Addressing a judge: just don’t call them ‘Your Majesty’

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Beware, wannabe lawyers, of emulating defendant at Grimsby Crown Court in using the royal address to greet a judge


Each year during early advocacy sessions on the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) and the Legal Practice Course (LPC) there are some wonderful moments as students reach for the correct term to address the imaginary judge — and, after an awkward pause, say…

“Your Majesty”

Wannabe lawyers aren’t the only ones to make this error, with the Grimsby Telegraph reporting yesterday news of a defendant at Grimsby Crown Court greeting Judge David Tremberg (pictured above) with the regal address. It is not the first time that court has experienced royal etiquette, with the paper adding:

“A few years ago, an awestruck female defendant impressed amazed onlookers by curtseying to Judge Leslie Hull while she was in the dock for her case.”

A trawl of Twitter reveals that interpreters have fallen prey to such mistakes too.

Not that it is always easy to know what to call a judge, with different ranks of the judiciary attracting different titles.

Happily, the judiciary website has a very useful list, which notes that while magistrates can be addressed as “Your Worship”, Crown Court judges as “Your Honour” and appeal court judges as “My Lord”/”My Lady”, most judges are plain old “Sir” or “Madam”.