Legal Cost Specialists

New terminology for costs judges

The Lord Chief Justice and Senior President of Tribunals have announced changes to how certain Judges are addressed in court. From now on, the Judges listed below should be addressed in court or tribunal hearings as ‘Judge’:

  • Masters
  • Upper Tribunal Judges
  • Judges of the Employment Appeal Tribunal
  • District Judges
  • District Judges (Magistrates Courts)
  • First-Tier Tribunal Judges
  • Employment Judges

The explanation given for this change is:

“The current practice is to address them as ‘Sir/Madam’ or ‘Judge’. The move away from ‘Sir or Madam’ involves modern and simple terminology, reflecting the important judicial role whilst maintaining the necessary degree of respect. We also hope this change in language will assist litigants in person involved in court and tribunal proceedings. Up to date guidance on what to call a Judge can be found on the What do I call a Judge? webpage. Any other relevant guidance will be changed as appropriate in due course.”

So far as I can tell, this change does not apply to Costs Officers (technically ‘court officers’) in the SCCO.  Presumably they will continue to be addressed as ‘Sir/Madam’, although provisional assessment has no doubt significantly reduced the number of actual hearings dealt with by Costs Officers.

This follows the earlier announcement from senior costs Judge Gordon-Saker the title ‘master’ in the SCCO has been replaced by ‘costs judge’:

“There is a feeling that the title master is now inappropriate. I don’t think I’ve ever been described as woke or PC, and I’m certainly not in favour of change for the sake of it, but similarly there’s no good reason for keeping things which may be inappropriate. I can say from personal experience that being called master by somebody of West Indian heritage is distinctly uncomfortable.”

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