The prefix The Honourable
(abbreviated to "The Hon.
formerly "The Hon'ble") is a style used before the names of certain
classes of persons. It is considered an Honorific
Australia, all ministers in Commonwealth
and state governments and the government of the Northern
Territory are entitled to be styled The
Honourable. The Australian Capital Territory does not have an Executive Council (the
Commonwealth Minister for Territories exercises that role) and so
its ministers are not entitled to the style. Except in New South Wales, South
Australia and Tasmania, the title
is retained for life because it recognises that their appointment
to the relevant executive council (when they first become a
minister) is an appointment for life, and the person technically
remains "an executive councillor-on-call".
In New South
Wales, South Australia and Tasmania the Premier
can advise the Queen
to grant former ministers the style
for life. In the Northern Territory, the Chief Minister
can request the Administrator
to make a recommendation to the Governor General who in turn makes
a recommendation to the Queen of
. A minimum 5 years' service as a Member of the
Executive Council and or as a Presiding Officer is a prerequisite.
All such awards are published in the Commonwealth Government
. The presiding officers of the parliaments of the
Commonwealth, the states and the Northern Territory are also styled
, but normally only during their tenure of
office. Special permission is sometimes given for a former
presiding officer to retain the style after leaving the office as
is the case in the Northern Territory.
Former Australian members of the Commonwealth Executive Council
previously appointed members of the Privy
are still entitled to be styled The Right Honourable
. It has, however,
fallen out of practice to appoint Australians to the Privy
of the High Court of
Australia, the Federal Court, the Family Court, and the
Supreme Courts of all States and Territories are entitled to be
styled The Honourable while in office and on
The same is not extended to County or District
Court Judges, Magistrates
or members of
Tribunals in any jurisdiction.
The style "The Honourable" is not acquired through membership of
either the House of Representatives or the Senate (see Parliament of Australia
). A member
or senator may have the style if they have acquired it separately,
eg. by being a current or former minister. During proceedings
within the chambers, forms such as "The honourable Member for ...",
"The honourable the Leader of the Opposition", or "My honourable
colleague" are used. This is a merely a parliamentary courtesy and
does not imply any right to the style.
Traditionally, members of the Legislative Councils of the states
were also styled The Honourable
. This practice is still
followed in New South
Wales, Western Australia and South Australia and Tasmania.
Victoria, the practice was abolished in 2003.
Members of the Order of
the Caribbean Community
are entitled to be styled The
Puerto Rico, much like the continental
States, the term "Honorable" (in Spanish) is used, but not
required by law, to address Puerto Rican governors as well as city
mayors, members of state and municipal legislatures and
Members of The Barbados House
are styled The Honourable
Canada, the following people are entitled to the style
The Honourable (or l'honorable in French) for
In addition, some people are entitled to the style while in office
- The Honourable Mr / Madam Justice — Justices of superior
- The Honourable Judge — Judges of provincial courts and formerly
judges of district or county courts.
It is usual for Speakers of the House of Commons to be made Privy
Councillors, in which case they keep the style for life, and
and federal oposition
leaders are sometimes also made Privy Councillors.
Members of the Canadian House
and of provincial legislatures refer to each other
as "honourable members" (or l'honorable député) but are not
entitled to have The Honourable
as a prefix in front of
The Governor General of
, the Prime Minister
, the Chief Justice
and certain other eminent persons are entitled to the
style The Right
for life (or le/la Très honorable in
see Styles of Address (Canada)
Republic of the Congo, the prefix 'Honorable' or 'Hon.' is used for
members of both chambers of the Parliament of
the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
senators are sometimes given the higher title of 'Venerable'.
Kong, the prefix "The Honourable" is used for the
Isle of Man
Man, the style
The Honourable (often abbreviated to Hon.) is used to refer to a
while holding office.
Italy the members of both houses of parliament have right
to the prefix Onorevole by law.
But in fact it is
only used for members of the Chamber of Deputies
, since a
member of the Senate
Malaysia, an elected Member
of Parliament or State Legislative Assemblyman will be entitled
to be referred to as "Yang Berhormat", which is literally "The
It could also be refer to someone that have a
higher position in an organisation such as the manager, chairman
and the ceo . Like in a meeting or presentation the greetings will
starts which they will honour their leader and refer them as "The
Honourable" . Same goes to the instituition of school , higher
education and others especially in the government sector.
In addition to the standard Commonwealth usage, the Speaker
of the House of
is entitled to be referred to as The
New Zealand office holders who are "Honourable" ex-officio
are usually personally granted the style for life as a courtesy
when they vacate the office.
Governors-General use the style upon assuming the office and hold
the title for life here after. Former living Governors-General were
retroactively appointed if they were not already a holder or a
Philippines, the style is usually used to give distinction to
an elected official from the smallest political unit (the barangay) to the Philippine Senate.
example, a Kagawad (a member of a legislative council) named
Juan de la Cruz
will be styled the
Honorable Juan de la Cruz. A Philippine Senator is also styled with
the Honorable(abbreviated as "Hon."), i.e., Hon. Juan Ponce Enrile
. Moreover, Judges from
the Trial Courts are given the style.
The President of the
, as well as the Vice-President
, is usually
given the style His/her Excellency
Private organizations or religious movements sometimes style a
leader or founder as The Honourable; e.g. "The Honourable Elijah Muhammad
Lanka, the following people are entitled to the style
The Honourable :
Kingdom, all sons and daughters of viscounts and barons
(including baronies created as life peerages) and the younger sons
of earls are styled with this prefix.
