, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 23 – The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) has released a dress code for practicing advocates of the High Court.
LSK secretary Apollo Mboya and chairman Eric Mutua said female lawyers should not wear revealing clothes such as sleeveless shirts or dresses.
However, female lawyers can now wear trouser suits and spot braided hair when appearing before judges, magistrates and tribunals.
“Female advocates are allowed to braid or plait their hair as long as the hair-do lends to the dignity of the profession,” the code says.
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,” the society said.
Wearing of culottes, shorts and jeans are not allowed. Skirts must be of dark colour and at least knee length.
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.
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 upcountry and were shocked that some judicial officers dressed down in jeans and T-shirts on Fridays,” Mboya said.
He 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 professional misconduct,” Mboya said.
Mutua said that the LSK Revised Dress Code (2013) prepared by the LSK council intends to give guidance to practicing advocates in courts and tribunals.
“All manner of flamboyance and garishness must be avoided at all costs…advocates must not appear untidy or unkempt,” Mutua said.
Mboya said that the revised dress code has been sent to Chief Justice Willy Mutunga for circulation to judicial officers, the Attorney General 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 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 should ensure they’re black, white, grey, navy blue or any dark colour.
“Blazers for male advocates must be of dark colours, pinstriped or plaid 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.