HL Deb 22 June 1994 vol 556 cc20-1WA
Lord Ackner

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether a person who has sat as a deputy circuit judge is entitled to describe himself as "judge"; and if not, what steps can be taken by the Lord Chancellor or otherwise (i) to prevent his so mis-describing himself; and (ii) to disabuse the public who have been misinformed as to his status.

The Lord Chancellor (Lord Mackay of Clashfern)

No. Under current legislation, deputy circuit judges are retired judges appointed to sit judicially from time to time. Prior to 1982, practitioners could also be appointed as deputy circuit judges to sit from time to time. Neither type of deputy circuit judge may properly be titled "judge". In some circumstances, retired full-time judges may be addressed as "judge" as a matter of courtesy, although where a person no longer holds a judicial appointment it is not correct to refer to him by a title which implies that he does. Where mistaken public references to a person as a judge receive currency (for example, in press reports), the Lord Chancellor's Department may draw attention to the correct usage. However, it is not possible wholly to counter such solecisms.