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A judge is a person who presides over
court A court is any person or institution, often as a government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. In the case of its broad associative definition, govern ...

court
proceedings, either alone or as a part of a panel of judges. A judge hears all the
witness In law, a witness is someone who has knowledge about a matter, whether they have sensed it or are testifying on another witnesses' behalf. In law a witness is someone who, either voluntarily or under compulsion, provides testimonial evidence, ei ...
es and any other
evidence Evidence for a proposition is what supports this proposition. It is usually understood as an indication that the supported proposition is true. What role evidence plays and how it is conceived varies from field to field. In epistemology, evidence ...
presented by the barristers or solicitors of the case, assesses the credibility and
arguments In logic Logic (from Ancient Greek, Greek: grc, wikt:λογική, λογική, label=none, lit=possessed of reason, intellectual, dialectical, argumentative, translit=logikḗ)Also related to (''logos''), "word, thought, idea, argument, ...

arguments
of the parties, and then issues a ruling in the
case Case or CASE may refer to: Containers * Case (goods), a package of related merchandise * Case, the metallic enclosure component in modern firearm cartridge (firearms), cartridges * Bookcase, a piece of furniture used to store books * Briefcase or ...
based on their interpretation of the law and their own personal judgment. A judge is expected to conduct the trial impartially and, typically, in an open court. The powers, functions, method of appointment, discipline, and training of judges vary widely across different
jurisdiction Jurisdiction (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the ...
s. In some jurisdictions, the judge's powers may be shared with a
jury A jury is a sworn body of people (the jurors) convened to render an impartial Impartiality (also called evenhandedness or fair-mindedness) is a principle of justice holding that decisions should be based on objectivity (philosophy), objective ...

jury
. In
inquisitorial system An inquisitorial system is a legal system in which the court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out th ...
s of
criminal investigation Criminal investigation is an applied science that involves the study of facts that are then used to inform criminal trials. A complete criminal investigation can include Search and seizure, searching, interviews, interrogations, Evidence (law), e ...
, a judge might also be an
examining magistrate In an inquisitorial system An inquisitorial system is a legal system in which the court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (la ...

examining magistrate
. The presiding judge ensures that all court proceedings are lawful and orderly.


Functions

The ultimate task of a judge is to settle a legal dispute in a final and publicly lawful manner in agreement with substantial partialties. Judges exercise significant governmental power. They can order police, military or judicial officials to execute searches, arrests, imprisonments, garnishments, detrainment, seizures, deportations and similar actions. However, judges also supervise that trial procedures are followed, in order to ensure consistency and impartiality and avoid arbitrariness. The powers of a judge are checked by higher courts such as appeals courts and supreme courts. The court usually has three main legally trained court officials: the judge, the prosecutor and the defence attorney. The role of a judge varies between legal systems. In an
adversarial system The adversarial system or adversary system is a legal system used in the common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by v ...
(common law), as in effect in the U.S. and England, the judge functions as an impartial referee, mainly ensuring correct procedure, while the prosecution and the defense present their case to a
jury A jury is a sworn body of people (the jurors) convened to render an impartial Impartiality (also called evenhandedness or fair-mindedness) is a principle of justice holding that decisions should be based on objectivity (philosophy), objective ...

jury
, often selected from common citizens. The main factfinder is the jury, and the judge will then finalize sentencing. Nevertheless, in smaller cases judges can issue
summary judgment In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by its boun ...
s without proceeding to a jury trial. In an
inquisitorial system An inquisitorial system is a legal system in which the court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out th ...
(civil law), as in effect in continental Europe, there is no jury and the main factfinder is the judge, who will do the presiding, judging and sentencing on his own. As such, the judge is expected to apply the law directly, as in the French expression ''Le juge est la bouche de la loi'' ("The judge is the mouth of the law"). Furthermore, in some system even investigation may be conducted by the judge, functioning as an examining magistrate. Judges may work alone in smaller cases, but in criminal, family and other significant cases, they work in a panel. In some civil law systems, this panel may include
lay judge Lay may refer to: Places *Lay Range, a subrange of mountains in British Columbia, Canada *Lay, Loire, a French commune *Lay (river), France *Lay, Iran, a village *Lay, Kansas, United States, an unincorporated community People * Lay (surname) * L ...
s. Unlike professional judges, lay judges are not legally trained, but unlike jurors, lay judges are usually volunteers and may be politically appointed. Judges are often assisted by
law clerk A law clerk or a judicial clerk is an individual—generally an attorney Attorney may refer to: Roles * Attorney at law, an official title of lawyers in some jurisdictions * Attorney general, the principal legal officer of (or advisor to) a govern ...
s, referendaries and notaries in legal cases and by
bailiff A bailiff (from baillif, ''baillis'', ''bail'' "custody, charge, office"; , based on the adjectival form, baiulivus, of Latin ''bajulus'', carrier, manager) is a manager, overseer or custodian; a legal officer to whom some degree of authority ...
s or similar with security.


