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How to write an apology letter to a judge

Updated March 16, 2017

If you have been ordered to present an apology to a court or if you just feel compelled to offer an apology to a judge, you want to write a proper letter. Take your time as you put your words on paper and follow these steps to create an appropriate apology letter.

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  1. Provide return address. Put your full name and mailing address at the top of the letter. This can either be centred or flushed to the left side of the page.

  2. Include the date. If you are presenting the letter in court and want the date to reflect the day you will appear, use that date.

  3. Address the judge. The proper way to address a judge in a letter is with the word "honorable" in front of his name. For instance, "The Honorable Wayne Smith" would be the first line of the address section. The next line would be the court he presides over such as "Judge, Marlow County Court." Follow that with the street address, city, state and postcode.

  4. Reference the case number, If you have a court case number, by spacing down one line, then typing, "RE: Case" and then the number of your case.

  5. Write the body of your letter. Open your letter with, "Dear Judge Smith," followed by an explanation of why you are writing the judge. If you exhibited poor behaviour in court on October 1, 2010, you might state, "Your honour, I want to sincerely apologise for my rude and inappropriate behaviour during a court hearing before you on October 1, 2010." If you have committed a crime and the court expects a public apology, you could say, "Your honour, I am writing this letter to publicly apologise to you and the citizens of my community for vandalising the Main Street Park on September 8." After you open the letter with an explanation of why you are writing the apology, go into detail about what you have done and how sorry you are. Be sincere and specific.

  6. Conclude your letter. Close your letter by reiterating your apology. For example, "In closing, I would again like to tell you how sorry I am for burglarising the homes in my neighbourhood. I assure you I will behave appropriately in the future." Then close your letter with a "Sincerely" or "Thank you" and sign your name.

  7. Tip

    Spellcheck your letter and have someone with good English skills proofread for grammatical errors.

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About the Author

Kelli Peacock Dunn has been a news editor and photographer since 1998, working at a weekly newspaper in Northwest Florida. Her articles have also appeared in "Panama City Living" magazine and "The Lookout."

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