Lord Chancellor’s Breakfast 2015


Who goes to the Lord Chancellor’s Breakfast?


I did not spot Michael Gove. The justices of the Supreme Court OK, then the High Court judges in partly red dress, the circuit judges in partly lavender. Then come some in black. I suppose some are recorders. Opinions are put forward in the crowd – for example, one man said ‘if they have the long wigs, they are judges, if not, they aren’t yet’. Or do not all judges buy the full-bottomed ones, or recorders not wear them? And who are those in long red robes? and are there mere barristers? Some of the people are what are known as wives.



At Stanley Ley’s site you can see the full-bottomed wig, the judge’s bench wig, and the barrister’s wig.

Joshua Rozenberg wrote that though 1,000 go to the service, only about half are invited to the breakfast. This explains the more plainly clad persons heading off to the right.

Who are these?


And these?


I think there must have been academics there in academic gowns, and also clerics.

LATER NOTE: At gettyimages are some pictures of judges in new robes in October 2008.
Here is a description in words.

The ones with blue bits are district judges – they would not be wearing wigs in open court.

And Wikipedia says:

On special ceremonial occasions (such as the opening of the legal year), QCs wear (in addition to their court coat, waistcoat and silk gown) a long wig, black breeches, silk stockings and buckled shoes, lace cuffs and a lace jabot instead of bands.

I didn’t realize QCs wear long-bottomed wigs. So the ones in the top pictures are QCs.


There is something about the service on the Westminster Abbey site. They also have a series of photos including one of Michael Gove reading a lesson. But some of the Supreme Court justices weren’t wearing wigs either (they don’t when they’re sitting).

7 thoughts on “Lord Chancellor’s Breakfast 2015

  1. Another year comes and goes and another raft of Lord Chancellor’s breakfast mysteries. To try and answer seriatim the queries raised:

    1. Opinions are put forward in the crowd – for example, one man said ‘if they have the long wigs, they are judges, if not, they aren’t yet’. – almost: QC’s – Queen’s Counsel, maybe soon to metamorphose into King’s Counsel, wear long wigs. Note that Ley as in Stanley means law in Spanish. Even more trivially, I once knew an argumentative English barrister called N. Ley who, 15 years ago, wanted to start a Barristers’ Trade Union, but was voted down. Some of us thought he had a point when it came to wiping out the Legal Aid budget in the UK.

    2. Or do not all judges buy the full-bottomed ones, or recorders not wear them? – Yes. The latter (Barristers, Solcitors and as well as London Bar School Deans) do https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recorder_%28judge%29

    3. And who are those in long red robes? – is the new attire for civil- vs. criminal appeal High Court judges – not bishops in this case.

    4. and are there mere barristers? – see 1. Not really. Supposed to be QCs only invited.

    5. Some of the people are what are known as wives – more pertinently, WAGs/wives and girfriends, to use the footballing vernacular of those Appeal Court Judges who are supporters of Chelsea FC, Crystal Palace and QPR and who shall remain nameless.

    Last trivia: I know for definite that QCs sign an oath to ‘advise and counsel the reigning Monarch when called upon to do so’: I would wager that not a single one at the Breakfast actually has.

      • Thank you. That is not widely shown online. I found a picture in a Sharman Law Legal Update of 2012. It seems that scrivener notaries wear blue robes with fur trim – I don’t think I saw any of those.

  2. Well spotted, Margaret. But High Court Judges e.g. in (civil) chambers (previously known as Masters and Mistresses in Chambers, disposing pre-2008 of different types of cases) do not wear a wig https://www.judiciary.gov.uk/about-the-judiciary/who-are-the-judiciary/court-dress/examples/

    I was half-anticipating a come-back from Silks wearing my old school tie from mid-Surrey on my vacuous QC oath swipe. But I suppose duty of confidence prevails.

  3. I understand that foreign judges are also invited to the Lord Chancellor’s Breakfast; perhaps the more unfamiliar robes (such as in the second-to-last image) could be from other countries?

  4. I’ve done a bit of image searching but on reflection I think these are academic gowns. You see there is a tan and sea-green hood hanging at the back. The judges’ robes don’t have hoods. For example, the PhD hoods of the University of Sunderland – and Nottingham, and probably elsewhere – look similar, though you can’t see the rest of the gown.

    I see that site mentions Ede & Ravenscroft. I think I should take the pictures to Ede & Ravenscroft in Chancery Lane and they would tell me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.