Requirements and appointment

There are both volunteer and professional judges. A volunteer judge, such as an English
magistrate The term magistrate is used in a variety of systems of governments and laws to refer to a civilian officer who administers the law. In , a ' was one of the highest ranking government officers, and possessed both and powers. In other parts of t ...
, is not required to have legal training and is unpaid. Whereas, a professional judge is required to be legally educated; in the U.S., this generally requires a degree of
Juris Doctor The Juris Doctor degree (J.D. or JD), also known as Doctor of Law or Doctor of Jurisprudence (J.D., JD, D.Jur., or DJur), is a graduate-entry professional degree in law and one of several Doctor of Law degrees. Although a graduate degree, the ...
. Furthermore, significant professional experience is often required; for example, in the U.S., judges are often appointed from experienced
attorney Attorney may refer to: Roles * Attorney at law, an official title of lawyers in some jurisdictions * Attorney general, the principal legal officer of (or advisor to) a government * Attorney-in-fact, a holder of a power of attorney who is (though not ...
s. Judges are often appointed by the
head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the context, can refer to either the public image of one's personality, or the social role that one adopts, or a fictional ch ...
. In some U.S. jurisdictions, however, judges are elected in a political election. Impartiality is often considered important for
rule of law The rule of law is defined in the ''Oxford English Dictionary The ''Oxford English Dictionary'' (''OED'') is the principal of the , published by (OUP). It traces the historical development of the English language, providing a compreh ...

rule of law
. Thus, in many jurisdictions judges may be appointed for life, so that they cannot be removed by the executive. However, in non-democratic systems, the appointment of judges may be highly politicized and they often receive instructions on how to judge, and may be removed if their conduct does not please the political leadership.


Judge as an occupation

Judges must be able to research and process extensive lengths of documents, witness testimonies, and other case material, understand complex cases and possess a thorough understanding of the law and legal procedure, which requires excellent skills in logical reasoning, analysis and decision-making. Excellent writing skills are also a necessity, given the finality and authority of the documents written. Judges work with people all the time; by the nature of the job, good dispute resolution and interpersonal skills are a necessity. Judges are required to have
good moral characterGood moral character is an ideal state of a person's beliefs and values that is considered most beneficial to society. In United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a cou ...
, i.e. there must be no history of crime. Professional judges often enjoy a high salary, in the U.S. the median salary of judges is $101,690 per annum, and federal judges earn $208,000–$267,000 per annum.


Symbols of office

A variety of traditions have become associated with the rank or occupation.
Gavel A gavel is a small ceremonial mallet A mallet is a tool used for imparting force on another object, often made of rubber Rubber, also called India rubber, latex, Amazonian rubber, ''caucho'', or ''caoutchouc'', as initially produc ...

Gavel
s (a ceremonial hammer) are used by judges in many countries, to the point that the gavel has become a symbol of a judge. In many parts of the world, judges wear long
robe A robe is a loose-fitting outer garment A kanga, worn throughout the African Great Lakes region Clothing (also known as clothes, apparel and attire) are items worn on the body. Clothing is typically made of fabrics or textile ...

robe
s (often in black or red) and sit on an elevated platform during trials (known as the bench). American judges frequently wear black robes. American judges have ceremonial
gavel A gavel is a small ceremonial mallet A mallet is a tool used for imparting force on another object, often made of rubber Rubber, also called India rubber, latex, Amazonian rubber, ''caucho'', or ''caoutchouc'', as initially produc ...

gavel
s, although American judges have court deputies or bailiffs and ''
contempt of court Contempt of court, often referred to simply as "contempt", is the offense of being disobedient to or disrespectful toward a court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, ad ...
'' power as their main devices to maintain decorum in the courtroom. However, in some of the
Western United States The Western United States (also called the American West, the Far West, and the West) is the region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the ...
, like California, judges did not always wear robes and instead wore everyday clothing. Today, some members of
state supreme court In the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Was ...
s, such as the
Maryland Court of Appeals The Court of Appeals of Maryland is the supreme court The supreme court is the highest court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between P ...
wear distinct dress. In Italy and
Portugal Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic ( pt, República Portuguesa, links=yes ), is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who ...

Portugal
, both judges and lawyers wear particular black robes. In some countries, especially in the
Commonwealth of Nations The Commonwealth of Nations, generally known simply as the Commonwealth, is a political association of 54 member states, almost all of which are former territories A territory is an administrative division, usually an area that is under the ...

Commonwealth of Nations
, judges wear
wigs A wig is a head or hair accessory made from human hair Hair is a protein filament that grows from hair follicle, follicles found in the dermis. Hair is one of the defining characteristics of mammals. The human body, apart from areas of g ...
. The long wig often associated with judges is now reserved for ceremonial occasions, although it was part of the standard attire in previous centuries. A short wig resembling but not identical to a
barrister A barrister is a type of lawyer A lawyer or attorney is a person who practices law, as an advocate, attorney at law, barrister A barrister is a type of lawyer in common law jurisdiction (area), jurisdictions. Barristers mostly specialis ...

barrister
's wig (a Bench Wig) would be worn in court. This tradition, however, is being phased out in Britain in non-criminal courts. In
Oman Oman ( ; ar, عُمَان ' ), officially the Sultanate of Oman ( ar, سلْطنةُ عُمان ), is a country on the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. Formerly a maritime empire, Oman is the oldest continuously in ...

