There are two styles of address for individuals in the legal profession: judicial and social. In most circumstances the social form of address is used - a polite but slightly less deferential style of approach than the very rigid form that was followed in the last century. The formal styles of address may be found in the published edition of Debrett's Correct Form.
There are three legal systems in the UK; English law, Scottish law and Northern Irish law.
The Appellate Committee of the House of Lords is the highest court in the land for all criminal and civil cases in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and for civil cases in Scotland.
The English and Welsh court system is headed by the Supreme Court of England and Wales, consisting of the Court of Appeal, the High Court of Justice (civil) and Crown court (criminal). Northern Irish courts follow the same pattern.
In Scotland the chief court for civil cases is the Court of Session, while the High Court of Justiciary has responsibility for criminal cases.
The Attorney General is the chief law officer for The Crown in England and Wales, representing The Crown and government departments in court.
The Lord Chief Justice is the overall head of the judiciary in England and Wales. The Lord Chancellor, no longer a judge himself, exercises disciplinary authority over the judges, and is responsible for appointing judges.
The Master of the Rolls is the head of the Civil Division of the Court of Appeal. The President of the Queen's Bench Division, the President of the Family Division and The Chancellor of the High Court, each head the three divisions of the High Court.
Judges of the House of Lords are known as Lords of Appeal; they are also Privy Counsellors.
Judges of the Court of Appeal are known as Lord Justices; they are also Privy Counsellors.
High Court judges are not normally Privy Counsellors. The remaining hierarchy in England consists of Circuit Judges; Recorders (part-time Circuit Judges); Masters and Registrars; District Judges (who sit in the Crown Courts and the Magistrates' Courts); Deputy District Judges and Magistrates.
The Lord President of the Head of Court of Session is head of the judiciary in Scotland, as well as being the presiding judge at the Court of Justice and Court of Session. The Lord Justice Clerk is the second most senior judge in Scotland.
Sheriff Courts are the local courts of the Scottish system, dealing with family law, civil and criminal cases. A Sheriff is a judge who is appointed to sit in a specific court.
The Scottish Land Court was established in 1911. Its purpose is to resolve disputes arising in connection with agricultural holdings and crofts landholders.