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Encyclopedia > Magistrate

A magistrate is a judicial officer.They must have studied law and they must have been a lawyer for at least 5 year, then they can become a Magistrate. In common law systems a magistrate usually has limited authority to administer and enforce the law. In civil law systems a magistrate may be a judge of a superior court. In some jurisdictions, such as Australia, the term has become both Federal Magistrates and state magistrates have jurisdiction similar to a judge. A magistrate's court may have jurisdiction in civil cases, criminal cases, or both. A related, but not always equivalent, term is Chief Magistrate, which (historically) can refer to political and administrative as well as judicial officers. This article concerns the common-law legal system, as contrasted with the civil law legal system; for other meanings of the term, within the field of law, see common law (disambiguation). ... Lady Justice or Justitia is a personification of the moral force that underlies the legal system (particularly in Western art). ... Civil law or Continental law or Romano-Germanic law is the predominant system of law in the world. ... The Federal Magistrates Court of Australia was established by the Federal Magistrates Act 1999 (Cth), although its first officers were not appointed until 2000. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... In the common law, civil law refers to the area of law governing relations between private individuals. ... Criminal law (also known as penal law) is the body of statutory and common law that deals with crime and the legal punishment of criminal offenses. ... Chief Magistrate is a generic designation for a Magistrate whose office -individual or collegial- is the highest in his class, in either of the fundamental meanings of Magistrate (which often overlapped in the Ancient régime): as a major political and administrative office (in a republican form of government, at...



Derived from Middle English word "magistrat" known since c.1374, "civil officer in charge of administering laws", from Old French magistrat, from Latin "magistratus", from magister "master", itself from contrastive adjective from the adverb magis "more", itself a comparative degree of magnus ("great"). Middle English is the name given by historical linguistics to the diverse forms of the English language spoken between the Norman invasion of 1066 and the mid-to-late 15th century, when the Chancery Standard, a form of London-based English, began to become widespread, a process aided by the... Old French was the Romance dialect continuum spoken in territories corresponding roughly to the northern half of modern France and parts of Belgium and Switzerland from around 1000 to 1300 A.D. It was known at the time as the langue doïl to distinguish it from the langue...

Original meaning

In Roman antiquity, the word magistratus was created to indicate the highest offices of state, and analogous offices in the local authorities such as municipium, which were subordinate only to the legislature of which they generally were members, often even ex officio), and often combined judicial and executive power, together constituting one jurisdiction. In Rome itself, the highest magistrates were members of the so-called cursus honorum -'career of honors'. Magistratus ordinarii (ordinary magistrates) and Magistratus extraordinarii (extraordinary magistrates) were two categories of officials who held political, military, and, in some cases, religious power in the Roman Republic. ... Ordinary Magistrates Extraordinary Magistrates Titles and Honors Emperor Politics and Law The cursus honorum (Latin: course of honour) was the sequential order of public offices held by aspiring politicians in both the Roman Republic and the early Empire. ...

The term was maintained in most feudal successor states to the western Roman Empire, mainly Germanic kingdoms, especially in city-states, where the term magistrate was also used as an abstract generic term, denoting the highest office, regardless of the formal titles (e.g. Consul, Mayor, Doge), even when that was actually a council. The term "chief magistrate" applied to the highest official, in sovereign entities the head of state and/or head of government. Motto Senatus Populusque Romanus (SPQR) The Roman Empire at its greatest extent. ... Chief Magistrate is a generic designation for a Magistrate whose office -individual or collegial- is the highest in his class, in either of the fundamental meanings of Magistrate (which often overlapped in the Ancient régime): as a major political and administrative office (in a republican form of government, at... Head of state or Chief of state is the generic term for the individual or collective office that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchic or republican nation-state, federation, commonwealth or any other political state. ... The Head of Government is the chief officer of the executive branch of a government, often presiding over a cabinet. ...

Continental Europe and its former colonies

Under the civil law systems of European countries such as Italy, Spain, Belgium and France, "magistrate" is a generic term which comprises both prosecutors and judges (distinguished as 'standing' versus 'sitting' magistrature). It should be noted that the legal systems of these countries are not identical, and thus show some relevant differences in the judiciary organization.

