Everyday sexism: court mode of address guide implies all male judiciary

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By Thomas Connelly on

A little too close to the truth for comfort


Spotted recently by criminal and media law barrister Rupert Jones — this astounding piece of everyday sexism.

The ‘helpful’ chart appearing in an unidentified court building shows how you should address members of staff — from a High Court judge to an usher.

However, on closer inspection, the judicial positions have all been given male modes of address — implying there are no female judges. Thankfully, some ‘My Lady’ graffiti has been added in, alongside a suggestion that circuit judges be referred to as “ducky” out of court.

So what is the reality of judicial gender diversity? Accord to the official 2013-2014 courts diversity stats, 18.4% of Court of Appeal judges are women, 17.9% of High Court judges are women, 20.5% of circuit judges are women and 16.5% of recorders are women.

It’s not clear how long the guide has been there but it’s not the first time the courts have landed themselves in hot water over sexist signs.

Back in July a politically incorrect sign at the Royal Courts of Justice was removed as it implied that all advocates are male.


By the way, gavel spotters will doubtless have noticed the incorrect use of Legal Cheek‘s favourite US courtroom prop in the ‘modes of address’ photo above. Gavels aren’t, of course, used in UK courts. The new Tumblr Inappropriate Gavels will be on the case.