A JUDGE has been criticised after banning defendants in his South Yorkshire court from using the word ‘love’.
John Foster, who has been appointed Barnsley’s new district judge insists men appearing before him should refer to female court staff as ‘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’.
Judge Foster, 64, said later: “It is important that anyone who comes to court shows proper and due respect.
“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.”
But 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.”
Keith Madeley, from the Yorkshire Society, which encourages business and all things Yorkshire, said: “I think that you’ve got to be careful that you don’t lose the affectionate terms that we use for each other as part of our regional dialects.”
Best-selling Barnsley author Milly Johnson added: “I’m sure this man didn’t mean to be offensive in court. It’s just a friendly term that is probably used more in Barnsley than anywhere else in the county.”