As for Italy, the role of prosecutors and the role of judges is radically different; they have different powers and different responsibilities. It is true that a prosecutor can become a judge and vice versa; but this can only happen in different stages of one's career, and never in the same trial. Anti-corruption magistrates (they actually were, or are, public prosecutors) in Italy have in recent years played a key role in fighting criminal organizations such as the Mafia. Antonio di Pietro, Paolo Borsellino and Gherardo Colombo are among the most famous, as was Giovanni Falcone, who was murdered in 1992 by a Mafia bomb in Palermo. The bomb also killed his wife and three bodyguards, and galvanized Italian public opinion against the Mafia. The Mafia (also known as Cosa Nostra), is an Italian criminal secret society which first developed in the mid-19th century in Sicily. ... Antonio di Pietro Antonio Di Pietro (born Montenero di Bisaccia, Italy, October 2, 1950) is an Italian Senator and was a magistrate in the team of the so-called Mani Pulite. Born to a poor rural family of Molise, very young he went Germany to work as a waiter in... Paolo Borsellino (January 19, 1940 - July 19, 1992) was an Italian anti-Mafia magistrate. ... Giovanni Falcone during the Maxi Trial Giovanni Falcone, (May 18, 1939 – May 23, 1992) was an Italian magistrate who specialised in prosecuting Cosa Nostra crimes. ... For other uses, see Palermo (disambiguation). ...

In Finland, a magistrate is a state-appointed local administrative officer whose responsibilities include population information, public registers, acting as a public notary and conducting civil marriages and same-sex unions. An Embossed Notary Seal. ...


In Mexico a Magistrado, or magistrate, is a superior judge just below the Supreme Court Justices (Ministros de la Corte Suprema in Mexico) in the Federal Law System and the highest ranking judge of any State. They review the cases seen by a judge in a second term if any of the parties does not agree with the verdict. In some special cases, there are Superior Magistrates, that review the verdicts of other magistrates in special Courts or Tribunals.

English common law tradition

United Kingdom

In the courts of England and Wales, magistrates - also known as Justices of the Peace - hear prosecutions for and dispose of 'summary offences', by making orders in regard to and placing additional requirements on offenders. Magistrates' sentencing powers extend to shorter periods of custody (maximum of six months), fines, community orders which can include curfews, electronic tagging, requirements to perform unpaid work up to 300 hours or supervision up to 3 years and or a miscellany of other options. Magistrates hear committal proceedings for certain offences, and establish whether sufficient evidence exists to pass the case to a higher court for trial and sentencing. Magistrates have power to pass summary offenders to higher courts for sentencing when, in the opinion of the magistrate, a penalty greater than can be given in magistrates' court is warranted. A wide range of other legal matters are within the remit of magistrates. In the past, magistrates have been responsible for granting licences to sell alcohol, for instance, but this function is now exercised by local councils though there is a right of appeal to the magistrates' court. Magistrates are also responsible for granting search warrants to the police, therefore it used to be a requirement that they live within a 15 mile radius of the area they preside over (the commission area) in case they are needed to sign a warrant out of hours. However, commission areas were replaced with Local Justice Areas by the Courts Act 2003, meaning magistrates no longer need to live within 15 miles, although, in practice, many still do. (However see section 9 of the Official Secrets Act 1911.) Schematic of court system for England and Wales The United Kingdom does not have a single unified judicial system—England and Wales have one system, Scotland another, and Northern Ireland a third. ... The Courts Act 2003 is a UK Act of Parliament implementing many of the recommendations in Sir Robin Aulds (a Court of Appeal judge) Review of the Criminal Courts in England and Wales (also known as the Auld Review). The White Paper which preceded the Act was published by... Official Secrets Act warning sign, Foulness. ...

There are two types of magistrate in England and Wales: lay magistrates and legal professionals permanently employed by the Ministry of Justice (United Kingdom) (until May 2007, the Department for Constitutional Affairs). The first group of about 30,000 people, known as lay Justices of the Peace, sit voluntarily. Half of them are women. Motto (French) God and my right Anthem No official anthem specific to England — the United Kingdom anthem is God Save the Queen. ... This article is about the country. ... The Ministry of Justice is a department of the government of the United Kingdom, reorganized from the former Department for Constitutional Affairs. ... The Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA) is a United Kingdom government department. ... A justice of the peace (JP) is a puisne judicial officer appointed by means of a commission to keep the peace. ...

