Lord Justice of Appeal

Not to be confused with Lady Justice.

A Lord Justice of Appeal is an ordinary judge of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales, the court that hears appeals from the High Court of Justice and the Crown Court, and represents the second highest level of judge in the courts of England and Wales. Despite the title, and unlike the former Lords of Appeal in Ordinary, they are not necessarily peers.


The number of Lord Justices of Appeal was fixed at five by the Supreme Court of Judicature Act 1881, but has since been increased. Lord Justices of Appeal are selected from the ranks of senior judges, in practice High Court judges with lengthy experience, appointed by the Monarch on the recommendation of the Prime Minister.


Applications for permission to appeal a ruling of an inferior court (usually from the Crown Court in criminal matters and the High Court of Justice in civil matters but in some instances from a County Court) are heard by a single Lord Justice of Appeal. A full appeal is heard by three Lord Justices of Appeal in the Civil Division. In the Criminal Division, a single Lord Justice of Appeal hears appeals against conviction with two other judges of the Court of Appeal Criminal Division (typically, two High Court judges, or one High Court judge and one senior circuit judge). Appeals against sentence may be heard by a single Lord Justice of Appeal with another judge, or by two High Court judges.

Title and form of address

In court, a Lord Justice of Appeal is referred to as My Lord or Your Lordship if male, or as My Lady or Your Ladyship if female. The style of "Lord Justice of Appeal" was prescribed by the Supreme Court of Judicature Act 1877, although "Lady Justice" is used in practice by women. When there is already or has until recently been a judge with the same surname as a new appointee, the new judge will often use a first name as part of his or her judicial title. Many judges have done this, such as Lord Justice Lawrence Collins (Sir Lawrence Antony Collins).

When referring to a Lord Justice of Appeal in a legal context, the judge is identified by use of the surname (or first name and surname if appropriate), followed by the letters "LJ". For example, Lord Justice Bloggs or Lady Justice Bloggs would be referred to as "Bloggs LJ". Where several judges are listed the double letters 'LJJ' are used; for example, "Bloggs, Smith and Jones LJJ".

All Lord Justices of Appeal hold knighthoods, granted upon appointment to the High Court (men are usually made a Knight Bachelor and women a Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (DBE)). By convention Lords Justices of Appeal are appointed to the Privy Council, entitling them to the honorific "The Right Honourable".

Court dress

Formerly, in all instances in court, a Lord Justice of Appeal's apparel consisted of a black silk gown, court coat or waistcoat and a short bench wig. In cases heard by the Court of Appeal Criminal Division, this remains the court dress. In cases heard in the Civil Division, judges wear a one-piece, zip-up robe onto which are stitched vertical, gold, clerical bands and no wig. These bands are red for High Court judges and blue for District Judges. On ceremonial occasions more elaborate robes and wigs are worn.

See also

Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Lords Justices of Appeal". Encyclop√¶dia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

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