Oman
, the judge wears a long stripe (red, green white), while the attorneys wear the black gown. In Portugal and in the former
Portuguese Empire The Portuguese Empire ( pt, Império Português), also known as the Portuguese Overseas (''Ultramar Português'') or the Portuguese Colonial Empire (''Império Colonial Português''), was composed of the overseas colonies In political scie ...
, the judges used to carry a staff that was red for ordinary judges and white for the judges from the outside.


Titles and forms of address


Asia


Hong Kong

In
Hong Kong Hong Kong (; , ), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (HKSAR), is a List of cities in China, city and Special administrative regions of China, special administrative region of China on the ...

Hong Kong
, court proceedings are conducted in either English or
Hong Kong Cantonese Hong Kong Cantonese is a dialect of the Cantonese Cantonese ( zh, t=廣東話, s=广东话, first=t; Yale Yale University is a private Ivy League The Ivy League (also known as The Ancient Eight) is an American collegiate ath ...
(a dialect of
Yue Chinese Yue () is a group of similar Sinitic languages The Sinitic languages, often synonymous with "Chinese languages", constitute the major branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family Sino-Tibetan, also known as Trans-Himalayan in a few sour ...
). Judges of Hong Kong retain many of the English traditions such as wearing wigs and robes in trials. In the lower courts, magistrates are addressed as ''Your worship'', and district court judges as ''Your Honour''. In the superior courts of record, namely the
Court of Final Appeal The Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal (HKCFA or CFA) is the final appellate court of Hong Kong. It was established on 1 July 1997, upon the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Hong Kong (, ), officially the Hong ...
and the
High Court High court usually refers to the superior court In common law systems, a superior court is a court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between ...
(which consists of the
Court of Appeal An appellate court, commonly called an ''appeals court'', ''court of appeals'' (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the Engl ...
and the
Court of First Instance A trial court or court of first instance is a court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out the administ ...
), judges are addressed as ''My Lord'' or ''My Lady'' and referred to as ''Your Lordship'' or ''Your Ladyship'', following the English tradition. In writing, the post-nominal letters ''PJ'' is used to refer to a permanent judge of the Court of Final Appeal and ''NPJ'' to a non-permanent judge. In the High Court, the abbreviation ''JA'' is used to denote a justice of appeal, and the letter ''J'' refers to a judge of the Court of First Instance.
Masters Master or masters may refer to: Ranks or titles *Ascended master, a term used in the Theosophical religious tradition to refer to spiritually enlightened beings who in past incarnations were ordinary humans *Grandmaster (chess), National Master, I ...
of the High Court are addressed as ''Master''. When trials are conducted in Chinese, judges were addressed, in Cantonese, as ''Fat Goon Dai Yan'' () before the transfer of sovereignty from the United Kingdom to China, and as ''Fat Goon Gok Ha'' () since 1997. ''Fat Goon'' () means the word "judge".


India

In India, judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts were addressed as ''Your Lordship'' or ''My Lord'' and ''Your Ladyship'' or ''My Lady'', a tradition directly attributable to England. The
Bar Council of India The Bar Council of India is a statutory body established under the section 4 of Advocates Act 1961 that regulates the legal practice and legal education in India. Its members are elected from amongst the lawyers in India and as such represents t ...
had adopted a resolution in April 2006 and added a new Rule 49(1)(j) in the Advocates Act. As per the rule, lawyers can address the court as ''Your Honour'' and refer to it as ''Honourable Court''. If it is a subordinate court, lawyers can use terms such as ''sir'' or any equivalent phrase in the regional language concerned. Explaining the rationale behind the move, the Bar Council had held that the words such as ''My Lord'' and ''Your Lordship'' were "relics of the colonial past". The resolution has since been circulated to all state councils and the Supreme Court for adoption but over five years now, the resolution largely remained on paper. However, in an unprecedented move in October 2009, one of the judges of Madras HC, Justice K Chandru had banned lawyers from addressing his court as ''My Lord'' and ''Your Lordship''.


Israel

In Israel, the judges () of all courts are addressed as ''Sir'', ''Madam'' () or ''Your Honor'' (). Typically after every naming you will hear ''haShofét'', meaning "the judge" after the respective address. For example, ''Your Honor the Judge'' would be (''kevod haShofét'').


Malaysia

In Malaysia, judges of the subordinate courts are addressed as ''Tuan'' or ''Puan'' ("Sir", "Madam"), or ''Your Honour''. Judges of the superior courts are addressed as ''Yang Arif'' () or ''My Lord'', ''My Lady'', etc.; and ''Your Lordship'' or ''My Ladyship'' if the proceedings, as they generally are in the superior courts, are in English.


