, or arbiter of justice
is a lead official
who presides over a
of law, either alone or as part of a
panel of judges. The powers, functions, method of appointment,
discipline, and training of judges vary widely across different
. The judge is like an
umpire in a game and conducts the trial impartially and in an open
court. The judge hears all the witnesses and any other evidence
presented by the parties of the case, assesses the credibility of
the parties, and then issues a ruling on the matter at hand based
on his or her interpretation of the law and his or her own personal
judgement. In some jurisdictions, the judge's powers may be shared
with a jury
, although this practice is starting
to be phased out in some regions.
Symbols of office
A variety of traditions have become associated with the
In many parts of the world, judges wear long robes
(usually in black
) and sit on an elevated platform during
trials (known as the bench).
In some countries, especially in the Commonwealth of Nations,
judges sometimes wear wigs
. The long wig
often associated with judges is now reserved for ceremonial
occasions, although it was part of the standard attire in previous
centuries. A short wig resembling but not identical to a barrister
's wig would be worn in court. This
tradition, however, is being phased out in Britain in non-criminal
American judges frequently wear black robes. American judges have
, although American judges
have court deputies or bailiffs and "contempt of court
" power as their main
devices to maintain decorum in the courtroom. However, in some
Western states, like California, judges did not always wear robes and instead wore
everyday clothing. Today, some members of state supreme courts, such as the
of Appeals wear distinct dress.
Italy both judges and lawyers wear particular black
Republic of China, judges wore regular street clothes until 1984,
when they began to wear military-style
uniforms, which were intended to demonstrate authority.
These uniforms were replaced in 2000 by black robes similar to
those worn in the rest of the world.
Oman, the judge wears a long stripe (Red, Green and
White), while the attorneys wear the black gown.
Titles and forms of address
Australia since 2007 magistrates and
judges of all jurisdictions including the High Court of
Australia are now referred to as "Your Honour" or "His Honour
Mr Justice Forename Surname" and a concerted effort is
being made by state law societies and bar associations to petition
parliament for the removal of wigs and gowns as they are considered
to be a throwback to 19th century Britain.
It has been noted
in a study done by the Queensland
in 2007 that 76% of the Australian general public
believe that the antiquated legal garb seems to make barristers and
Judges out of touch with modern society.
Brazil, judges are simply called "juiz" or "juíza" and
traditionally addressed to as "Vossa Excelência"; judges sitting in
the higher tribunals (Supremo Tribunal Federal, Superior Tribunal
de Justiça, Tribunal Superior do Trabalho and Tribunal Superior
Eleitoral) are called "ministro" or "ministra" and also referred to
as "Vossa Excelência".
France, the presiding judge of a court is addressed to as
"Mr./Mrs. President" (Monsieur le
président/Madame le président).
Germany as "Mr./Mrs. Chairman
Italy the presiding judge of a court is addressed as well
to as "Mr./Mrs. President" ("Signor
presidente della corte").
England and Wales
In the Courts of England and
(and much of the Commonwealth
) judges of the higher
courts are addressed as "My Lord" or "My Lady" and referred to as
"Your Lordship" or "Your Ladyship". Circuit Judges
and Recorders are addressed as
"Your Honour" and district judges and tribunal judges are addressed
Lay magistrates are still addressed as "Your Worship" in Britain,
South Africa and Canada, mainly by solicitors
, but this practice in other
Commonwealth countries is nearly obsolete.
Masters of the High Court are addressed as "Master". When a judge
of the High Court who is not present is being referred to they are
described as "Mr./Mrs. Justice N
" (written N
Supreme Court of the United
Kingdom, judges are called Justices.
Courts of Scotland judges in the
Session, High Court of Justiciary and Sheriff Courts are
all addressed as "My Lord" or "My Lady" and referred to as "Your
Lordship" or "Your Ladyship".
Justices of the Peace
Justice of the Peace
are addressed and referred to as "Your Honour".
India, judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts
are addressed as 'Your Lordship'/'My Lord' and 'Your Ladyship'/'My
Lady', a tradition directly attributable to England.
