THE ADVOCATE 289
VOL. 79 PART 2 MARCH 2021
By R.C. Tino Bella*
The following letter was sent to the Chief Justice and
Associate Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of British
Columbia and the Chief Justice of British Columbia.
We have been asked to publish it for our readers.
Dear Chief Justices,
Re: Forms of Address for Justices
The COVID-19 pandemic has
been challenging for the courts and
the legal profession but has also
provided opportunities for reform.
For example, the courts have
embraced the use of technology
such as online conferencing to al
low virtual proceedings.
On December 16, 2020, the
Supreme Court of British Columbia
issued Practice Direction PD-59 on
forms of address for counsel and parties.
Absent from that direction was
the subject of forms of address for
justices. In my humble opinion, the
time is right to address that issue.
As you know, we address justices
as “My Lord” and “My Lady”
and sometimes refer to them as
“Your Lordship” and “Your Lady-
ship”. Apart from the fact that these
titles are not gender-neutral, they
are a relic of feudal Europe and
have as much place in the modern
Canadian courtroom as the barrister’s
wig. With respect, I believe
they are demeaning to counsel,
court staff and parties, and I suspect
awkward, if not somewhat
embarrassing, for many justices.
As guardians of the rule of law
and the face of justice in Canadian
society, courts should adopt modern
and dignified honorifics that engender
respect. The Supreme Court of
Canada has been using “Justice” or
“Justice X” for several years, and the
title “Your Honour” used in our
Provincial Court is simple, genderneutral
and respectful. Either of
those forms of address would be
preferable to what we use now.
Nicholas J. Preovolos
* Grumbles may be e-mailed to <firstname.lastname@example.org>. Grumbles published do not necessarily reflect the views of the
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