Charcoal Is The New Black
Tipstaves (formerly known as both court messengers and court criers) have been a fixture in courts since 1880, charged with various duties including the making of proclamations for the opening and adjournment of the court, the swearing in of witnesses and the maintenance of proper order throughout court sittings.
For the last 50 years these stalwarts of the court have added a regal dimension to court proceedings, donning their traditional green frock coat outfit and displaying awarded military ribbons or citations on their jackets. Anyone entering the County Court in 2017 may be wondering where these men and ladies in green have gone, as 2016 marks the end of an era. The traditional green frock coat outfit previously worn by Tipstaves will be replaced with a charcoal suit embellished with the Lady of Justice logo, consistent with the County Court’s move towards being a more modern and accessible Court.
The colour green was chosen for County Court Tipstaves as it identified a person who was in service to the State of Victoria. Legend has it that the green material was sourced from extraneous material leftover from the uniforms produced for the tram inspectors of the day. The uniform change is welcomed by our Tipstaves, who have worn the current green uniform since the late 1960s.
Practitioners and court users will be able to identify the new uniform by the inclusion of the Lady of Justice logo on the front left side together with the gold crowns on the lapels. Tipstaves who have been awarded military ribbons or citations will continue to display these embellishments on their jackets.
Following the change, the green uniforms will be incorporated into a recycling program through the National Rotary Australia Donations in Kind project which is run by volunteers. The clothing is distributed to many countries including Timor Leste, South Sudan, Malai, Cambodia, Nepal and Sri Lanka and is a cost effective way to help people in developing countries.