'We look like women': Saudi lawyers refuse black robes

Saudi lawyers oppose call to wear traditional robes to distinguish them from lay people because they are too similar to the abaya

(Photo for illustrative purpose only)

(Photo for illustrative purpose only)

Lawyers in Saudi Arabia are reportedly continuing to oppose a recommendation that they wear black robes during official duties, as is the custom worldwide, because they believe they would look like women.

Lawyers typically wear the full-length black robes, often paired with a white wig, to distinguish themselves from lay people.

But in Saudi Arabia it is also mandatory for women to wear black abayas, which cover their entire bodies from at least the shoulders.

“The obstacle to putting on the gown is basically the refusal of some lawyers who believe it would be like imitating women,” Jeddah lawyer Nazeeh Abdullah Mousa, who supports wearing the robes, was quoted as saying by Makkah, a daily newspaper.

The black robes are worn by lawyers in other Gulf states, although it is not mandatory.

“Such excuses are not accepted and the lawyers should rise well above such ridiculous claims.”

Meanwhile, the Saudi Justice Ministry has granted 20 women licenses to practice law and represent clients in court in a major step forward in the Saudi legal system.

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