Skip to main content
Australian Government Coat of Arms

Style Manual

Judiciary

Use the correct titles to refer to members of the judiciary.

Use the correct form to refer to judges and magistrates

Refer to judges of the following courts as ‘Justice’ and use the title ‘The Honourable’:

  • High Court
  • Federal Court
  • Family Court of Australia
  • supreme courts in the states and territories.

Use the titles ‘Your Honour’, ‘His Honour’ or ‘Her Honour’ for judges of:

  • district courts
  • county courts.

High Court and Federal Court

Instructions for addressing judges and registrars are at:

Judges of these courts retain the title ‘The Honourable’ for life.

Example

The Honourable Chief Justice Susan Kiefel

You can also abbreviate the term ‘Honourable’ to ‘Hon’ without a full stop.

Example

The Hon Justice Virginia Bell

Family Court of Australia and the supreme courts

Refer to judges of the following courts as ‘Justice’ and use the title ‘The Honourable’:

  • Family Court of Australia
  • supreme courts in the states and territories.
Example

The Honourable Justice Christine Mead

The Honourable Justice Joshua Wilson

Judges of the Family Court and chief justices of the supreme courts in states and territories retain the title ‘The Honourable’ for life. Supreme court justices also generally retain the title for life.

In emails and letters, use ‘Your Honour’ to address:

  • a justice of the Family Court
  • a judge of a state or territory supreme court.

Conclude correspondence with ‘Yours faithfully’.

District and county courts

Address judges of the following courts as ‘Judge’:

  • district courts
  • county courts.

Use the title ‘His Honour’ or ‘Her Honour’ for judges of these courts.

Example

Her Honour Judge Hampel

His Honour Judge Jarro

In emails and letters:

  • Open with ‘Your Honour’.
  • Conclude with ‘Yours faithfully’.

Magistrate and local courts

Address magistrates in court as ‘Your Honour’. When outside court, address them as ‘Magistrate’.

When addressing an envelope use ‘Her Honour Magistrate’ or ‘His Honour Magistrate’.

Example

His Honour Magistrate Smart

Knighted judges

Address a judge who is a knight or dame as ‘The Honourable Sir’ or ‘The Honourable Dame’.

Example

The Honourable Sir Ninian Stephen KG AK GCMG GCVO KBE QC

The Honourable Dame Roma Flinders Mitchell AC DBE CVO QC

On subsequent mention, you can use ‘Sir’ or ‘Dame’ and the person’s given name.

Example

Sir Ninian

Dame Roma

Release notes

The digital edition includes information from the sixth edition with updated examples.

The digital edition removes the sixth edition’s requirement to use full stops with the abbreviation of ‘The Honourable’ to ‘The Hon’.

This change is supported by evidence from Australian corpora and is consistent with the digital edition’s recommendation to use minimal punctuation.

For the same reason, digital edition examples do not follow the sixth edition’s requirement for a comma before and between post-nominals.

The Content Guide did not include information on titles for the judiciary.

About this page

References

County Court of Victoria (2020) Judicial contacts, County Court of Victoria website, accessed 8 June 2020.

Courts Administration Authority of South Australia (n.d.) ‘Judicial officers’, Our courts, CAA website, accessed 8 June 2020.

Family Court of Australia (n.d.) Judges of the Family Court, Family Court of Australia website, accessed 8 June 2020.

Federal Court of Australia (n.d.) How to address judges and judicial registrars, Federal Court of Australia website, accessed 8 June 2020.

High Court of Australia (n.d.) How do I address a High Court judge? [PDF 102KB], High Court of Australia, accessed 8 June 2020.

New South Wales Bar Association (2020) Court structure, judges’ titles and order of seniority [PDF 897KB], New South Wales Bar Association, accessed 8 June 2020.

Queensland Courts (2020) Judges of the District Court, Queensland Courts website, accessed 8 June 2020.

University of Technology Sydney (6 January 2020) ‘The dummies’ guide to addressing judicial officers’, Faculty of Law News, accessed 8 June 2020.

Victoria Law Foundation (2013) What do I call the judge? [PDF 1.4MB], Victoria Law Foundation, accessed 8 June 2020.

This page was updated Wednesday 23 September 2020.

Help us improve the Style Manual

Did you find this page useful?