No formal qualifications are required but magistrates need intelligence, common sense, integrity and the capacity to act fairly. Membership is widely spread throughout the area covered and drawn from all walks of life. Police officers, traffic wardens and members of the armed forces, as well as their close relatives will not be appointed, nor will those convicted of certain criminal offences including recent minor offences. All magistrates receive three days training, which covers basic law and procedure, before sitting, and continue to receive training throughout their service, which is mostly made up of annual 'refresher courses.' Additional training is given to magistrates in the Youth Court, or those dealing with family matters. New magistrates sit with, and are encouraged to learn from more experienced magistrates. A Traffic Warden is a member of civilian staff employed by a British police force to assist in regulating the flow of traffic. ... US 1979 and 2002 Reissue Cover Also known as paint spatter cover For the military meaning, see Armed forces. ...

Magistrates are unpaid volunteers but they may receive allowances to cover travelling expenses and subsistence. They are appointed to their local bench, (a colloquial and legal term for the local court), and are provided with advice, especially on sentencing, by a legally qualified Clerk to the Justices. They will normally sit as a panel of three. Most are members of the Magistrates' Association, which provides advice, training and sentencing guidelines and represents the 30,000 lay magistrates to the Government.

The second group, professional magistrates, are nowadays known as District Judges (Magistrates' Court), although hitherto they were known as Stipendiary Magistrates (which is to say, magistrates who received a stipend or payment). Unlike lay magistrates, District Judges (Magistrates' Court) sit alone and have the authority to sit in any magistrates' court.

In Scotland, the lowest level of law-court, the District Court, is presided over by a Justice of the Peace. The District Courts are to be replaced with Justice of the Peace Courts beginning in Lothian and Borders Sheriffdom in December 2007. Motto (Latin) No one provokes me with impunity Cha togar mfhearg gun dioladh (Scottish Gaelic) Wha daur meddle wi me?(Scots)1 Anthem (Multiple unofficial anthems) Scotlands location in Europe Capital Edinburgh Largest city Glasgow Official languages English (de facto) Recognised regional languages Gaelic, Scots1 Demonym Scot, Scots... A justice of the peace (JP) is a puisne judicial officer appointed by means of a commission to keep the peace. ...


Federal Magistrate

A Federal Magistrate occupies an office created in 1999. The Federal Magistrates' Court of Australia deals with more minor Commonwealth law matters which had previously been heard by the Federal Court (administrative law, bankruptcy, consumer protection, trade practices, human rights and copyright) or the Family Court (divorce, residence (or custody) and contact (or access) of the children, property division upon divorce, maintenance and child support). The court's name is misleading, in that it exercises a jurisdiction well in excess of that of the state magistrates' courts, and similar to that of the District and County courts of the Australian states. The Federal Magistrates Court of Australia was established by the Federal Magistrates Act 1999 (Cth), although its first officers were not appointed until 2000. ... The English noun commonwealth dates originally from the fifteenth century. ... In Melbourne, the Federal Court is housed with other federal courts such as the High Court and the Federal Magistrates Court in the Federal Court Building on the corner of La Trobe Street and William Street The Federal Court of Australia is the Australian court in which most civil disputes... Administrative law in the United States often relates to, or arises from, so-called independent agencies- such as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Here is FTCs headquarters in Washington D.C. Administrative law (or regulatory law) is the body of law that arises from the activities of administrative agencies... Notice of closure stuck on the door of a computer store the day after its parent company, Granville Technology Group Ltd, declared bankruptcy (strictly, put into administration—see text) in the United Kingdom. ... Consumer protection is a form of government regulation which protects the interests of consumers. ... Human rights are rights which some hold to be inalienable and belonging to all humans. ... Copyright symbol Copyright is a set of exclusive rights regulating the use of a particular expression of an idea or information. ... It has been suggested that Australian family law be merged into this article or section. ... Child custody and guardianship are legal terms which are sometimes used to describe the legal and practical relationship between a parent and his or her child, such as the right of the parent to make decisions for the child, and the parents duty to care for the child. ... In many countries, child support or child maintenance is the ongoing obligation for a periodic payment made by a non-custodial parent to a custodial parent, caregiver or guardian, for the care and support of children of a relationship or marriage that has been terminated. ...

