Baku hosts the World Advocates’ Robes and Attributes Exhibition

On the eve of the professional holiday, December 28 – “Advocate’s day”, on the initiative of the Azerbaijani Bar Association and with the support of the Ministry of Culture, the Museum Center has hosted the opening ceremony of the exhibition “World Advocates’ Robes and Attributes” organized by the Law Bureau “Kamandar Nasibov and Partners” (KNP).

The exhibition features advocates’ and judges’ robes and attributes from different countries, which are a personal collection of the “KNP” Law Bureau, informs. In addition, medals, orders, badges, stamps and banknotes on the history of advocacy and justice, belonging to the rich personal collection of Chairman of the Khatai District Court of Baku Rashid Rzayev were displayed at the exhibition.

With the support of the Bar Association of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the “Museum of World Advocates’ Robes and Attributes”, a symbol of the history of World Advocacy, was established in the “KNP” Law Bureau and advocates’ robes (gown) were brought from different countries. The robes in the museum were obtained as a result of the support and efforts of Bar Associations of different countries, Azerbaijani Embassies operating abroad and our compatriots living abroad. The museum will be an important source of information for young lawyers and students. An exhibition of “World Advocates’ Robes and Attributes” is being held at the Museum Center between 17 to 29 of December. In the future, it is planned to establish a free and permanent Museum of Advocates’, Judges’ Robes and Advocacy attributes.

The collection began with an advocates’ gown and the badge presented to Kamandar Nasibov by the Chinese Bar Association at the International Bar Conference in Guangzhou, China in December 2019. By the end of 2021, 70 advocates’ and judges’ robes were collected from different countries in a severe pandemic situation. However, negotiations are underway with the Bar Associations of foreign countries and in the future the number of advocates’ robes will represent more than 100 countries. The museum will also house the judges’ robes from different countries.
Along with robes, advocacy attributes are also on display at the exhibition.

Judges, prosecutors and advocates who are considered to be the foundation of the modern justice system, usually wear robes (Cübbə in Azerbaijani language) in court proceedings. The word “cübbə” is of Arabic origin and means a long-sleeved, wide, buttonless garment worn over the top. The word “mantiya” of Greek origin has the same meaning.
Given that the word “advocate” (also a judge) is of Arabic origin, in the future it is more appropriate to use the term “vəkil cübbəsi” instead of “vəkil mantiyası”, which means “advocates’ robe” in English. The word “cübbə” is also widely used in Turkish speaking countries.

Robes, which are predominantly black in color, are considered to be a symbol of conscience and impartiality, rather than an ordinary form of clothing. The fact that there is no color in black represents justice. For this reason, we can easily see that black is preferred among advocates’ robes.
When we look at the history of the advocates’ robes, we can see that it has gone through many stages. The robe first appeared in ancient Rome, where lawyers and advocates wore black to attract the attention of the upper class.

In medieval Germany, attitudes toward advocacy, one of the most reliable professions today, were different. Influential lawyers with no legal education provided paid legal services to illiterate people in litigation and in offices. In 1726, a decree was passed forcing lawyers to wear robes (gowns). The resolution stated: “Lawyers must wear a knee-length black robe.
In other European countries, France and England, between 1574 and 1715 lawyers were organized in the form of a union and a person had to take an oath, wear a special wig and a robe.
Unfortunately, in the past centuries, as well as in the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic and the former USSR advocates did not have special clothing.

As part of the judicial and legal reforms carried out in Azerbaijan under the leadership of national leader Heydar Aliyev during the independence period, the first Law of the Republic “On Advocates and Advocacy” was adopted on December 28, 1999. According to the Article 6 of the Law, distinguished by its progressive provisions, advocates of the Republic of Azerbaijan must attend court hearings in special attire. Approval of the description of the uniform is entrusted to the General Meeting of the Bar Association. Further, the Order of President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev dated 11.03.2005 “On measures to improve the material and technical support of the Bar Association of the Republic of Azerbaijan” instructed to allocate funds for the preparation of special uniforms for advocates.

Taking into account the above-mentioned, the Presidium of the Bar Association prepared an appropriate sample robe researching matters such as history, purpose, general form, colors used and application procedures of the robe and demonstrated it to advocacy organizations in order to receive opinions and suggestions. After receiving feedback from the advocates, the general meeting of the Bar Association held on April 8, 2006 approved the uniform clothing (“cübbə”) we use today. As mentioned, our black robe, a symbol of conscience and impartiality, is made of black satin, has a collar and a cuff made of green satin and the edges are bordered with a thin gold stripe. On the collar of the robe is a symbol “buta”, which glorifies the land of fires, which is our national ornament, as well as olive branches symbolising peace and reconciliation.

Another point about colors is that the green color symbolizes hope. Speaking at the exhibition, Chairman of the Presidium of the Bar Association of the Republic of Azerbaijan Anar Bagirov said that this wide collection will be of great interest to our lawyers, court and law enforcement officers, young lawyers and the local and foreign legal community in general: “ In the Order of President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev dated 22.02.2018 “On additional measures on development of advocacy in the Republic of Azerbaijan”, a strong and influential advocacy institution is of great importance for the implementation of the rights of citizens to receive high quality legal services, reliable protection of human rights and effective functioning of justice”.

The attention and care paid to advocacy by the head of state, as well as other legislative acts, are the high value given to our activities, the great confidence shown by the President. In order to increase the prestige of advocacy, the members of the Bar Association carry out their law enforcement activities in the courts with a sense of pride, wearing this special dress, which is distinguished by its beauty and harmony of colors. One of the contributions made by Kamandar Nasibov, one of the well-known advocates of Azerbaijan, to the development and enhancement of the reputation of advocacy is the creation of a large collection, or rather a museum, by collecting the robes of foreign countries. Although the first and only museum in the world with a robe is located in France, we can say with confidence that this museum organized by the law bureau “Kamandar Nasibov and Partners”, will always be at the top with the number of exhibits, storage conditions and richness.