Watching the recent Uber cup, I noticed that the line judge on the right is extending his arm (the sign for In), although the shuttle was out by quite a bit. Luckily, the line judge at the top is correctly showing that the shuttle was out by extending both arms to the sides.

Two line judges showing different signs

Has the judge made an obvious mistake, or is something else going on here?

  • 2
    I note that you were probably downvoted for the tone of the question. Personally, I don't find this question outside of what is respectful discourse, but just a heads-up that other users, particularly those from collectivist/authoritarian cultures may. I have upvoted to cancel out the downvote. May 24, 2016 at 5:04
  • @studro Thanks for the pointer. I was assuming many users would be searching for badminton line judge blind or badminton line judge incompetent.
    – phihag
    May 24, 2016 at 7:35

1 Answer 1


Badminton line judges only judge their line.

If the shuttle comes anywhere near their line, they either signal In, Out, or Unsighted, but only relative to their line.

The umpire will look at both line judges; if any of the two signals Out, the shuttle is regarded out. Line judges can skip the signal if the decision is obvious, i.e. the shuttle landed and rested more than roughly a meter inside.

At lower-level tournaments with less line judges per court, line judges may be assigned to multiple lines, for example back line, one half of a side line, and doubles service line. In this case, the line judge indicates the composite result.

  • Exactly what I would have expected. Your line is yours; anything else is not. If it lands three metres clear of end but an inch inside sideline, that's "in" so far as the sideline judge is concerned.
    – Nij
    May 25, 2016 at 8:46
  • @Nij Then luckily your intuition maches the ruleset in this case. I've heard this question (usually phrased as a statement) many times, and I can even remember thinking it myself when I watched my very first high-level Badminton match.
    – phihag
    May 25, 2016 at 8:53
  • My intuition with rules has been well-honed, given the detail of technicality that some rulsets apply! Of course though, one should always refer to an authoritative source - and repeat that reference often, just in case it's changed.
    – Nij
    May 25, 2016 at 9:18

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