The Federal and Family Courts continue, but the Federal Magistrates hear shorter or less complex matters or matters in which the monetary sum in disputes does not exceed given amounts. For instance property divisions where the total assets are AUD $700,000 or less and consumer law matters (trade practices) where the amount claimed is less than $750,000. However, in some areas, such as bankruptcy and copyright, the court has unlimited jurisdiction.

The Federal Magistrates’ Court has assumed a significant part of the work load of the two superior courts. By 2004/05 the court was dealing with 73% of the total number of applications made in the three courts (see the Annual Report of the Federal Magistrates' Court 2004/2005).

State Magistrate

The State Magistrates in Australia derive from the English Magistrates. All Magistrates are salaried officers, and must be legally qualified and experienced to be eligible to be appointed. The states and territories of Australia make up the Commonwealth of Australia under a federal system of government. ...

The jurisdiction of the Magistrates varies from State to State. They preside over courts which are, depending on the State, called Magistrates’ Courts, Local Courts or Courts of Petty Sessions. This article does not cite any references or sources. ... There are over 160 Local Courts in NSW. Local Court cases are heard by a magistrate without a jury. ...

Magistrates hear bail applications, motor licensing applications, applications for orders restraining a given individual from approaching a specific person (“intervention orders” or “apprehended violence orders”), summary criminal matters, the least serious indictable criminal matters, and civil matters where the disputed amount does not exceed AUD $40,000 to AUD $100,000 (depending on the State). This does not cite any references or sources. ... In the law of many common law jurisdictions, a summary offence (or summary offense) is an offence which can be tried without an indictment. ... In many common law jurisdictions (e. ...

In some states such as Queensland and NSW, the Magistrate may appear robed, although some Magistrates are known to prefer a business suit. Magistrates presiding in the Murri Court (which deals with Aboriginal defendants) were originally of a mind not to appear robed; however elders within the Indigenous community urged Magistrates to continue wearing robes to mark the solemnity of the court process to defendants. Robing is being considered for Magistrates in other states; however, neither Counsel nor solicitors appear robed in any Australian Magistrates' court. Robing in summary courts is unlikely to extend to the legal profession. Capital Brisbane Government Constitutional monarchy Governor Quentin Bryce Premier Peter Beattie (ALP) Federal representation  - House seats 28  - Senate seats 12 Gross State Product (2004-05)  - Product ($m)  $158,506 (3rd)  - Product per capita  $40,170/person (6th) Population (End of November 2006)  - Population  4,164,590 (3rd)  - Density  2. ... Slogan or Nickname: First State, Premier State Motto(s): Orta Recens Quam Pura Nites (Newly Risen, How Brightly You Shine) Other Australian states and territories Capital Sydney Government Constitutional monarchy Governor Professor Marie Bashir Premier Morris Iemma (ALP) Federal representation  - House seats 50  - Senate seats 12 Gross State Product (2004... Indigenous Australians are descendants of the first known human inhabitants of the Australian continent and its nearby islands. ... A defendant or defender is any party who is required to answer the complaint of a plaintiff or pursuer in a civil lawsuit before a court, or any party who has been formally charged or accused of violating a criminal statute. ...

Historically Magistrates in Australia have been referred to as “Your Worship”. (From Old English weorthscipe, meaning being worthy of respect.) However, members of the magistracy are now addressed as "Your Honour" in all states. This was partly to recognise the increasing role magistrates play in the administration of justice, but also to recognise the archaic nature of "Your Worship" and the tendency for witnesses and defendants to incorrectly use "Your Honour" in any event. It is also acceptable to address a magistrate simply as Sir or Madam. Old English (also called Anglo-Saxon[1], Old English: ) is an early form of the English language that was spoken in parts of what is now England and southern Scotland between the mid-fifth century and the mid-twelfth century. ...


