How to address a judge or magistrate – new guidance

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On 1st December, 2022, the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Burnett, announced a change in the practice of how certain Judges are addressed in court. From now on, the Judges listed below should be addressed in court or tribunal hearings as ‘Judge’:

  • Masters
  • Upper Tribunal Judges
  • Judges of the Employment Appeal Tribunal
  • District Judges
  • District Judges (Magistrates Courts)
  • First-Tier Tribunal Judges
  • Employment Judges

The current practice is to address them as ‘Sir/Madam’ or ‘Judge’.

The move away from ‘Sir or Madam’ involves modern and simple terminology, reflecting the important judicial role whilst maintaining the necessary degree of respect. We also hope this change in language will assist litigants in person involved in court and tribunal proceedings.

This change only involves the way in which Judges are addressed in court or tribunals. It does not affect judicial titles, which have a basis in statute, or the way in which Judges record their decisions.

In tribunals non-legal members should continue to be addressed as ‘Sir or Madam’.

The way in which magistrates are addressed remains unchanged: ‘Your Worship, Sir or Madam’.

Page last updated Friday 2nd December, 2022 at 1020hrs

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Published by Neil Wilby

Former Johnston Press area managing director. Justice campaigner. Freelance investigative journalist.

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