British etiquette website in Supreme Court image blunder

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By Thomas Connelly on

Red faces at Debrett’s


A website specialising in British etiquette appears to have dropped a legal clanger, using an image of the International Court of Justice at The Hague to illustrate its UK law section.

Debrett’s — which has trumpeted its knowledge of Ps and Qs since 1769 — has a helpful “forms of address” section on its website.

Covering everything from the Master of the Rolls to magistrates, Debrett’s will help you avoid any embarrassing social faux pas.

But thanks to the keen eye of one Legal Cheek reader, the site appears to have made a court-shaped blunder of its own.

Above the caption “Supreme Court of the United Kingdom” (UKSC), the website features a photograph of the International Court of Justice at The Hague instead.


Though both courts have a vital part to play in domestic and international law making, they have important differences. Since the retirement of Lord Toulson last month, the UKSC has just 11 justices, though fewer than 10 of these sit on the bench at one time. The image from Debrett’s (screenshot above) features closer to 20.

Furthermore, the image appears to include at least two judges from black and ethnic minority (BME) backgrounds. Unfortunately, the UKSC still doesn’t have any BME judges in its ranks.

Legal Cheek sent a handwritten letter to Debrett’s, by post, pointing out the error, and received the following email response:

The page in fact discussed the law in general and not just the UK Supreme Court but we have just moved to a new website and the image has now been removed.

Legal Cheek expects a more formal letter reiterating their position in due course.