There are four categories of magistrates in India. This classification is given in the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973. It stipulates that in each sessions district, there shall be

  • A Chief Judicial Magistrate
  • Judicial Magistrates First Class;
  • Judicial Magistrates Second Class; and
  • Executive Magistrates

"Chief Judicial Magistrate" includes Additional Chief Judicial magistrates also. There is a Sub Divisional Judicial magistrate in every Sub Division (SDJM) although he is technically only a Judicial Mgistrate First Class (JMFC). Judicial Magistrates can try criminal cases. A judicial magistrate first class can sentence a person to jail for up to three years and impose a fine of up to Rs 5,000. A judicial magistrate second class can sentence a person to jail for up to one year and impose a fine of up to Rs 3,000.

An Executive Magistrate is an officer of the Executive branch (as opposed to the Judicial branch) who is invested with specific powers under both the CrPC and the Indian Penal Code (IPC). These powers are conferred in the main by the following sections of the CrPC: sections 107-110 and the relevant provisions; sec 133 and sec 144 and the relevant provisions, sec 145& 147 and the relevant provisions. These officers cannot try any accused nor pass verdicts. A person arrested on the orders of a court located outside the local jurisdiction should be produced before an Executive Magistrate who can also set the bail amount for the arrested individual to avoid police custody, depending on the terms of the warrant. The Executive Magistrate also can pass orders restraining persons from committing a particular act or preventing persons from entering an area (Sec 144 CrPC). There is no specific provision to order a "curfew" The Executive Magistrates alone are authorized to use force against people. In plain language, they alone can disperse an "unlawful assembly"; technically, the police is to assist the Executive Magistrate. They can direct the police about the manner of force (baton charge/ tear gas/blank fire/ firing) and also how much force should be used. They can also take the assistance of the Armed Forces to quell a riot. This does not cite any references or sources. ... Warrant has several meanings: In law, a warrant is a form of authorization, such as A writ issued by a judge. ... A curfew can be one of the following: An order by the government or by the childs parents for certain persons to return home daily before a certain time. ... There are very few or no other articles that link to this one. ...

There are, in each Revenue District (as opposed to a Sessions District) the following kinds of Executive Magistrates:

  • one District Magistrate (DM)
  • one or more Additional District Magistrates (ADM)
  • one or more Subdivisional District Magistrates (SDM)and
  • Executive Magistrates

All the Executive Magistrates of the district, except the ADM, are under the control of the DM; for magisterial duties, the ADM reports directly to the government and not to the DM.

These magistracies are normally conferred on the officers of the Revenue Department, although an officer can be appointed exclusively as an Executive Magistrate. Normally, the Collector of the district is appointed as the DM. Similarly, the Sub-Collectors are appointed as the SDMs. Tahsildars and Deputy/Additional Tahsildars are appointed as Executive Magistrates.

Under the old CrPC, there was no distinction between the Executive and Judicial Magistrates; some states still follow the old CrPC, eg. Nagaland; there, the Collector is also the head of the judicial branch of the district and can pass sentences, including capital punishment, under IPC. This article or section is incomplete and may require expansion and/or cleanup. ...

New Zealand

The position of stipendary magistrate in New Zealand was renamed in 1980 to that of district court judge. The position was often known simply as magistrate, or the postnominal initials SM after a magistrate's name in newspapers' court reports.

In the late 1990s, a position of community magistrate was created for district courts on a trial basis; two community magistrates were initially required to sit to consider a case. Some of these community magistrates are still serving.

United States

Magistrates are somewhat less common in the United States than in Europe, but the position does exist in some jurisdictions.

The term "magistrate" is often used (chiefly in judicial opinions) as a generic term for any independent judge who is capable of issuing warrants, reviewing arrests, etc. When used in this way it does not denote a judge with a particular office. Instead, it denotes (somewhat circularly) a judge or judicial officer who is capable of hearing and deciding a particular matter. That capability is defined by statute or by common law. This article does not cite any references or sources. ... In law, a warrant can mean any authorization. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... The Statute of Grand Duchy of Lithuania A statute is a formal, written law of a country or state, written and enacted by its legislative authority, perhaps to then be ratified by the highest executive in the government, and finally published. ... This article concerns the common-law legal system, as contrasted with the civil law legal system; for other meanings of the term, within the field of law, see common law (disambiguation). ...

