Battle judge

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If you were looking for the NPC in the Pokémon games who assesses a Pokémon's IVs, see Stats judge.
Battle judge Olivier

A battle judge (Japanese: バトル審判 battle referee), also known as a referee, is a person who presides over the judgment of Pokémon battles between Trainers in official, designated challenges in the anime. They are identifiable by the Poké Ball symbol on their shirts.


A battle judge is responsible for determining whether or not a Pokémon is able to continue battling. They can be found in Pokémon League Conferences and several other Pokémon competitions featuring battles. They are in charge of officially beginning a match and upholding its rules, such as how many Pokémon a Trainer is allowed to use and if there are any substitution limitations.

Battle judges have to make it clear to all of the Trainers involved what the parameters of the match are. The terms for a win are also in their ruling, as in what is required for a Trainer to lose the match. In general practice, the default appears to be until all of the available Pokémon on one side have fainted.

Pokémon battles conducted at Gyms and Battle Frontier facilities are also observed by an appointed judge. These are, most of the time, a capable student, intern, assistant, or even a relative to the Gym Leader or Frontier Brain who assist in calling battles against the challenger. Robots can also referee battles, as seen in the Battle Palace, the Sunyshore Gym, and the Lumiose Gym. In a similar capacity, it is shown in JN018 that offical battles in the Pokémon World Championships are presided over by a Rotom Drone.

The Sunyshore Gym referee

The calls made by a referee are official and determine the outcome of the battle. This is not the case in most Kanto Gyms, where there is no referee present to rule, except in the case of Agatha in the Viridian Gym, who allowed Scott to judge her match against Ash; the Gym Leaders primarily self-judged the match.

Gym Leaders themselves are qualified judges. Brock has provided judgment for many battles over the course of the series, Roark presided over an official Gym match between Byron and Ash, and Flannery's grandfather—the former Lavaridge Gym Leader—took up the position as the judge for Flannery's match against Ash.

According to Brock, there are not many judges capable of evaluating a battle at the level necessary for battles sanctioned by the Pokémon League. Max hints at the profession's prestige and esteem: given that so few are capable of judging a League battle, simply being able to is an honor.

In Alola's trials, the residing Island Kahuna typically watches over the Trainer's battle with the Totem Pokémon. During Ash's grand trials against Hala and Olivia, Professor Kukui has judged in the Kahuna's stead. In his grand trials against Nanu and Hapu, Acerola and Kiawe took on the role of referee, respectively. During the Manalo Conference, all four Kahunas serve as referees.


A female referee

Judges are trained to critically evaluate the battlefield, which includes the Pokémon, the Trainers, and the field itself, if the terrain is not ordinary. They have to be able to recognize when a Pokémon has fainted and announce a winner through defeat, by determining all aspects of a Pokémon, including its type-cast and what a species as a whole is capable of.

The training a person must go through to become a judge was shown in Judgment Day!. In the Hoenn region, aspiring battle judges study at the Pokémon Battle Judge Training Institute located on Bomba Island, where Serena teaches and Jimmy studied.

Their ruling is usually absolute, so making the correct call is imperative to the eventual announcement of a match. A wrong call might lead to the questioning of a judge's abilities to referee, especially in a professional setting. According to Serena, a battle judge must have confidence that the decision and ruling they are making is correct, otherwise it leaves room for error.

Notable battle judges

See also: List of Gym assistants

In the TCG

This listing is of cards mentioning or featuring Judges in the Pokémon Trading Card Game.

Cards listed with a blue background are only legal to use in the current Expanded format.
Cards listed with a silver background are legal to use in both the current Standard and Expanded formats.
Card Type English
Rarity # Japanese
Rarity #
Judge Su Unleashed Uncommon 78/95 Metagross Deck U 014/014
      Raichu Battle Starter Deck   011/011
BREAKthrough Uncommon 143/162 Noivern BREAK Evolution Pack   009/010
      BREAK Starter Pack   065/072
Forbidden Light Uncommon 108/131 Forbidden Light U 087/094
      Thunderclap Spark U 057/060
Lost Thunder Rare Ultra 209/214 Thunderclap Spark SR 066/060
      GX Starter Decks   119/131
      Tag Bolt U 085/095
      Tag Team GX Deck Build Box   023/029
      SM-P Promotional cards   334/SM-P
      Remix Bout   057/064
Judge Whistle I Team Up Uncommon 146/181 Tag Bolt U 078/095
Team Up Rare Secret 194/181 Tag Bolt UR 117/095

In the TFG

Judge appears as a unique type of figure at the Pokémon Trading Figure Game, allowing to be used as a substitute for a coin flip.

In other languages

Language Title
Denmark Flag.png Danish Dommer
The Netherlands Flag.png Dutch Rechter
Finland Flag.png Finnish Tuomari
Italy Flag.png Italian Arbitro di lotta
Norway Flag.png Norwegian Dommer
Poland Flag.png Polish Sędzia
Brazil Flag.png Brazilian Portuguese Árbitro
Russia Flag.png Russian Судья Sud'ya
Spanish CELAC Flag.png Latin America Árbitro Pokémon
Spain Flag.png Spain Juez Pokémon
Sweden Flag.png Swedish Domare

See also

LyraChallenge.png The Pokémon League VSLance.png
TrainerBattleGym Leaders
Championship matches
Elite FourOrange League
Champion League
Pokémon League Conferences
IndigoSilverEver GrandeLily of the Valley
Regional Pokémon Leagues
Areas of jurisdiction
Pokémon League Reception GateHall of Fame
Palace of VictoryCerulean Cave
Pokémon Association
Pokémon Inspection Agency

Project Anime logo.png This article is part of Project Anime, a Bulbapedia project that covers all aspects of the Pokémon anime.