Pakistan

In Pakistan, judges of the Supreme Court and the high courts are addressed as ''Your Lordship'' or ''My Lord'' or ''Lordship'' and ''Your Ladyship'' or ''My Lady'', a tradition directly attributable to England. There is some resistance to this on religious grounds but more or less continues till this day. In lower courts, judges are addressed as ''sir'', ''madam'' or the
Urdu Urdu (; ur, , ALA-LC ALA-LC (American Library Association The American Library Association (ALA) is a nonprofit organization A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonpr ...

Urdu
equivalent ''Janab'' or ''Judge Sahab''.


Sri Lanka

In
Sri Lanka Sri Lanka (, ; si, ශ්‍රී ලංකාව, Śrī Laṅkā, translit-std=ISO (); ta, இலங்கை, Ilaṅkai, translit-std=ISO ()), formerly known as Ceylon, and officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is ...

Sri Lanka
, judges of most courts are addressed as ''Your Honour'', however the
Chief Justice The chief justice is the presiding member of a supreme court A supreme court is the highest court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes betwee ...
is addressed as ''Your Lordship''. Judges of the
Supreme Court A supreme court is the highest court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out the administration of just ...
and the Appeal Court receives the title ''The Honourable''.


Vietnam

Judges in
Vietnam Vietnam ( vi, Việt Nam, ), officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam,, group="n" is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the ...

Vietnam
are addressed as ' (literally the "Honorable Court").


Europe


Bulgaria

In
Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Република България, links=no, Republika Bǎlgariya, ), is a country in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia ...

Bulgaria
before 1989 during the communist regime, judges were addressed as ''drugarju'' (). After 1989, ''gospodín sŭdiya'' () or ''gospožo sŭdiya'' ().


Finland

There is no special form of address; ordinary politeness is sufficient and the procedure lacks arcane rituals. Accordingly, the chairman of the panel is addressed as ''herra/rouva puheenjohtaja'' ("Mr./Ms. Chairman"). Finnish judges use gavels, but there are no robes or cloaks used in any Finnish courts. In a district court (''käräjäoikeus''), ordinary judges work with the title ''käräjätuomari'' and the chairman is ''laamanni'' (
lawspeaker A lawspeaker or lawman ( Swedish: ''lagman'', Old Swedish: ''laghmaþer'' or ''laghman'', Danish: ''lovsigemand'', Norwegian Norwegian, Norwayan, or Norsk may refer to: *Something of, from, or related to Norway, a country in northwestern Europe ...
). They are assisted by notaries (''notaari''), assessors (''asessori'') and referendaries (''viskaali'') who may sometimes even chair sessions. In appeals courts (''hovioikeus'') an ordinary judge has the title ''hovioikeudenneuvos'', the chairman of a section is ''hovioikeudenlaamanni'' and the court is led by a ''presidentti''. In the Supreme Court, judges are titled ''oikeusneuvos'' and the court is led by a ''presidentti''.


France

In France, the presiding judge of a court is addressed as ''Monsieur le président'' or ''Madame le président'', whilst associated judges are addressed as ''Monsieur l'Assesseur'' or ''Madame l'Assesseur''. Out of the courtroom, judges are referred to as ''Monsieur le juge'' or ''Madame le juge''.


Germany

In Germany, judges are addressed as ''Herr Vorsitzender'' or ''Frau Vorsitzende'', which translate as "Mister Chairman" and "Madam Chairwoman", or as ''Hohes Gericht'', which translates as "High Court".


Hungary

The male presiding judge of a court is addressed as ''tisztelt bíró úr'', which means "Honourable Mister Judge" and a female presiding judge is addressed as ''tisztelt bírónő'', which means "Honourable Madam Judge". The court as a body can be addressed as ''tisztelt bíróság'', which means "Honourable Court".


Ireland

Judges of the
Supreme Court A supreme court is the highest court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out the administration of just ...
,
Court of Appeal An appellate court, commonly called an ''appeals court'', ''court of appeals'' (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the Engl ...
, or
High Court High court usually refers to the superior court In common law systems, a superior court is a court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between ...
are officially titled ''The Honourable Mr/Mrs/Ms/Miss Justice Surname'' (), and informally referred to for short as ''Mr/Mrs/Ms/Miss Justice Surname''. In court, they are addressed either by their respective titles or styles, as ''The Court'' (''An Chúirt''), or simply ''Judge'' (''A Bhreithimh''). In
law reports The Law Reports is the name of a series of law report en-GB, Law reports, label=none or en-US, reporters, label=none are series of books that contain judicial opinions from a selection of case law decided by court A court is any person or ...
, the
Chief Justice of Ireland The chief justice of Ireland ( ga, Príomh-Bhreitheamh na hÉireann) is the president of the Supreme Court of Ireland. The chief justice is the highest judicial office and most senior judge in Ireland Ireland (; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dia ...
has the postnominal ''CJ'', the Presidents of the other Courts have the postnominal ''P'', and all other judges ''J'', e.g. ''Smith J''. Judges of the
Circuit Court Circuit courts are court systems in several common law jurisdictions. The core concept of circuit courts requires judges to travel to different locales to ensure wide visibility and understanding of cases in a region. More generally, some modern ...
are titled ''His/Her Honour Judge Surname'' and are addressed in Court as ''Judge''. Before 2006, they were addressed as ''My Lord'' (''A thiarna'') . Judges of the District Court are titled ''Judge Surname'' and addressed in Court as ''Judge''. Before 1991 these judges were known as District Justices and addressed as ''Your Worship'' (''d'Onóra'').