(The daughters and younger sons of dukes
and the daughters of earls
have the higher style of Lord
before their first names, and the eldest sons of
dukes, marquesses and earls are known by one of their father or
mother's subsidiary titles.) The style is only a courtesy
, however, and on legal documents
they are described as, for instance, John Smith, Esq., commonly
called The Honourable John Smith
. As the wives of sons of
peers share the styles of their husbands, the wives of the sons of
viscounts and barons and the younger sons of earls are styled, for
example, The Hon. Mrs John Smith
Some persons are entitled to the prefix by virtue of their offices.
Rules exist that allow certain individuals to keep the prefix
even after retirement.
Many corporate entities are also entitled to the style, for
The style The Honourable
is always written on envelopes
(where it is usually abbreviated to The Hon
), and formally
elsewhere, in which case the style Mr or Esq.
is omitted. In speech, however, The Honourable
John Smith is referred to simply as Mr John Smith.
House of Commons, as in other lower houses of Parliament and other legislatures, members refer
to each other as Honourable Members etc. out of courtesy,
despite the fact that they are not entitled to the style in
Where a member is a barrister, he will instead be
referred to as the learned Member
with serving members of
the military (formerly less of a rarity than today) styled the
Where a person is entitled to the prefix The Right Honourable
, they will
use this higher style instead of The Honourable
States, the prefix The Honorable has, since 1945,
been used to formally address outgoing U.S.
especially during the inauguration of the new President following a
presidential election. The term is particularly linked in the U.S.
to a retiring two-term President, since such an individual has made
a truly remarkable achievement: holding the nation's highest
executive office for the longest time possible. The last four times
in U.S. history featuring an outgoing two-term President, the title
"The Honorable" has been used officially to address Presidents
Dwight D. Eisenhower
in 1961, Ronald Reagan
in 1989, Bill Clinton
in 2001 and George W. Bush
As of 2009, "The Honorable" has also been used to address any
living current or former U.S. Presidents. This includes Jimmy Carter
, George H.W. Bush
, George W. Bush
, and Barack
federal usage is expressed in the United
States Department of State may also (informally) refer to these other people,
although such a title is by no means official.
- The President and
Vice President of
the United States (who are referred to as Excellency when traveling abroad), United States Senators, and United States
Representatives, as well as Presidents-, Vice Presidents-,
Senators-, and Representatives-elect (or
Designates in cases of Representatives or Senators appointed but
not yet seated).
- All federal and
justices of the peace, and
magistrates, whether appointed or
- Court clerks occasionally.
- Appointed heads of the federal executive
departments (United States
Cabinet officers) and Cabinet-level officers, as well as
appointed heads of the independent
to the President above the rank of "Special Assistant to
- Special (or "Personal") Envoy
- Most appointees that must be confirmed by the Senate, such as ambassadors of the United
States (who are referred to as Excellency when traveling
abroad). United States
Attorneys and military officers are not granted the style,
although they are confirmed by the Senate.
- Officers of the House of Representatives and of the Senate
Chief Administrative Officer of the House of Representatives,
Secretary of the
- Heads of elected legislative bodies such as the U.S. Senate,
Congress, as well as State, County, and City legislatures.
- Governors, lieutenant governors,
statewide elected officers such as the state Attorneys General, and members
of a governor's cabinet. In some states, an incumbent governor is
also referred to as Excellency by
long-established custom or by some legislative or constitutional
Federal usage also notes that the style of "Honorable" is used for
life. This would include persons convicted of crimes after leaving
office, resigned under a cloud, or who were removed from office
(i.e. impeached or recalled).
In the Commonwealth of
, commissioned Kentucky Colonels are considered members
of the Governor's Staff and his honorary aides-de-camp, and as such
are entitled to the style of "Honorable" as indicated on their
commission certificates. The commission
and letters patent
granted by the
Governor and Secretary of State bestowing the title of Kentucky Colonel
refers to the honoree as
"Honorable First Name Last Name". However, this style is rarely
used, most Kentucky Colonels preferring to be referred to and
addressed as "Colonel
The style "The Honorable," or the abbreviation of "Hon." is used on
envelopes when referring to the individual in the third person,
i.e. in a formal introduction. It generally is not used with an
additional style or title, such as Dr.
, though it can be used with post-nominal letters
(e.g., "The Hon.
John H. Sununu
"). Other modifiers ("The Right
Honorable," "The Most Honorable") are not used in American
A spouse of someone with the style of "The Honorable" receives no
additional style, unless personally entitled to the style. The wife
of former Pennsylvania
Governor Tom Ridge
, Michele Ridge,
does not receive the style, even though her husband has held
various offices (governor, U.S. Representative, Secretary of
, and assistant to the president) that would
grant the style for life under all usages. The wife of current
Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell
, is a federal
judge, appointed years prior to Rendell's election as Governor, and
is styled "The Honorable."
Aside from the prefix "The Honorable," the spoken form of address,
"Your Honor," is used when addressing judges, justices, and
magistrates (who are addressed as such when presiding in court).
When speaking of a judge in this manner in the third person, "Your
Honor" becomes "His/Her Honor."
1. ^ http://www.caricom.org/jsp/secretariat/legal_instruments/agreement_occ.jsp
2. ^ http://www.pch.gc.ca/progs/cpsc-ccsp/pe/address1_e.cfm Styles of Address (Canada)
3. ^ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kentucky_colonel
4. ^ http://foia.state.gov/masterdocs/05fah01/05fah010420.pdf
5. ^ http://www.washingtonlife.com/backissues/archives/99nov/honorables.htm
6. ^ http://www.bartleby.com/95/27.html
7. ^ http://www.uwf.edu/writelab/writeadvice/wa-professional4.htm
8. ^ http://szotar.sztaki.hu/webster/info/thesa/4.style-book/style.6.htmld/