As noted above, the terms "magistrate" or "chief magistrate" was sometimes used in the early days of the republic to refer to the President of the United States, as in President John Adams's message to the U.S. Senate upon the death of George Washington: "His example is now complete, and it will teach wisdom and virtue to magistrates, citizens, and men, not only in the present age, but in future generations, as long as our history shall be read" (December 19, 1799). For other uses, see President of the United States (disambiguation). ... John Adams, Jr. ... The United States Senate is the upper house of the U.S. Congress, smaller than the United States House of Representatives. ... George Washington (February 22, 1732 – December 14, 1799)[1] led Americas Continental Army to victory over Britain in the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), and in 1789 was elected the first President of the United States of America. ... is the 353rd day of the year (354th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1799 was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ...

Federal judicial system

In the United States federal court system, a magistrate judge is an Article I judge authorized by 28 U.S.C. §§ 631 et seq. Magistrate judges are appointed by the life-term federal district judges of a particular court, serving terms of eight years if full-time, or four years if part-time, and may be reappointed. Magistrate judges conduct a wide range of judicial proceedings to expedite the disposition of the civil and criminal caseloads of the United States District Courts. Congress set forth in the statute powers and responsibilities that could be delegated by district court judges to magistrate judges. To achieve maximum flexibility in meeting the needs of each court, however, it left the actual determination of which duties to assign to magistrate judges to the individual courts. In the United States, a federal court or tribunal can be classified as either an Article I tribunal or an Article III tribunal, in reference to the article of the Constitution from which the tribunals authority stems. ... The United States Code (U.S.C.) is a compilation and codification of the general and permanent federal law of the United States. ... Map of the boundaries of the United States Courts of Appeals and United States District Courts The United States district courts are the general trial courts of the United States federal court system. ...

The authority that a magistrate judge exercises is the jurisdiction of the district court itself, delegated to the magistrate judge by the district judges of the court under governing statutory authority and local rules of court. In criminal proceedings, magistrate judges preside over misdemeanor and petty offense cases, and as to all criminal cases (felony and misdemeanor) may issue search warrants, arrest warrants and summonses, accept criminal complaints, conduct initial appearance proceedings and detention hearings, set bail or other conditions of release or detention, hold preliminary examinations, administer oaths, conduct extradition proceedings, and conduct evidentiary hearings on motions to suppress evidence in felony cases for issuance of reports and recommendations to the district judge. The Supreme Court has also held that federal magistrate judges may accept guilty pleas and supervise the selection of a jury in a felony trial if the parties consent. Please wikify (format) this article or section as suggested in the Guide to layout and the Manual of Style. ...

In civil proceedings, Magistrate Judges may preside over jury or non-jury trials of civil cases of any kind with the consent of the parties. They manage pretrial discovery of civil cases scheduled to be tried before district judges, and issue rulings on discovery disputes. They may also be assigned to handle habeas corpus cases and social security appeals. In common law countries, habeas corpus () (Latin: [We command that] you have the body) is the name of a legal action, or writ, through which a person can seek relief from unlawful detention of themselves or another person. ... Social security primarily refers to a field of social welfare service concerned with social protection, or protection against socially recognized conditions, including poverty, old age, disability, unemployment, families with children and others. ...

All decisions of a magistrate judge are subject to review and either approval, modification or reversal by a district judge of that court, except in civil cases where the parties consent in advance to allow the magistrate judge to exercise the jurisdiction of the district judge.

The office of United States magistrate judge was established by the Federal Magistrates Act of 1968 [Pub. L. No. 90-578,82 Stat. 1107 (1968), codified as amended at 28 U.S.C. 604, 631-639 and 18 U.S.C. 3401-3402]. Its foundation is the United States commissioner system, established in 1793. Commissoners were previously used in federal courts to try petty offense cases committed on federal property, to issue search warrants and arrest warrants, to determine bail for federal defendants and to conduct other initial proceedings in federal criminal cases. The Federal Magistrates Act of 1968, as amended, was enacted by the Congress to create a new federal judicial officer who would (1) assume all the former duties of the commissioners and (2) conduct a wide range of judicial proceedings to expedite the disposition of the civil and criminal caseloads of the United States district courts.