Italy

In Italy, the presiding judge of a court is addressed as ''Signor presidente della corte''.


Netherlands

In the
Netherlands ) , national_anthem = ( en, "William of Nassau") , image_map = EU-Netherlands.svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = BES islands location map.svg , map_caption2 = , image_map3 ...

Netherlands
, presiding judges of either sex are, in writing only, addressed ''edelachtbare'' ("Your Honour") for judges in the Court of First Instance, ''edelgrootachtbare'' ("Your Great Honour") for justices in the Court of Appeal and ''edelhoogachtbare'' ("Your High Honour") for justices in the High Council of the Netherlands (Supreme Court).


Poland

In Poland, presiding judges of either sex during trial are addressed ''Wysoki Sądzie'' ("High Court").


Portugal

In
Portugal Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic ( pt, República Portuguesa, links=yes ), is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who ...

Portugal
, presiding judges during trial are addressed as ''Meretíssimo Juiz'' when a man or ''Meretíssima Juíza'' when a woman (meaning "Most Worthy Judge") or as ''Vossa Excelência'' ("Your Excellency") when not specifying gender.


Romania

In
Romania Romania ( ; ro, România ) is a country at the crossroads of Central Central is an adjective usually referring to being in the center (disambiguation), center of some place or (mathematical) object. Central may also refer to: Directions ...

Romania
, judges during trial are addressed as ''Onorata Instanta'' (Your Honor).


Russia

In Russia, ''Vasha Chest'' () is used for criminal cases only with the one judge presiding. For civil, commercial and criminal cases presided over by a panel of judges the right address is ''Honorable Court''.


Spain

In Spain, magistrates of the Supreme Court, magistrates and judges are addressed to as "Your Lordship" (''Su Señoría''); however, in formal occasions, magistrates of the Supreme Court are addressed to as "Your Most Excellent Lordship" (''Vuestra Señoría Excelentísima'' or ''Excelentísimo Señor''/''Excelentísima Señora''); in those solemn occasions, magistrates of lower Courts are addressed as "Your Most Illustrious Lordship" (''Vuestra Señoría Ilustrísima'' or ''Ilustrísimo Señor''/''Ilustrísima Señora''); simple judges are always called "Your Lordship".


Sweden

In Sweden, the presiding judge of a court is normally addressed as ''Herr Ordförande'' or ''Fru Ordförande'', which translate as "Mister Chairman" and "Madam Chairwoman".


United Kingdom


=England and Wales

= In the
Courts of England and Wales The courts of England and Wales, supported administratively by Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service, are the Civil law (common law), civil and Criminal law, criminal courts responsible for the administration of justice in England and Wales. ...
,
Supreme Court A supreme court is the highest court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out the administration of just ...
judges are called Justices of the Supreme Court. Justices of the Supreme Court who do not hold life peerages are now given the courtesy style "Lord" or "Lady". Justices of the Supreme Court are addressed as "My Lord/Lady" in court. In the law reports, the Justices of the Supreme Court are usually referred to as "Lord/Lady N", although the Weekly Law Reports appends the post-nominal letters "JSC" (e.g. "Lady Smith JSC"). The President and Deputy President of the Court are afforded the post-nominal letters PSC and DPSC respectively. Only experienced
barrister A barrister is a type of lawyer A lawyer or attorney is a person who practices law, as an advocate, attorney at law, barrister A barrister is a type of lawyer in common law jurisdiction (area), jurisdictions. Barristers mostly specialis ...

barrister
s or
solicitor A solicitor is a legal practitioner A lawyer or attorney is a person who practices law, as an advocate An advocate is a professional in the field of law. Different countries' legal systems use the term with somewhat differing meanings. ...
s are usually appointed as judges. Judges of the
High Court High court usually refers to the superior court In common law systems, a superior court is a court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between ...

