Cameroon: Professional Robes – An Identity Worth Protecting

The dust raised by the warning letter addressed to lawyers who visited a political leader while in robes is yet to settle tells of the value that surround this prestigious gown.

It was with mixed feelings that some men of law reacted to the warning letter issued by the President of the Cameroon Bar Association, Barrister Charles Tchakoute Patie to lawyers vigorously condemning unethical conducts epitomised by the careless use of professional robes. The letter followed the publication of a picture that went viral on social media and other media organs showing some lawyers posing in their professional robes with the President of the Cameroon Renaissance Movement. Lawyers according to their code of ethics, the letter recalled, are expected to wear their robes only during well defined occasions, during court sessions, official ceremonies or public demonstrations as a corporate body. In that letter, Barrister Tchakoute underscored that the Bar is an independent entity and not a political party, consequently it has nothing to do with political parties or leaders. Whereas some lawyers and ordinary Cameroonians attempted to give the letter of the President of the Bar Association a political colouring, the dark gown with a white strip on the chest worn by men and women of law remains a veritable identity for the profession. The respect those who wear it give to the robe is the same respect those who are simple observers give to it. In effect, this couldn’t have been otherwise considering the long and slippery road lawyers go through to be awarded robes. Cases abound where some go through years of training and end up without being awarded this prestigious wear . Like any other profession, this robe that is painstakingly acquired needs to be honoured and protected. That is why one sees many lawyers just coming out of court quickly remove the robe and hang either on their shoulders or on the inner part of their elbows. The concern over any improprieties that could surround the legal profession cannot be inappropriate considering the important role lawyers play in promoting justice and consequently peace in society. Lawyers are society’s advocates and advisors. According to the Supreme Court Chief Justice of Australia, Justice Spigelman, “Lawyers perform a critical role in the promotion of social order by the administration of the law in a manner which answers the fundamental requirements of justice, namely fair outcomes arrived by fair procedures.” Its unimaginable what would happen if they were no lawyers at all in society. Individuals would be compelled to undertake research on law and previous judicial decisions in order to understand how those decisions and laws apply to their circumstances. And judgments passed thereof would rather be largely inaccurate.


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Publish date : 2019-10-24 09:10:51

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