Barristers' attire for New South Wales courts

Supreme Court of New South Wales (Including Court of Appeal and Court of Criminal Appeal)

On 20 September 2007, the Hon JJ Spigelman AC, chief justice of the Supreme Court of NSW, issued the Attire Policy. This policy aims to ensure barristers appear before the court in attire that meets the court’s expectations.

This policy applies to:

  • barristers appearing in proceedings before the Court of Appeal, Court of Criminal Appeal, Common Law Division, and Equity Division
  • barristers attending ceremonial sittings of the Supreme Court

Download the Supreme Court's Attire Policy in PDF

Sittings at which recently appointed silks take their "bows" before the Court of Appeal (in which case, black bar (silk) robes are worn, without wigs)

Land and Environment Court of NSW

Whether or not robes are worn in a particular matter depends upon the class of the matter, and not the nature of the hearing. Robes but not wigs are worn for all ceremonial sittings. Refer to table that follows.

Type of proceedings


  • Class 3 compensation, encroachment, and boundary claims
  • Class 4 matters
  • Class 5 matters
  • Class 6 matters
  • Class 7 matters
  • Ceremonial sittings

Robes are to be worn, but wigs are not to be worn.

For all other proceedings

Robes and wigs are not to be worn.

Industrial Relations Commission of NSW

Barristers do not wear robes or wigs in this jurisdiction. There is no ceremonial sitting or other event which requires robes or wigs to be worn.

District Court of New South Wales

The District Court has announced that wigs are no longer to be worn in District Court civil matters. Although this is the official policy of the court, the policy is not mandatory upon every judge. Situations may arise where counsel may appear in civil matters before a judge who chooses to wear a wig.

The association has communicated with the court, which has indicated that in these circumstances that it will not be a discourtesy for counsel to appear before the court without a wig, in compliance with the general policy of the court.

Robes should be worn in any civil matter.

Criminal matters: Barristers traditionally wear robes and wigs in the District Court except on chambers matters. Barristers do not wear a wig if the judge appears without a wig at the outset.

Ceremonial occasions: barristers wear robes and wigs; in the case of silk, full bottomed wigs are worn.

Dust Diseases Tribunal

Robes and wigs are worn for the hearing of all matters other than at Directions Hearings and other interlocutory proceedings. The wearing of full-bottomed wigs by silks is reserved for ceremonial occasions.

Administrative Decisions Tribunal

Robes and wigs are not worn in the Administrative Decisions Tribunal including the Appeal Panel.

Drug Court of NSW

Robes and wigs are not worn in the Drug Court of NSW.

Local Court

Magistrates will be robed in Court commencing Monday 5 December 2005.  Practitioners are not to be robed.

Workers Compensation Commission

Robes and wigs are not worn in the Workers Compensation Commission.