From Thursday, judges in the Subordinate Courts will wear robes when presiding over open court hearings. Currently, they are required only to dress formally. The use of the robe however does not apply to chamber hearings.
It is the first of many initiatives in the pipeline to enhance the standing of the Subordinate Courts. The Subordinate Courts said in a media release on Tuesday that this is consistent with the practice in other jurisdictions, where judges in the first instance courts, like the superior courts, also wear robes.
In January this year during the opening of the Legal year, CJ Menon said the Subordinate Courts have an "unfortunate" name that belies their true importance and that a name change was an idea being considered. He added that he had asked Chief District Judge Tan Siong Thye to consider how their standing could be raised.
CDJ Tan proposed that judges wear robes in open court to improve the courts' standing.