High Court
and
Court of Appeal An appellate court, commonly called an ''appeals court'', ''court of appeals'' (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the Engl ...
are addressed (when sitting in those courts) as "My Lord" or "My Lady" and referred to as "Your Lordship" or "Your Ladyship". Judges of the Court of Appeal, also called Lords Justice of Appeal, are referred to as "Lord Justice N" or "Lady Justice N". In legal writing, Lords Justices of Appeal are afforded the post nominal letters "LJ": for example, Smith LJ. When a Justice of the High Court who is not present is being referred to they are described as "Mr./Mrs./Ms. Justice ''N.''" In legal writing, the post-nominal letter "J" is used to denote a Justice (male or female) of the High Court: for example, Smith J.
Masters Master or masters may refer to: Ranks or titles *Ascended master, a term used in the Theosophical religious tradition to refer to spiritually enlightened beings who in past incarnations were ordinary humans *Grandmaster (chess), National Master, I ...
of the
High Court High court usually refers to the superior court In common law systems, a superior court is a court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between ...
are addressed as "Master". Insolvency and Companies Court judges in the High Court are addressed as "Judge". Circuit judges and
recorders Recorder often refers to: *Recorder (musical instrument), a woodwind musical instrument in the flute family Recorder or The Recorder may also refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Periodicals *''Indianapolis Recorder'', weekly newspaper *The R ...
are addressed as "Your Honour". Circuit judges are referred to as "His/Her Honour Judge N". In writing, this title is occasionally abbreviated as "HHJ" or "HH Judge N", but not in legal writing. District judges and
tribunal A tribunal, generally, is any person or institution Institutions, according to Samuel P. Huntington Samuel Phillips Huntington (April 18, 1927 – December 24, 2008) was an American political scientist, adviser and academic. He spent ...

tribunal
judges are addressed as "Sir/Madam". Lay magistrates are sometimes still addressed as "
Your WorshipHis Worship or Her Worship is an honorific prefix for mayors, justices of the peace A justice of the peace (JP) is a judicial officer A judicial officer is a person with the responsibilities and powers to facilitate, arbitrate, preside over, an ...
" in much of England. Lay magistrates are also addressed as "Sir/Madam".


=Scotland

= In the
Courts of Scotland The courts of Scotland are responsible for administration of justice Justice, one of the four cardinal virtues, by Vitruvio Alberi, 1589–1590. Fresco, corner of the vault, studiolo of the Virgin of Mercy, Madonna of Mercy, Palazzo Altemps, ...
judges in the
Court of Session The Court of Session is the Supreme court, supreme Civil law (common law), civil Courts of Scotland, court of Scotland and constitutes part of the College of Justice; the supreme Criminal justice, criminal court of Scotland is the High Court of ...
,
High Court of Justiciary The High Court of Justiciary is the supreme criminal court in Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of ...

High Court of Justiciary
and the sheriff courts are all addressed as "My Lord" or "My Lady" and referred to as "Your Lordship" or "Your Ladyship".
Justices of the peace A justice of the peace (JP) is a judicial officer A judicial officer is a person with the responsibilities and powers to facilitate, arbitrate, preside over, and make decisions and directions in regard to the application of the law. Judicial ...
in
justice of the peace court A justice of the peace court is the least Precedent, authoritative type of criminal justice, criminal court of law, court in Scotland. The court operates under summary offence, summary procedure and deals primarily with less serious criminal off ...
s are addressed and referred to as "Your Honour".


=Northern Ireland

= The judicial system of
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label=Ulster-ScotsUlster Scots, also known as Scotch-Irish, may refer to: * Ulster Scots people The Ulster Scots (Ulster-Scots The Ulster Scots (Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster- ...

Northern Ireland
is very similar to that of England and Wales, and superior court judges are addressed the same way as those in England and Wales. However, there are a few differences at the lower levels. In Northern Ireland, the equivalent to a circuit judge is a
county court A county court is a court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out the administration of justice in Civil ...

county court
judge, and they are addressed and titled the same way as a circuit judge is in England and Wales. The senior county court judges assigned to the county court divisions of
Belfast Belfast ( ; , ) is the capital and largest city of Northern Ireland, standing on the banks of the River Lagan on the east coast. It is the 12th-largest city in the United Kingdom and the second-largest on the island of Ireland. It had a popul ...

Belfast
and
Derry Derry, officially Londonderry (), is the second-largest City status in the United Kingdom, city in Northern Ireland and the fifth-largest city on the island of Ireland. The name Derry is an anglicisation of the Old Irish name ''Daire'' (mod ...

Derry
have the titles of
Recorder of Belfast The Recorder of Belfast is one of the two senior Courts of Northern Ireland#County Court, County Court judges of Northern Ireland known as Recorder (judge), Recorders, the other being the Recorder of Derry. The County Court judges in Northern Irel ...
and Recorder of Londonderry (or Derry) respectively, but are addressed the same as other county court judges. A district judge sitting in the County Court is addressed as "Your Honour". A district judge (magistrates' court) is addressed as "Your Worship". A lay magistrate, in cases where they are present, is also addressed as "Your Worship", and may use the post-nominals "LM", e.g. "John Smith LM".


North America


Canada

In general, Canadian judges may be addressed directly, depending on the province, as "My Lord", "My Lady", "Your Honour" or "Justice" and are formally referred to in the third person as "The Honourable Mr. (or Madam) Justice 'Forename Surname'". Less formally, judges of a Superior Court are referred to as "Justice 'Surname'", not as "Judge 'Surname.'" When referred to in a decision of a court, judges' titles are often abbreviated to the suffix "J.", so that Justice Smith will be referred to as Smith J. Judges in some superior courts are addressed as "My Lord" or "My Lady". In
Ontario ("Loyal she began, loyal she remains") , Label_map = yes , image_map = Ontario in Canada 2.svg , map_alt = Map showing Ontario's location east/central of Canada. , coordinates = , cap ...