In 1979, Congress expanded federal magistrates' authority to include all misdemeanors recognized by the federal criminal code. Magistrates' titles changed again in 1990, when they became "magistrate judges", symbolizing the ever-increasing importance of their work. The system has worked relatively well in the last 30 years, and has tended to shift the federal courts' caseload to the desired balance. Some legal observers have criticized the increasing powers of magistrate judges, who are neither appointed by the President nor confirmed by the Senate. On the other hand, the selection of a U. S. Magistrate Judge is a merit-based process which, by statute, requires public notice of a vacancy and the appointment of a merit selection panel which includes both lawyers and at least two non-lawyers. The panel is required to consider the attributes of each candidate, including scholarship, experience, knowledge of the court system, and personal attributes such as intelligence, honesty and morality, maturity, demeanor, temperament, and ability to work with others. Applicants for the post must be personally interviewed and recommended for the position.

With the caseload of the federal courts increasing steadily, it is likely that magistrate judges will continue to wield considerable authority in the federal court system.

State judicial systems

In many state judicial systems in the United States, magistrate courts are the successor to Justice of the Peace courts, and frequently have authority to handle the trials of civil cases up to a certain dollar amount at issue, applications for bail, arrest and search warrants, and the adjudication of petty or misdemeanor criminal offenses. A justice of the peace (JP) is a puisne judicial officer appointed by means of a commission to keep the peace. ... This does not cite any references or sources. ...

In Ohio, for instance, magistrates are appointed by the judges of many municipal courts, domestic relations and juvenile courts, and some courts of appeals and common pleas courts. In addition, to avoid any conflict of interest, most communities with mayor's courts have magistrates preside over sessions, rather than the mayors themselves. Ohio magistrates do virtually everything judges do. As in the federal courts, however, their actions are subject to review and either approval, modification or reversal by judges of their court. The exception is mayor's court magistrates, whose decisions are reviewed by either the county or municipal court of the county in which the community is located. Official language(s) None Capital Columbus Largest city Columbus Largest metro area Cleveland Area  Ranked 34th  - Total 44,825 sq mi (116,096 km²)  - Width 220 miles (355 km)  - Length 220 miles (355 km)  - % water 8. ... A conflict of interest is a situation in which someone in a position of trust, such as a lawyer, a politician, or an executive or director of a corporation, has competing professional or personal interests. ...

In Georgia, on the other hand, each county has a chief magistrate, elected by the voters of the county, who has the authority to hold preliminary hearings in criminal cases, grant bail (except as to very serious felony charges), and preside over a small claims court for cases where the amount in controversy does not exceed $15,000. In some counties the chief magistrate may be authorized to appoint one or more additional magistrates to assist in carrying out the chief magistrate's duties. Magistrates in Georgia are not required to be licensed attorneys, but they often are. Some counties have both attorneys and non-attorneys on the magistrate court bench. United States of America, showing states, divided into counties. ... For the Australian television movies see Small Claims. ...

In South Carolina, magistrates are appointed to four-year terms by the Governor upon the advice and consent of the Senate. They serve the county in which they are appointed and exercise county wide jurisdiction. They preside over civil and criminal cases, issue restraining orders, search and arrest warrants and conduct bond hearings (except as to a limited number of the most serious offenses such as murder), preliminary hearings, bench and jury trials. They have jurisdiction in civil cases when the amount in controversy does not exceed $7,500 per side (example: Plaintiff sues for $7500 and Defendant counterclaims for $7500), in traffic and criminal cases that typically carry a maximum punishment of 30 days in jail (although some offenses may carry up to 6 months) and Landlord-Tenant cases with no limit on the dollar amount involved. Magistrates are referred to by the litigants and lawyers that appear before them as "Judge" or "Your Honor." The South Carolina Constitution guarantees defendants the right to a trial by jury on all criminal charges. Juries in Magistrate's Courts are composed of six citizens. Official language(s) English Capital Charleston(1670-1789) Columbia(1790-present) Largest city Columbia Largest metro area Columbia Area  Ranked 40th  - Total 34,726 sq mi (82,965 km²)  - Width 200 miles (320 km)  - Length 260 miles (420 km)  - % water 6  - Latitude 32° 2′ N to 35° 13′ N  - Longitude...

