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How do I address a Judge?

Depending on the court in which the judge presides, there are specific forms of address for different members of the judiciary. This involves following certain protocols when addressing them in correspondence and in court.

Heads of Division

There are five Heads of Division:

  • Lord Chief Justice
  • Master of the Rolls
  • President of the Queen’s Bench Division
  • President of the Family Division
  • Chancellor of the High Court

As they are Privy Counsellors (members of the British Crown’s private council), they should be addressed by their judicial titles, prefixed by ‘The Right Honourable’. For example, correspondence should be directed to:

The Right Honourable

The Lord Chief Justice

Correspondence should begin with ‘Dear Lord Chief Justice/Chief Justice’ and they should be verbally addressed in court as ‘My Lord’ or ‘My Lady’.

Court of Appeal Judge

Court of Appeal Judges are also Privy Counsellors and are known as Lord Justices. Correspondence should be directed to:

The Right Honourable Lord Justice [surname]; or
The Right Honourable Lady Justice [surname] DBE

Correspondence should begin with ‘Dear Lord/Lady Justice’ and they should be addressed verbally as ‘My Lord’ or ‘My Lady’ in court.

High Court Judges

High Court Judges are not usually Privy Counsellors and, as such, correspondence should be addressed as:

The Honourable Mr Justice [surname] or
The Honourable Mrs Justice [surname], irrespective of whether she is married or single

Correspondence should begin with ‘Dear Judge’ and, as with Court of Appeal Judges, they should be addressed verbally as ‘My Lord’ or ‘My Lady’ in court. Please note that if a particular High Court Judge does happen to be a member of the Privy Council, correspondence should be directed to ‘The Right Honourable Mr or Mrs Justice [surname]’.

Circuit Judges

The recommended judicial style of address for a circuit judge is:

His Honour Judge [surname]; or
Her Honour Judge [surname]

In some cases, it would also be appropriate to follow their surname with ‘QC’. Correspondence should begin with ‘Dear Judge’ and they should be addressed verbally as ‘Your Honour’ in court.

District Judges

District Judges can be addressed in correspondence as ‘District Judge [surname]’, with the correspondence beginning with ‘Dear Judge’. In court, they should simply be addressed verbally as ‘Sir’ or ‘Madam’.

District Judges sitting in a Magistrates’ Court should be addressed in correspondence as ‘District Judge (Magistrates’ Court) [surname]’ with correspondence beginning with ‘Dear Judge’ as above.

Magistrates

Correspondence to magistrates should be addressed to ‘Justices of the Peace’ and it should begin with ‘Dear [full name] Esq JP’ and they should be addressed verbally as ‘Your Worship’ or ‘Sir’ or ‘Madam’ in court.

Other judges

Tribunal Judges can be addressed as ‘Dear Judge’ in correspondence and ‘Sir’ or ‘Madam’ verbally.

An Asylum and Immigration Judge can be addressed as ‘Immigration Judge [surname]’ on correspondence, which should begin with ‘Dear Judge’. In court they should be addressed verbally as ‘Sir’ or ‘Madam’. Similarly, an Employment Judge is addressed in the same way, except that the word ‘Immigration’ is replaced with ‘Employment’.

Source:
FindLaw
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