lord chancellor's breakfast
Lord Chancellor's Breakfast. Westminster. Westminster Abbey, London SW1P 3PA.
To mark the October start of the legal year, numerous judges, robed in their full court dress, attend a service at Westminster Abbey. They then process on foot to the Houses of Parliament, where they are entertained with a light breakfast by the Lord Chancellor.
The custom dates back to the middle ages, with its roots in the religious practice of judges praying for guidance at the beginning of the legal term. Before the 16th century it was customary for those taking communion to fast for some hours beforehand. The Lord Chancellor's hospitality enabled the judges to break this fast before going into court.
The full court dress varies, reflecting the categories of judge. The most elaborate are the High Court Judges who wear the traditional full-bottom wig, the furred scarlet robe (with scarf, girdle and tippet) with a matching hood and mantle. Underneath, breeches are worn with stockings and buckled shoes. The Circuit Judges wear a less elaborate violet robe with lilac facings.