What do I call the judge?

What you call a judge depends on how senior they are. The following is a rough guide.

Magistrates

Call them ‘Sir’ or ‘Madam’ in court, or ‘Your Worship’.

Address them in correspondence as ‘Mr/Mrs <Full Name> JP’ and begin the letter ‘Dear <Full Name> JP’

District judges

Call them ‘Sir’ or ‘Madam’ in court, or ‘Judge’.

Address them in correspondence as ‘District Judge <Surname>’ and begin the letter ‘Dear Judge’

Employment judges

Call them ‘Sir’ or ‘Madam’ in court.

Address them in correspondence as ‘Employment Judge <Surname>’ and begin the letter ‘Dear Judge’

Tribunal judges

Call them ‘Sir’ or ‘Madam’ in court.

Address them in correspondence as ‘First-tier Tribunal Judge/Upper Tribunal Judge <Surname>’ and begin the letter ‘Dear Judge’

Circuit judges

Call them ‘Your Honour’ in court

Address them in correspondence as ‘His/Her Honour Judge <Surname>’ (adding QC if appropriate) and begin the letter ‘Dear Judge’

High Court judges

Call them ‘My Lord’ or ‘My Lady’ in court

Address them in correspondence as ‘The Honourable Mr/Ms/Mrs Justice <Surname>’ and begin the letter ‘Dear Judge’

Court of Appeal judges (if Lord / Lady Justice of Appeal)

Call them ‘My Lord’ or ‘My Lady’ in court

Address them in correspondence as ‘The Right Honourable Lord/Lady Justice <Surname>’ and begin the letter ‘Dear Lord/Lady Justice’ or ‘Dear Judge’

Heads of Divisions etc

Call them ‘My Lord’ or ‘My Lady’ in court

Address them in correspondence according to their full title, as listed below, and begin the letter ‘Dear ___’ using the words in bold.

  • The Right Honourable The Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales
  • The Right Honourable The Master of the Rolls
  • The Right Honourable The President of the Queen’s Bench Division
  • The Right Honourable The President of the Family Division / Court of Protection
  • The Right Honourable The Chancellor of the High Court

Lord / Lady of Appeal in Ordinary

Call them ‘My Lord’ or ‘My Lady’ in court

Address them in correspondence as ‘Lord / Lady <Name (of Place) >’ and begin the letter ‘Dear Lord / Lady <Name>’

Justice of the Supreme Court

Call them ‘My Lord’ or ‘My Lady’ in court

Address them in correspondence as ‘Justice of the Supreme Court <Full name>’ or ‘<Full name> JSC’ and begin the letter ‘Dear Lord / Lady <Name>’ or ‘Dear Justice <Name>’

In the case of the President of the Supreme Court (PSC) or Deputy President of the Supreme Court (DPSC) simply substitute those titles for Justice of the Supreme Court in addressing them in correspondence, and begin the letter ‘Dear President’ or ‘Dear Deputy President’.

For official guidance, the Courts and Tribunals Judiciary website has a table entitled What do I call a judge? 

See also: Debrett’s Forms of Address: Law.

Retired judges

A retired circuit judge may be addressed in correspondence as His / Her Honour <Full Name>’ (adding QC if appropriate) and begin the letter ‘Dear Judge’.

A retired High Court judge may be addressed in correspondence as The Honourable Sir / Dame <Full Name> and begin the letter ‘Dear Sir / Dame <First name>’

A retired Lord or Lady Justice of Appeal may be addressed in correspondence as ‘The Right Honorable Sir / Dame <Full Name> and begin the letter ‘Dear Sir / Dame <First name>’

A retired Lord / Lady of Appeal in Ordinary or Supreme Court Justice continues to be addressed as Lord / Lady after retirement.

Scotland

For guidance on what to call judges in Scotland, the Judiciary of Scotland website has a page entitled Addressing a Judge.