Don’t call me love in court - Barnsley judge gets tough on Yorkshire dialect

A JUDGE has been criticised after banning defendants in his court from using the word “love”, a friendly term used for generations of Yorkshiremen towards members of the opposite sex.

John Foster, who has been appointed Barnsley’s new district judge, insists men appearing before him should refer to female court staff at “ma’am”.

The judge decided to act when legal adviser Pam Bower checked the identity of a 42 year old local man and he replied “Yes, love”.

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The man, who was on remand and appeared on a video link, was freed from custody on conditional bail.

Judge Foster, 64, says he wants defendants to show respect to court staff.

“It is important that anyone who comes to court shows proper and due respect,” he said later.

“Courts are solemn places and serious. They are not places for chatty discussions in relaxed surroundings.

“There is a lack of respect in this country at the moment and courts have to maintain proper standards.”

Judge Foster, who was standing in at Barnsley Magistrates Court, is replacing Michael Rosenburg who has retired and starts full time on December 5.

He has been district judge at Rotherham for more than 10 years and previously worked for a Leeds law firm as a defence solicitor for 30 years.

However, Graeme Garvey, of the Yorkshire Dialect Society, said: “The judge is being discriminatory in insisting on Standard English usage over traditional Yorkshire dialect , the English spoken here since the Anglo-Saxon settlement.

“Love is a non-sexual term which has been and is used by people of both genders to people of both genders. It is a term of endearment.

“This is most insensitive to the linguistic traditions of the area and it seems a great shame to risk losing the wonderful variety of language we have in this country by banning certain expressions.”