Female lawyers are forbidden from wearing revealing clothing including sleeveless shirts or dresses according to a new dress code for advocates of the High Court released today by the Law Society of Kenya (LSK).
LSK Secretary Apollo Mboya and Chairman Eric Mutua said female lawyers should not wear revealing clothes including sleeveless shirts or dresses. However, female lawyers can now wear trouser suits and braid their hair when appearing before Judges, Magistrates and Tribunals.
LSK chairman Eric Mutua said that wearing of culottes, shorts and jeans are not allowed - whether they bare suites or not - skirts must be of dark colours and at least knee length. He added that the hair braids must be neat and held back from the face with a hair band, ribbon or hair grip when appearing before court.
"The braids should not be intertwined with coloured threads or flamboyant so as to bring the legal profession into disrepute," Mutua said.
He said that the LSK Revised Dress Code (2013) prepared by the LSK Council intends to give guidance to practicing advocates in courts and tribunals stating that ; "All manner of flamboyance and garishness must be avoided at all costs...advocates must not appear untidy or unkempt," Mutua said.
Blouses must also be black, charcoal, grey, navy blue or similar colours and may be printed materials of a combination of the colours together with cream and white.
Shoes that expose the toes of both male and female lawyers are banned unless suffering from a feet ailment when sandals can be allowed. Shoes must be black, grey, navy blue or brown.
LSK Secretary Apollo Mboya said the LSK Council revised the dress code following pronouncements on dressing by the Chief Justice that created confusion last year.
"We (LSK Council) visited some courts up country and were shocked that some judicial officers dressed down in jeans and T shirts on Fridays," Mboya said.
Mboya said advocates should not dress down on any day of the week when appearing before a court or tribunal. "Any advocate who appears in court dressed contrary to the new dress code commits a professional misconduct," Mboya said.
He added that the revised dress code has been sent to Chief Justice Dr Willy Mutunga for circulation to judicial officers and the Attorney General Prof Githu Muigai and Director of Public Prosecutions for circulation to State and Prosecution Counsel in their Chambers.
According to the new dress code, male advocates must wear neck ties at all times and never remove coats in court without permission of the presiding Judge or Magistrate.
"The Bench (Judges and Magistrates) should freely give permission to remove their blazers when it is obviously hot or stuffy," Mutua said.
Mboya said that male advocates must not wear kanzus or hats in court but those whose faith require wearing head gear then they should be black, white, grey, navy blue or any dark colour.
"Blazers for male advocates must be of dark colours...pinstriped or played in a combination of dark colours together with white or cream," Mboya said.
Advocates appearing before the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court must wear plain black gowns and plain white colours - wigs are optional.