How to Address a Judge of a Federal Court

Judge of a U.S. Federal Court

—-Envelope, official:
—-—-The Honorable
—-—-(Full name)
—-—-(Name of Court)
—-—-The Honorable (Full name)
—-—-(Name of Court)

—-Letter salutation:
—-—-Dear Judge (surname):

—-—-Judge (surname)

—-Direct address in the courtroom:
—-—-Your Honor *

His Honor, Her Honor Your Honor
Your honor is an oral form of address used in conversation with a presiding official. Both a judge in his or her courtroom and the mayor in his or her city may be addressed as Your Honor. Neither a visiting judge in another judge’s courtroom nor a former mayor are addressed as Your Honor.

—-—-—-— From: Honor & Respect by Robert Hickey

– Robert Hickey    How to Address a Judge of a Federal Court

How to Address a Judge and Spouse?

How to I address a letter’s envelope to a judge and her husband?
——————– Sam O’Brien

I am writing a letter to a Judge and his wife. What is the proper salutation for the letter?
——————– Thanks, D.N.

Dear Sam & D.N.:
—-The formula for the envelope is

——-The Honorable (Full Name)
——-and Mrs. (Surname)

—-—-Which looks like
—-—-—-The Honorable Stephen Jennings
—-—-—-and Mr. Jennings

——-The Honorable (Full Name)
——-and Ms/Dr.. (Full Name)

—-—-Which looks like
—-—-—-The Honorable Thomas Jennings
—-—-—-and Dr. Linda Nelson

——-The Honorable (Full Name)
——-and Mr. (Full Name)

—-—-Which looks like
—-—-—-The Honorable Nancy Jennings
—-—-—-and Mr. Franklin Jennings

—-The most formal salutation for a judge and spouse (if the spouse uses the same last name) would be:
——–Dear Judge Jennings and Mrs. Jennings
——–Dear Judge Jennings and Mr./Ms./Dr. Nelson
—-Dear Judge Jennings and Mr. Jenning

—-In a salutation you always use the form of the name used in conversation.

Formally people who hold high offices get their full name as a unit … so Dear Judge and Mrs. Jennings – is informal.

Wives who use the same surname as their spouses traditionally lose their given name when addressed with their husband: They become simply Mrs. (Surname).   Thist is not a tradition everyone follows, but it is the traditional format. See the post on Mrs. & Ms. in the list of links at right for more on writing women’s names.

– Robert Hickey   How to Address a Judge of a Federal Court How to Address a City County or State Judge

—-See These Related Posts:
—-—-Couples: Private Citizens
—-—-Couples: Military
—-—-Couples: U.S. Officials
—-—-Couples: Same Sex

Forms of Address: How a conversation begins can have a huge impact on how the conversation - even the entire relationship - develops.

How to List a Judge in an Academic Environment?

If a law journal is publishing an article by a judge, should he be listed in the table of contents as ‘Honorable (first name, last name)‘, as ‘Judge (Name)’ or with JD?
———————– Jason Brand How to Address a City County or State Judge

Dear Mr. Brand,
Most of the time a judge is: ‘The Honorable (first name, last name)’.  Then after his name identify the office he holds: ‘Chief Judge of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals of New York‘  or whatever …

In an academic journal … if it is decided you will include his academic post-nominal abbreviations, don’t use the Honorable. ‘The Honorable’ is never used with post-nominals:

—-YES: The Honorable (First name. last name)
—-YES: (First name. last name), JD
—-NO: The Honorable (first name. last name), JD

I’ve seen elected members of the US Senate referred to in a law journal as (Name), JD. The journal then went on to identify his office held after his name. This is clear and makes sense in the context.

– Robert Hickey How to Address a City County or State Judge

Not Finding Your Question Answered?

—-#1)  At right on desktops, at the bottom of every page on tablets and phones, is a list of all the offices, officials & topics covered on the site.

—-#2)  After checking the list and reading the posts, if you don’t see your question answered send me an e-mail. I am pretty fast at sending a reply: usually the next day or so (unless I am traveling.)  Note: I don’t have mailing or Email addresses for any of the officials and I don’t keep track of offices that exist only in history books.

—-#3)  If I think your question is of interest to others, I will post the question & answer – always changing the names and specifics.

— Robert Hickey

The Protocol School of Washington (PSOW) was founded in 1988 and offers open-enrollment, classroom-based programs where students learn to become a licensed Intercultural Etiquette and Protocol Trainer, or can earn a certificate in operational protocol by completing Protocol Officer Training. Private, on-site training is also available to provide tailored training solutions. In 2020, PSOW launched online, instructor-led training to meet the needs of students worldwide.

PSOW has offices in: Washington, DC; Columbia, SC; and Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The school is nationally accredited by the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET) and provides international protocol, cross-cultural awareness, business etiquette, and image training preparing professionals to build lasting business relationships.


Protocol and Diplomacy International – Protocol Officers Association promotes the protocol profession and raises awareness of its central role in business and diplomacy through education and networking. PDI-POA’s mission is to share the highest level of collective expertise, training, information and advice regarding accepted rules of protocol. PDI-POA is committed to facilitating communication, understanding and cooperation among individuals, governments and cultures around the globe.