Judge asks jury if it is OK to call them 'ladies and gentlemen'

Judge asks murder trial jury if it is OK to call them ‘ladies and gentlemen’ in bid to avoid upsetting non-binary people

  • Mr Justice Eyre asked the jury whether it was ‘traditional, offensive or exclusive’
  • Read more: Elite Bird College in London asks staff to declare their pronouns

A judge asked jurors on a murder trial whether addressing them as ‘ladies and gentlemen’ would upset anyone as he tried to avoid excluding non-binary people.

Mr Justice Eyre asked the jury whether they felt his use of the phrase was too ‘traditional, offensive or exclusive’ at the start of a trial at Mold Crown Court in North Wales, according to The Telegraph.

His concern comes after new guidance requires judges to consider the feelings of anybody – including criminals – when they address them in court.

Stephen John Arthur Eyre was called to the Bar in 1981 and took a Silk in 2015

Members of the bench are urged to treat all court users ‘respectfully’ and think about how their ‘words and behaviour can affect others’, according to the Courts and Tribunals Judiciary. 

After opening the trial by saying ‘ladies and gentleman’, Mr Justice Eyre reportedly said: ‘I know not everyone takes that view. Some people think it’s old-fashioned or offensive or excludes people who don’t identify as binary.

‘If any one of you would prefer me to address you as members of the jury, not ladies and gentlemen, please give a note saying that and I will switch.’

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