However, a resolution of the Bar Council of India calls upon
lawyers not to address the judges as Lords/Ladies, they having
nothing to with nobility in a constitutional democracy. Lawyers
however continue to so address judges - partly out of entrenched
habit and partly out of fear of falling in disfavour with them.
Subordinate court judges (District, Magistrate, Munsif and
Sub-judges) are addressed as 'Your Honour'.
Zealand, judges of the High Court and above are referred to
as "His/Her Honour Justice Surname" in speech, and "Surname J" in
Judges of the District Court and the other
statutory courts are referred to as "His/Her Honour Judge Surname"
in speech, and "Surname DCJ" or "Judge Surname" in writing. The
"Mr" of the title "Mr Justice" was dropped on the appointment of
to the High Court. In
Court, all judges are addressed as "Your Honour", or
Malaysia, judges of the subordinate courts are addressed as
"Tuan" or "Puan" (Sir or Madam), while judges of the superior
courts are addressed as "Yang Arif" (lit.
"Learned One") or
My Lord/Lady and Your Lordship/Ladyship if the proceedings, as they
generally are in the superior courts, are in English.
Spain, Magistrates of the Supreme Court, Magistrates and
Judges are addressed to as "Your Lordship" (Su Señoría);
however, in formal occasions, Magistrates of the Supreme Court are
addressed to as "Your Right Honorable Lordship" (Vuestra
Señoría Excelentísima or Excelentísimo
Señor/Excelentísima Señora); in those solemn
occasions, Magistrates of lower Courts are addressed as "Your
Honorable Lordship" (Vuestra Señoría Ilustrísima or
Ilustrísimo Señor/Ilustrísima Señora); simple
Judges are always called "Your Lordship".
Lanka, judges of all courts are addressed as "Your
Honour", however the Chief
Justice is addressed as "Your Lordship".
Judges of the
Appeal Court receives the title "The Honourable".
States, a judge is addressed as "Your Honor" or "Judge"
when presiding over the court. The judges of the
Supreme Court of the United
States, and the judges of the supreme courts of several U.S. states and other countries are called
"justices" or "judges of the peace".
An American judge talking to a
The justices of the supreme courts usually hold higher offices than
the justice of the peace
judge who holds police court
and who typically tries
. However, the state of New York inverts the usual order, with the Supreme Court of
the State of New York being the lowest trial court of general
jurisdiction, and the Court of Appeals being the highest
This is a historical artifact from when the superior
trial court in common law jurisdictions was called the "supreme
court." Consequently, New York trial judges are called "justices",
while the judges on the Court of Appeals are "judges". New York
judges who deal with guardianships, trusts and estates are known as
A senior judge
, in U.S.
practice, is a retired judge who handles selected cases for a
governmental entity while in retirement, on a part-time
Subordinate or inferior jurisdiction judges in U.S. legal practice
are sometimes called magistrates
although in the federal court of the United States, they are called
Subordinate judges in U.S. legal practice appointed on a
case-by-case basis, particularly in cases where a great deal of
detailed and tedious evidence must be reviewed, are often called
"masters" or "special masters" and have authority in a particular
case often determined on a case by case basis.
Judges of courts of specialized jurisdiction (such as bankruptcy
courts or juvenile
courts) were sometimes known officially
," but the use of this title is
in decline. Judges sitting in courts of equity in
common law systems (such as judges in the
equity courts of Delaware) are called "Chancellors".
Individuals with judicial responsibilities who report to an
executive branch official, rather than being a part of the
judiciary, are often called "administrative law judges
" in U.S.
practice and commonly make initial determinations regarding matters
such as eligibility for government benefits, regulatory matters,
and immigration determinations.
Judges who derive their authority from a contractual agreement of
the parties to a dispute, rather than a governmental body are
, and typically do not
receive the honorific forms of address, and do not have the
symbolic trappings, of a publicly appointed judge.
The Biblical Book of Judges
around a succession of leaders who were known as "Judges"
shoftim שופטים) but who - aside from their judicial function - were
also tribal war leaders, leading in war against threatening
enemies. The same word is, however, used in
contemporary Israel to denote
judges whose function and authority is similar to that in other
European association of judges
and public prosecutors.
European commission for the efficiency of justice.
European consultative council of judges.