Ontario
, judges are rarely referred to as "My Lord" or "My Lady", but only as "Your Honour" at the
Ontario Superior Court of Justice The Superior Court of Justice (French: ''Cour supérieure de justice'') is a superior court in Ontario , Label_map = yes , image_map = Ontario in Canada 2.svg , map_alt = Map showing Ontario's lo ...
. Formerly, translations of these titles such as ''Votre Honneur'' ("your honour") or ''Votre Seigneurie'' ("your lordship") were used in French; today, only ''Monsieur le juge'' and ''Madame la juge'' are officially used. Both the titles "judge" and "justice" are translated ''juge''. Generally, it is only appropriate to use the term "judge" when speaking of an anonymous or general position, such as "the trial judge", or when referring to a member of an inferior or provincial court such as the Ontario Court of Justice. The exception is Citizenship Judges who are referred to only as "Judge 'Surname'" in accordance with their appointment as independent decision makers of the Citizenship Commission. Like other members of the Commonwealth, a
justice of the peace A justice of the peace (JP) is a judicial officer A judicial officer is a person with the responsibilities and powers to facilitate, arbitrate, preside over, and make decisions and directions in regard to the application of the law. Judicial ...

justice of the peace
is addressed as "Your Worship", and a is referred to as "Master". As of December 7, 2018, Ontario Court Masters are addressed in English as "Your Honour" and in French as "Votre Honneur" and no longer as "Master".


United States

In many
states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, Un ...
throughout the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
, a judge is addressed as "Your Honor" or "Judge" when presiding over the court. "Judge" may be more commonly used by attorneys and staff, while either may be commonly used by the plaintiff or defendant. Notably, the
Superior Court of Los Angeles County Superior may refer to: *Superior (hierarchy) In a hierarchy A hierarchy (from the Greek: , from , 'president of sacred rites') is an arrangement of items (objects, names, values, categories, etc.) in which the items are represented as being "ab ...
, the largest unified trial court in the United States, has a rule that the judge shall be addressed only as "Your Honor" while in court, and never as "Judge", "Judge (name)", "ma'am", or "sir". This is somewhat unusual as "Judge" and "Judge (name)" or similar forms of address are considered appropriate and respectful in many other courts. The judges of the
Supreme Court of the United States The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the highest court in the federal judiciary of the United States of America The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or Americ ...

Supreme Court of the United States
, and the judges of the
supreme courts The supreme court is the highest court within the hierarchy of courts in many legal jurisdictions. Other descriptions for such courts include court of last resort, apex court, and high (or final) court of appeal. Broadly speaking, the decisio ...
of several
US states In the United States, a state is a Federated state, constituent political entity, of which there are currently 50. Bound together in a political union, each state holds governmental jurisdiction over a separate and defined geographic territo ...
and other countries are called "justices". Justices of the
Supreme Court of the United States The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the highest court in the federal judiciary of the United States of America The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or Americ ...

Supreme Court of the United States
and Justices of other courts are addressed as "Justice (name)". The Chief Justice of the United States is formally addressed as "Mr. or Madam Chief Justice" but also may be identified and addressed as "Chief Justice (name)". The justices of the supreme courts usually hold higher offices than any other judges in a jurisdiction, including a
justice of the peace A justice of the peace (JP) is a judicial officer A judicial officer is a person with the responsibilities and powers to facilitate, arbitrate, preside over, and make decisions and directions in regard to the application of the law. Judicial ...
, a judge who holds police court in some
jurisdiction Jurisdiction (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the ...
s and who may also try
small claims Small-claims courts have limited jurisdiction to hear civil Civil may refer to: *Civic virtue, or civility *Civil action, or lawsuit *Civil affairs *Civil and political rights *Civil disobedience *Civil engineering *Civil (journalism), a platfo ...
and
misdemeanor A misdemeanor (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of variety (linguistics), varieties of the English language native to the United States ...
s. However, the
State of New York New York is a state in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern regions of the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily ...
inverts this usual order. The initial trial court in this state is called the Supreme Court of New York, and its judges are called "justices". The next highest appellate court is the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, whose judges are also called "justices". However, the highest court in New York is called the New York Court of Appeals, whose members are called "judges". Judges in certain jurisdictions, such as New York and New Jersey, who deal with guardianships, trusts and estates are known as "Surrogate Court, surrogates". A ''senior status, senior judge'', in US practice, is a retired judge who handles selected cases for a governmental entity while in retirement, on a Part-time job, part-time basis. Subordinate or inferior jurisdiction judges in US legal practice are sometimes called magistrates, although in the federal court of the United States, they are called United States magistrate judge, magistrate judges. Subordinate judges in US legal practice who are appointed on a case-by-case basis, particularly in cases where a great deal of detailed and tedious evidence must be reviewed, are often called "masters" or "special masters" and have authority in a particular case often determined on a case-by-case basis. Judges of courts of specialized jurisdiction (such as bankruptcy courts or juvenile courts) were sometimes known officially as "referees", but the use of this title is in decline. Judges sitting in courts of equity in common law systems (such as judges in the equity courts of Delaware) are called "chancellors". Individuals with judicial responsibilities who report to an executive branch official, rather than being a part of the judiciary, are often called "administrative law judges" in US practice. They were previously known as hearing examiners. They commonly make initial determinations regarding matters such as workers' compensation, eligibility for government benefits, regulatory matters, and immigration determinations. Judges who derive their authority from a contractual agreement of the parties to a dispute, rather than a governmental body, are called arbitrators. They typically do not receive the honorific forms of address nor do they bear the symbolic trappings of a publicly appointed judge. However, it is now common for many retired judges to serve as arbitrators, and they will often write their names as if they were still judges, with the parenthetical "(Ret.)" for "Retired". Unlike many civil law countries which have some courts on which panels of judges with nearly equal status composed of both legally trained professional judges and lay judges who lack legal training and are not career judges, the United States legal system (like most Anglo-American legal systems) makes a clear distinction between professional judges and laypeople involved in deciding a case who are jurors who are part of a
jury A jury is a sworn body of people (the jurors) convened to render an impartial Impartiality (also called evenhandedness or fair-mindedness) is a principle of justice holding that decisions should be based on objectivity (philosophy), objective ...

