect the dignity of all courts.
The punitive measure that will be meted out on would-be violators of the new dress code, Malaba said, is in the subsequent failure by such lady lawyers to get audience before the court, with the presiding magistrate also refusing to hear the legal practitioner until his/her attire is in sync with the set requirements.
“Recognising the need to uphold decorum and protecting the dignity of all courts, counsel are expected to demonstrate good judgment and professional taste in their court attire. In this regard, legal practitioners are required to ensure that their attire is appropriate and in accordance with this practice direction whenever they appear in the Magistrates Courts,” Malaba said.
He also specified that ‘when inner shirts, blouses, or body tops are worn, these must be of acceptable colours which shall be solid or lightly striped’.
The Chief Justice also added that blouses must be closed at the neck.
“Skirts must at least be knee length or not more than three centimetres above the knee. Tight fitting and body-hugging attire is not permissible. Shoes worn by all counsel must be black, dark grey or brown and closed. For female counsel, sling back shoes with closed fronts may be worn. Open toe or peep-toe shoes and sandals are not allowed,” he said.
“Jewellery that is extravagant or excessive should be avoided. Eyebrow rings and nose rings are not permissible in court appearances. Where hosiery is worn, it must be plain. Fish net or other patterned hosiery is not permissible,” said Malaba.
He, however, outlined that unobtrusive jewellery and other accessories may be worn by the lawyers while representing their clients at the magistrates courts.
Additional Reporting: Zwnews