No more Lords and Ladies in our Courts

The various superior courts issue Practice Directions from time to time to update lawyers on best practices in those courts. The President of the Supreme Court of Appeal issued Practice Directions in the last few days which included this change to how lawyers should address Supreme Court of Appeal judges:

The mode of address to the Bench in proceedings before this Court will no longer, in English, employ the expressions ‘My Lord’, My Lady’, ‘Your Lordship(s)’ or ‘Your Ladyship(s)’. Instead, the Bench will be addressed through the presiding Judge and be referred to as the ‘Court’. Where an individual member of the Bench is referred to this should be by using the Judge’s surname preceded by the word ‘Justice’.

This makes a lot of sense, of course. Our judges are not Lords and Ladies like many of their English counterparts (or so I would imagine) so addressing South African judges as “My Lord” or “My Lady” is fairly anachronistic. I wonder if this change is going to spread to the High Courts too?





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