It is always a smart idea to respectfully address the judges as "Your Honor" or "Judge." It shows deference and respect. Best of luck with your hearing!
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The DES appeals referees are not judges. That said, addressing them respectfully is always a good idea. I wouldn't use "judge" or "your honor," as those are honorifics generally reserved for judges. Learn his or her last name, and address him or her as "Referee LASTNAME."
I agree with Attorney Hensel. However, keep in mind that there are two types of hearing officials: Appeals Referees and Hearing Officers. It will say on your notice which position the person holds. Be careful to call them the right thing. Appeals Referees must be NC licensed attorneys and they are higher in the pecking order. They tend to get a little prickly if you refer to them as Hearing Officers.
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