When to capitalize “court”

The rules for when to capitalize “Court” are simple. Capitalize it when referring to the court that you are addressing or to the U.S. Supreme Court. Also capitalize “court” when referring to the highest court to which the court you are addressing must defer about the legal matter at hand, such as a state supreme court on an issue of state law. Otherwise, don’t capitalize “court.”

In legal writing, “court” is often used in a metonymic sense, as a replacement word for “judge.” “The Court decided…” really means that the judge or some judicial panel did so. This usage is not an error, but can read strangely in some sentences. (E.g. “The Court chastised Brown for his repeated speaking objections.”) Be aware of this and consider using “judge” instead.

“Judge,” by the way, should be capitalized only when used as a title (“Judge Andrews”) or when referring to the judge whom you are addressing.

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