Robing pilot begins at Central Family Court

From Monday 15 April 2024, in a pilot intended to explore the impact of increased formality in family courts, judges sitting at Central Family Court will wear robes during proceedings. This follows concern about incidents of violent and threatening behaviour experienced by judges and court users.

Unlike in criminal proceedings, robes are not normally worn by judges in family courts.

Judges in the pilot will not wear wigs, and practitioners will not be expected to wear robes. The pilot has been approved by Sir Andrew McFarlane, the President of the Family Division, and it will run for an initial three-month period.

A survey will be conducted before, during and after the pilot to assess if robing makes a difference to family court proceedings. This evaluation will consider the number of behavioural incidents experienced and judges’ perceptions of their own authority and safety.