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'It’s not me’ –Snr Magistrate on new court rules

- Tamia Richards said bloggers wrongfully accusing her of making the rules
Senior Magistrate Ms Tamia Richards has made it clear to her critics that she is not the one imposing strict rules at the court. Photo: GIS/File
Lawyers appearing in courts in the Virgin Islands are reminded that they must adhere to the dress code. Photo: VINO/File
Lawyers appearing in courts in the Virgin Islands are reminded that they must adhere to the dress code. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Senior Magistrate Tamia Richards on Friday March 20, 2015 set the record straight by informing her court that the recently set ‘strict’ dress code for members of the bar was not her doing and that she also has to comply.

“It’s not me,” said the Senior Magistrate.

“It’s coming from someone way, way higher than me,” Ms Richards said in open court as she noted that the blame is being thrown at here by bloggers on local online news sites. “The bloggers saying Tamia making her own rules but that’s not so, it’s not me.”

New guidelines

Recently, a document was posted on the doors of the courtroom with stipulations that attorneys appearing in court must follow. The court guidelines came into effect on March 1, 2015. It stated in part, “The presiding judge may refuse to hear counsel who is not appropriately dressed for court until and unless that counsel’s attire meets the standard of dress directed in practice note.”

It is clearly stated that the inner blouse/shirts acceptable in the courts are to be solid or pin-striped white; navy blue or dark grey to be worn with suits of black, navy blue and dark grey.

It was the colours worn as inside blouses by two lawyers who appeared at the bar on Friday that prompted the response of the Senior Magistrate. In a very cordial, yet firm tone, she cautioned the two attorneys that the rules of the court must be upheld at all time. She; however, pardoned them for that day and allowed them to go ahead with representations for their clients.

Snr Magistrate not above the rules

Magistrate Richards told the attorneys that she also is not exempted from the newly set rules as for the day in question she had to change what she had initially planned to wear to work as it was “too tight”.

In the light moment of discussing the matter, other members present at the bar said, “Time to go shopping.”

The two who were not dressed in accordance with the set guidelines did apologise to the learned Magistrate for being unacceptably dressed. A female lawyer was wearing a very light green blouse while a male attorney had on a burnt orange inside shirt.

Other stipulations in the new guidelines are that there should be no extravagant designs on clothing, no excessive amount of jewellery, no eyebrow or nose rings and other non-traditional piercing when appearing at the bar.

14 Responses to “'It’s not me’ –Snr Magistrate on new court rules”

  • church goer (23/03/2015, 08:45) Like (6) Dislike (7) Reply
    IM GOING TO START TO GO TO CHURCH WELL DRESS.IF THE LAWYERS MUST GO TO COURT WELL DRESS WELL I SHOULD GO TO CHURCH WELL DRESS . SO CHURCH HERE I COME WELL DRESS AND A CLEAN HEART.
  • No apology (23/03/2015, 09:05) Like (20) Dislike (0) Reply
    Even if the Magistrate was the one who set the rules for her Court, she should not in my own words apologise, once they are not infringing on the rights of the invidual.
  • Well (23/03/2015, 09:07) Like (3) Dislike (6) Reply
    I want to know how come some child father can get locked up for couple hundreds of dollars and those that owe in the thousands are untouched. Now the governor need to do an investigation on that. You all setting standard about appearence, set standard about protocol, instead of the same Magistrates and their staff fighting againist the children to take food out of their mouth. Talk that now...
  • Inquiring Mines (23/03/2015, 09:18) Like (8) Dislike (2) Reply
    It is all good to set standard about appearence,but inquiring mines want to know when is the system going to set standard about protocol when it comes to child support. John public realize that the small man is being hammered greatly with in comes to child support, but the BIG MEN i guess because of their last names in society and also who have FRIENDS inside the magistrate court or the court system are getting away freely. Can somebody anybody address that.
  • i from here (23/03/2015, 11:05) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply

    I think we are more concern about bullying people, abuse of power and speaking to people like they are children!

    Stop trying to be like Judge Judy!

  • vex (23/03/2015, 11:47) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
    No one takes the blame for anything anymore in the bvi
  • Yes (23/03/2015, 11:47) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Its ndp fault den
  • BVI attorney (23/03/2015, 12:29) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    I am not impress by the new rules, attempting to change appearance of attorneys appearing in the magistrate court would not repair the damage of the broken judicial system that has been taken over by rampant corruption and political manipulation, judicial officers are letting down the standards of the judiciary and destroying the confidence of the society, one can not sit down on a decision for aggrieve parties for over 12 months, because these are matters involving the state of which the state is at fault, one can not sit down on decisions for over twelve months because their matters are against certain people who have political connections, that is not justice. There is no justice to be have in these corrupt court in the BVI until the system of governance change. Justice is not a dress code parade, fairness and integrity
    • ok (23/03/2015, 16:28) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      You spoke like an Attorney well done!! However this does not espunged the need for a dress code at our Courts. It seem that you are aggrieved by other issues. This maybe the right moment to speak other members of your Bar (Law) and together find solutions to address them. Remember if the judicial system is broken and the courts are currupt and if you truly are an "Attorney" then you are part of that system.
      • I agree (28/03/2015, 14:39) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        If I chose to have that outlook, like BVI Attorney, what stops others from saying,to hell with a school's dress code, there are bigger issues to deal with, or to heck with my work's uniform such as police or fire, etc because there are bigger issues of corruption, manipulation, etc. Come on now BVI Attorney, this uniform clause is not new, and worldwide lawyers, judges, etc are bound by a dress code deemed fit for the particular situation. No more no less. Why should you be allowed to wear as you please because the system is this and that, follow the rules just like all of us have to at some point in our lives. Stop complicating things.
  • malcom (23/03/2015, 13:25) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    well how come the lady did not rebuke the claims that is she who set the liquer licence rules well who do that .it cannot be that woman who needs to go on retirement from doing such things at the court house.
  • the rock (23/03/2015, 14:11) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    So they need to dress in their church best
  • She (24/03/2015, 21:57) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Too childish needs to mature and is an NDP
  • Really?????? (28/03/2015, 14:41) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    No not there church best, just follow the rules as set out for lawyers worldwide. Here is no different, why is this even an issue? Struppesssss.......


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