jury
. Most but not all US judges have professional credentials as lawyers. Non-lawyer judges in the United States are often elected, and are typically either justices of the peace or part-time judges in rural limited jurisdiction courts. A non-lawyer judge typically has the same rights and responsibilities as a lawyer who is a judge holding the same office and is addressed in the same manner.


Oceania


Australia

In Australia judges and, since 2007, magistrates, of all jurisdictions including the High Court of Australia are now addressed as "Your Honour". In legal contexts, they are referred to as "His/Her Honour" and "the Honourable Justice Surname" (for judges of superior courts) or "his/her Honour Judge Surname" (for inferior courts). Outside legal contexts, the formal terms of address are "Judge" (for puisne justices) or "Chief Justice" (for chief justices). The title for most puisne judges is "Justice", which is abbreviated in law reports to a postnominal "J", in the form "Surname J". Chief Justices of the High Court and of state Supreme Courts are titled "Chief Justice", which is abbreviated in law reports to a postnomial "CJ". Judges in State Supreme Courts with a separate Court of Appeal division (New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia) are referred to as Justices/Judges of the Appeal (abbreviated "Surname JA"), while the President of the Court of Appeal is referred to as "President" (abbreviated "Surname P").


New Zealand

In New Zealand, judges of the District Court of New Zealand generally referred to as "His/Her Honour" or "Sir/Madame". Judges from the High Court of New Zealand, High Court, Court of Appeal of New Zealand, Appeals Court, and Supreme Court of New Zealand, Supreme Court are referred to as "Justice [Surname]". In social settings, it is appropriate to use "Judge" in all cases.


South America


Brazil

In Brazil, judges are simply called "Juiz" or "Juíza" (male and female forms of "judge") and traditionally addressed to as "Vossa Excelência" (, translated as ‘Your Honor’) or "Meritíssimo" (‘Honorable’, but it is used as a pronoun also translated as ‘Your Honor’). Judges that are part of a panel in a State Court, or Federal Court are called "desembargadores". Judges sitting in the higher courts (Supremo Tribunal Federal, Superior Tribunal de Justiça, Superior Labor Court, Tribunal Superior do Trabalho, Superior Tribunal Militar and Tribunal Superior Eleitoral) are called "ministro" or "ministra" (male and female forms of "minister") and also referred to as "Vossa Excelência".


International courts

At the International Court of Justice, judges may be addressed by the titles they received in their countries of origin. Judges of the International Criminal Court are referred to as "judge".


Biblical and Israeli judges

The biblical Book of Judges revolves around a succession of leaders who were known as Biblical judges, "judges" (Hebrew shoftim שופטים) but who – aside from their judicial function – were also tribal war leaders. The leaders of Ancient Carthage were designated with this title as well. The same word is, however, used in contemporary Israel to denote judges whose function and authority is similar to that in other modern countries. The same word is also used in modern Hebrew for referees in any kind of contest and in particular in sport. To distinguish them from judicial judges and from each other, the kind of the contest is added after the word "shofet" in the Construct state (e.g. "shofet kaduregel" שופט כדורגל, literally "judge of soccer").


See also

*Adjudicator *Government by algorithm#AI judges, AI judge *Barrister *Biy *Court dress *Election judge *Judicial deference *Judiciary *Lawyer *Lay judge *List of jurists *Magistrate *Prosecutor *Public defender *Solicitor


References


External links


State of California Commission of Judicial Performance

CEPEJ
European commission for the efficiency of justice.
CCJE
European consultative council of judges.
How sentencing works: You be the Judge

Directgov
Crown Court – what it does (Directgov, England and Wales) {{Authority control Judges, Legal professions Law enforcement Positions of authority