Symbols of office
judge in full gowns, by Velázquez.
A variety of traditions have become associated with the rank or occupation.
In many parts of the world, judges wear long
robes (often in black or red) and sit on an elevated platform during trials (known as the bench).
American judges frequently wear black robes. American judges have ceremonial
gavels, although American judges have court deputies or bailiffs and
contempt of court power as their main devices to maintain decorum in the courtroom. However, in some of the
Western United States, like California, judges did not always wear robes and instead wore everyday clothing. Today, some members of
state supreme courts, such as the
Maryland Court of Appeals wear distinct dress. In Italy and
Portugal, both judges and lawyers wear particular black robes.
In some countries, especially in the
Commonwealth of Nations, judges wear
wigs. The long wig often associated with judges is now reserved for ceremonial occasions, although it was part of the standard attire in previous centuries. A short wig resembling but not identical to a
barrister's wig (a Bench Wig) would be worn in court. This tradition, however, is being phased out in Britain in non-criminal courts.
Oman, the judge wears a long stripe (red, green white), while the attorneys wear the black gown.
In Portugal and in the former
Portuguese Empire, the judges used to carry a staff that was red for ordinary judges and white for the
judges from the outside.