Addressing a Judge

Want to know how to address a judge in court or in writing?

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Senior Judges

The title of Scotland’s most senior judge reflects his or her position as head of both the civil courts (Lord President) and the criminal courts (Lord Justice General).  He or she, as Lord President, is also the head of the judiciary.  On appointment to the Bench, he or she is given a judicial title, then he or she will be known as Lord President and Lord Justice General on taking these offices. The Lord President is a Privy Counsellor and may be a Peer.

The Lord President In Correspondence Dear... In Court
Civil (If a Peer) The Right Honourable the Lord Smith Lord President of the Court of Session Lord President My Lord
Criminal (If a Peer) The Right Honourable the Lord Smith Lord Justice General of Scotland Lord Justice General My Lord
If not a Peer The Right Honourable Lord Smith Lord President of the Court of Session /  Lord Justice General of Scotland Lord President
My Lord

The Lord Justice Clerk also receives a judicial title on appointment as a judge, but like the Lord President, he or she is always described by his or her office. The Lord Justice Clerk will also be a Privy Counsellor, and may be a Peer.

The Lord Justice Clerk In Correspondence Dear... In Court
If not a Peer The Right Honourable Lord Smith Lord Justice Clerk Lord Justice Clerk My Lord
If a Peer The  Right Honourable the Lord Smith Lord Justice Clerk Lord Justice Clerk My Lord

Senators of the College of Justice

Judges of the Court of Session (the supreme civil court), who are also the judges of the High Court of Justiciary (the supreme criminal court), are appointed by HM The Queen as Senators of the College of Justice.  On appointment, a senator will take a judicial title by which he or she will be known both in office and on retirement. The courtesy style of “Lord” or “Lady” should be distinguished from a peerage title, but some judges are in fact Peers. Judges of the Outer House of the Court of Session will have the prefix “Honourable” to their title. Judges of the Inner House will be Privy Counsellors, conferring on them the prefix “Right Honourable”. The Chairman of the Scottish Land Court is addressed in the same way as a judge of the Court of Session.

Office/ Position In Correspondence Dear... In Court
When not a Privy Counsellor The Honourable Lord/Lady Smith Lord/Lady Smith My Lord/Lady
Privy Counsellor The Right Honourable Lord/Lady Smith Lord/Lady Smith My Lord/Lady
Privy Counsellor and Peer The Right Honourable the Lord/Lady Smith Lord/Lady Smith My Lord/Lady

Sheriffs Principal and Sheriffs

Office In Correspondence Dear... In Court
Sheriff Principal Sheriff Principal Smith
(QC should be added where applicable)
Sheriff Principal Smith My Lord/Lady
Sheriff Sheriff Smith (QC) Sheriff Smith My Lord/Lady

 Justices of the Peace

Office In Correspondence In Court
Justices of the Peace No judicial title (simply Mr/Mrs/Miss etc.) Your Honour

HMA v William Lannigan McArthur

Thursday, 6 December, 2018
Sentencing Statements

At the High Court in Edinburgh today, 6 December 2018, William MacArthur was found guilty of charges of rape, sexual assault and attempted murder. Sentence was adjourned until 16 January 2019. On conviction, Lord Uist made the following statement in court:

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HMA v David Scott

Friday, 30 November, 2018
Sentencing Statements

At the High Court in Edinburgh today, 30 November 2018, Lord Boyd of Duncansby sentenced David Scott to 10 years’ imprisonment after the accused was convicted of the rape and sexual abuse of two girls. On sentencing, Lord Boyd made the following statement in court:

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HMA v Fraser Angus Neill

Thursday, 29 November, 2018
Sentencing Statements

At the High Court in Edinburgh today, 29 November 2018, Lady Scott sentenced Fraser Neil to life imprisonment with a punishment part of 19 years after the accused was found guilty of the murder of Hannah Dorans. On sentencing, Lady Scott made the following statement in court:

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HMA v Paul Johnson

Thursday, 15 November, 2018
Sentencing Statements

At the High Court in Edinburgh today, 15 November 2018, Lord Boyd of Duncansby sentenced Paul Johnson to four years’ imprisonment after the accused pled guilty to wilful fire-raising aggravated by religious prejudice. On sentencing, Lord Boyd made the following statement in court:

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HMA v Brian Docherty

Monday, 12 November, 2018
Sentencing Statements

At the High Court in Livingston today, 12 November 2018, Lady Rae imposed an extended sentence on Brian Docherty of nine years and ten months after the accused pled guilty to lewd, indecent and libidinous practices and behaviour and sexual assault. The custodial part will seven years and ten months, which will be followed by an extension period of two years on licence.

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