Senior magistrate issues dress code

  • Decline in standards: Juan Wolffe, the Senior Magistrate, has been forced to issue a dress code for the courts (File photograph)

    Decline in standards: Juan Wolffe, the Senior Magistrate, has been forced to issue a dress code for the courts (File photograph)


Defendants in Magistrates’ Court will have to smarten up their act after a style guide was issued by the island’s senior magistrate.

Juan Wolffe said he was forced to issue a dress code for court after a drop-off in standards. Out go clothes that are dirty or have holes and “offensive or inappropriate designs”.

Mr Wolffe has also banned clothes that reveal too much of the chest, stomach, midriff or thighs. The feet have not been forgotten — flip flops, slides or ballet-style slippers are also on the banned list.

Sunglasses can now only be worn in court if they are needed for medical reasons or have prescription lenses.

Mr Wolffe added that tattoos should be concealed if possible and offensive ones must not be on show and “overly conspicuous” jewellery should be avoided.

He also warned that headgear, including hats, scarves, hairnets or nightcaps, hair rollers and do-rags, will not be permitted, unless there are valid medical or religious reasons.

Also on the banned list are sweat pants, leggings, yoga pants, pyjama bottoms, miniskirts, sleeveless shirts and shirts that reveal bare shoulders.

A practice direction from Mr Wolffe issued last week said: “This dress code for members of the public is being implemented as a result of a decline in the appearance of some members of the public who come before the Magistrates’ Court.”

Mr Wolffe warned: “If members of the public fail or refuse to comply with this dress code then they may not be heard by the court and/or they may be required to exit the court — their matter may not be adjudicated upon by the court until such time that they comply with this dress code.”

The move came after people who have attended court over the last few months were warned by magistrates their clothes were not suitable.

People have been singled out for wearing sleeveless shirts, paint-spattered clothing, open-toed shoes and a variety of hats.

Mr Wolffe said it would be up to magistrates to decide if people were not dressed properly. He added they would be more lenient if people appeared from custody and had not been able to change their clothes before they came before a magistrate.

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Published Jan 21, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Jan 21, 2019 at 6:16 am)

Senior magistrate issues dress code

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