In Court and in the Courthouse
Judges of the BC Supreme Court and the BC Court of Appeal are officially called "Justices". The proper way of addressing them is as follows:
- Chief Justice”, “Associate Chief Justice”, “Justice”, “Madam Justice”, or “Mr. Justice” as the context requires.
- Use of the terms “My Lord”, “My Lady”, “Your Lordship”, and “Your Ladyship” is to be avoided. This change was made by a Supreme Court Practice Direction issued on November 18, 2021 and some sources may still reference the old terms of address.
In speaking to a panel of judges of mixed genders, the presiding judge ought to be addressed first.
The Supreme Court of Canada discourages the use of designations referring to "Lord or Lordship" or "Lady or Ladyship". They prefer "Justice". The proper designation of a Provincial Court Judge is "Your Honour".
- The proper designation of a Provincial Court Justice of the Peace is "Your Worship".
Other Court Officials
- The most appropriate form of address for a Master is "Your Honour".
- The most appropriate form of address for a Registrar is “Your Honour.”
- The most appropriate form of address for a court clerk is “Mr. Registrar”, or “Madam Registrar.”
- The most appropriate form of address for a Sheriff or Deputy Sheriff is "Mr. or Madam Sheriff or Deputy Sheriff".
Out of Court
"Chief Justice", "Mr. Justice", "Madam Justice", "Judge X", "Sir", or "Madam" are proper and acceptable out of court.
Judges of the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of BC are eligible to retain the title of "Honourable", though not all choose to do so.
Provincial Court judges may be referred to and my refer to themselves as “Judge X (retired)”.
Letters addressed to the Chief Justice of Canada should be addressed "The Right Honourable (first and last names), Chief Justice of Canada." All other Chief Justices are addressed "The Honourable (first and last names), Chief Justice of (appropriate province or court).
Judges of the Supreme Court of Canada, the Federal Court of Canada, and the Tax Court of Canada should be addressed "The Honourable (first and last names), Judge of the xxxx Court of Canada".
BC Supreme Court and Court of Appeal justices can be addressed as "Dear Mr. Justice X", "Dear Madam Justice X", "Dear Sir", "Dear Madam".
Provincial Court judges can be addressed as "Dear Judge X".
It is usually unnecessary to include "The Honourable" in written or spoken communications of pleadings except in formal orders of the court. The judges of the Provincial Court are properly entitled to be addressed in formal communications as "The Honourable ..."
In writing, refer to a master as “Master X”.
- How does one address a judge? – Supreme Court of Canada FAQ
- Practice Direction 60 (PD60): Form of Address – The Supreme Court of British Columbia
- "Ethical and Professional Responsibility Issues". by Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia, British Columbia civil trial handbook – on-site at Courthouse Libraries
- Notice to the Profession - Judicial Justices – Provincial Court of British Columbia
- Overview of the Civil Litigation Process – Supreme Court of BC
- Practice Direction 32 (PD 32): Manner of Address for Registrars, – BC Courts
- Table of titles to be used in Canada by the Privy Council of Canada – on-site at Vancouver Courthouse Library
- How to Act in Civil Court – Supreme Court of BC
- Titles and Manners of Address by Bracken and Dull, British Columbia courtroom procedure, 2nd edition – on-site at Courthouse Libraries