How Do I Address the Judge?

From Clicklaw Wikibooks

How you address the judge depends on which court you are in. Each court has a particular honorific that should be used when addressing the judge, and the judge is properly addressed by that honorific, not as "sir," "ma'am," or something else.

Judges of the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court are addressed as My Lord, or My Lady, or Your Lordship, or Your Ladyship, depending on the grammatical context.

Masters and registrars of the Supreme Court are addressed as Your Honour. Provincial Court judges are also called Your Honour.

It used to be the case that justices of the peace were properly referred to as Your Worship, but this practice is fading somewhat, and it is now acceptable to refer to them as Your Honour.

You can find information about what to expect in court in How Do I Conduct Myself in Court at an Application?. You can find information about court processes in the chapter Resolving Your Legal Problem in Court.

This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by Megan Ellis, QC, June 10, 2019.


Creativecommonssmall.png JP Boyd on Family Law © John-Paul Boyd and Courthouse Libraries BC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Canada Licence.


Normally referred to as the "Supreme Court of British Columbia," this court hears most court proceedings in this province. The Supreme Court is a court of inherent jurisdiction and is subject to no limits on the sorts of claims it can hear or on the sorts of orders it can make. Decisions of the Provincial Court are appealed to the Supreme Court; decisions of the Supreme Court are appealed to the Court of Appeal. See "Court of Appeal," "jurisdiction," "Provincial Court," and "Supreme Court of Canada."

A court established and staffed by the provincial government, which includes Small Claims Court, Youth Court, and Family Court. The Provincial Court is the lowest level of court in British Columbia and is restricted in the sorts of matters it can deal with. It is, however, the most accessible of the two trial courts and no fees are charged to begin or defend a family court proceeding. The Family Court of the Provincial Court cannot deal with the division of family property or matters under the Divorce Act. See "judge" and "jurisdiction."

A person appointed by the federal or provincial government to manage and decide court proceedings in an impartial manner, independent of influence by the parties, the government, or agents of the government. The decisions of a judge are binding upon the parties to the proceeding, subject to appeal.

The highest level of court in this province, having the jurisdiction to review decisions of the Supreme Court, all provincial lower courts, and certain tribunals. See "appeal."

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