Teachers' blog


【The Judiciary of the UK(2)】

(Contributed by Brian)
Supreme Court
The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom is the ultimate court for criminal and civil matters in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and for civil matters in Scotland. (The supreme court for criminal matters in Scotland is the High Court of Justiciary.) The Supreme Court was established by the Constitutional Reform Act 2005. This replaced the House of Lords as the highest court in the land.
Court of Appeal
Judges of the Court of Appeal are known as Lords Justices, and they are Privy Counsellors. Before swearing in they may be addressed as The Honourable Lord Justice Smith, and after swearing in as the Right Honourable Lord Justice Smith. Female Lord Justices are known as Lady Justices. Addressed as “My Lord” or “My Lady”. In law reports, referred to as “Smith LJ”, and, for more than one judge, “Smith and Jones LJJ”.
The Lord Justices wear black silk gowns and court coats (or bar jackets) and short wigs during criminal cases and the black civil robe with gold tabs for civil cases. For ceremonial occasions, they wear the full wig and black damask gown with gold lace.
High Court
High Court judges are not normally Privy Counsellors. High Court judges are therefore referred to as the Honourable Mr./Mrs. Justice Smith. Addressed as “My Lord” or “My Lady”. In law reports, referred to as “Smith J”, and, for more than one judge, “Smith and Jones JJ”.
High Court judges normally wear a short wig along with red and black gowns for criminal cases, and a civil robe with red tabs for civil cases and, when in open court, family cases. Judges of the Family Division sitting in private wear formal suits. Ceremonially, all High Court justices wear the red gown with white trim along with a full wig.
Circuit Judges
Circuit judges are referred to as His/Her Honour Judge {surname} e.g. His/Her Honour Judge Smith. If a circuit judge is appointed who has the same surname as another serving circuit judge, he (she) will be referred to as His (Her) Honour Judge {first name} {surname}. e.g. His Honour Judge John Smith. Circuit judges are addressed as “Your Honour”, unless sitting in the Central Criminal Court (the Old Bailey), in which case addressed as “My Lord (Lady)”. Senior circuit judges who sit as the honorary recorder of a borough or city are also entitled to be addressed in court as “my lord/lady.” In law reports, circuit judges are referred to as “HHJ Smith”, or simply, “Judge Smith.”
District Judges
District judge is the title given to two different categories of judges. One group of district judges sit in the county courts and have jurisdiction in High Court cases, having previously been known as registrars until 1990. The other group sit in the magistrates’ courts Judges in both groups are addressed as “Sir” or “Madam”. The senior district judge is also known as the Chief Magistrate.

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