Proper Way to Address a Judge in a Cover Letter

Updated February 21, 2017

As judges are people of distinction in society and preside over the law, it is important that the tone of your communication with a judge be honest and respectful. It is the judge's interpretation of your statement of facts that usually determines the results of a case so it is critical to use the proper tone and word choice.

Return Address

Use the title "The Honorable [First Name] [Last Name] Associate Justice, U.S. District Court" in the recipient address portion of your cover letter. This portion is typically located below the date and your address. Since "Honorable" is a title specific to a judge, you do not need to include the word judge in the title.


Address the judge in this section as "Judge [Last Name]" in the salutation line. The salutation line of a letter is reserved for a less formal or shortened version of the title used in the formal recipient address.

Reference Your Case

Include the case number of subject of your letter at the beginning of your cover letter so that the judge immediately knows what the letter is referencing. This can be done by inserting the line "RE: [Subject] / [Case Number]" above the salutation.

Brevity and Clarity

Avoid mentioning case evidence in your letter to the judge, says the Women's Justice Center of Santa Rosa, CA. Keep your purpose clear in the first paragraph and quickly wrap up your point in less than a page, if possible. Judges maintain busy schedules, and a clear, concise point is invaluable.

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About the Author

Lanae Carr has been an entertainment and lifestyle writer since 2002. She began as a staff writer for the entertainment section of the "Emory Wheel" and she writes for various magazines and e-newsletters related to marketing and entertainment. Carr graduated from Emory University with a bachelor's degree in film studies and English.