County Magistrates in Kentucky

In Kentucky, Magistrates are elected every 4 years to the County's Fiscal Court. A Fiscal Court is lead by an elected County Judge-Executive and is equivalent to a County Commission. A Kentucky County is separated into districts, and the citizens of each district elects a Magistrate to serve on this court. Back in Kentucky's first constitution, Fiscal Courts were in charge of all judicial and legislative powers of a county. In the present constitution the Fiscal Court is only designated to carry out legislative powers, while the Judge-Executive carries out the executive powers of the county. Official language(s) English[1] Capital Frankfort Largest city Louisville Area  Ranked 37th  - Total 40,444 sq mi (104,749 km²)  - Width 140 miles (225 km)  - Length 379 miles (610 km)  - % water 1. ... A County Judge/Executive (or simply, Judge/Executive, and often spelled Judge-Executive) is an elected official in the U.S. state of Kentucky who is the head of the executive branch of a government in a county. ... In local government in the United States, a county commission is a group of elected officials charged with adminstering the county government. ...

Other traditions

People's Republic of China

Magistrate, or chief magistrate, is also a common Chinese translation of xianzhang (縣長 "county leader") the political head of a county. The translation dates from imperial China in which the county magistrate was the lowest official in the imperial Chinese bureaucracy and had judicial in addition to administrative functions. Look up translate in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... A county is generally a sub-unit of regional self-government within a sovereign jurisdiction. ... China is the worlds oldest continuous major civilization, with written records dating back about 3,500 years and with 5,000 years being commonly used by Chinese as the age of their civilization. ... The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      This article is about the sociological concept. ...

In Mainland China, the county magistrate is technically elected by the local people's congress but in fact is appointed by the Communist Party. Although there have been some elections at the lower township level, these elections (with one exception, which was considered irregular and illegal) have not extended up to the county level. Although not an important official, county magistrates, particular in rural areas, can sometimes have a strong impact on the lives of ordinary people by enforcing central government regulations, or by turning a blind eye to their violation. ...


In Switzerland, magistrate is a designation for the persons holding the most senior executive and judicial offices. On the federal level, the members of the Federal Council, the Federal Chancellor and the judges on the Federal Supreme Court are called magistrates.[1] The designation of magistrate is not a title or style. It does not, by itself, confer any particular privileges. The Swiss Federal Council (German: , French: , Italian: , Romansh: ) is the seven-member executive council which constitutes the government as well as the head of state of Switzerland. ... In Switzerland, the Federal Chancellor of Switzerland (Bundeskanzler, Chancelier fédéral, Cancelliere della Confederazione) is elected by the Swiss parliament. ... The Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland (Tribunal fédéral in French, Schweizerisches Bundesgericht in German, Tribunale federale in Italian) is the supreme court of Switzerland. ... A title is a prefix or suffix added to a persons name to signify either veneration, an official position or a professional or academic qualification. ... A style of office, or honorific, is a form of address which by tradition or law precedes a reference to a person who holds a title or post, or to the political office itself. ...


On Taiwan, the county magistrate elections are heavily and sometimes bitterly contested, and are often a stepping-stone to higher office. County magistrate elections were first open to election in the 1960s and, before the end of martial law in 1991, were the highest elected position of any real power and hence the focus of election campaigns by the Tangwai movement. An election is a decision making process where people choose people to hold official offices. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... The Tangwai (黨外; pinyin: dăng wài; literally, outside the party) movement was a political movement in the Republic of China on Taiwan in the mid-1970s and early 1980s. ...

In popular culture

  • British humourist P.G. Wodehouse wrote in one of his Jeeves and Wooster stories, "Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit" (1955), "Well, you know what magistrates are. The lowest form of pond life. When a fellow hasn't the brains and initiative to sell jellied eels, they make him a magistrate." Bertie Wooster often appeared before magistrates when he was arrested for minor offenses.
  • A plump and foolish magistrate is a key character in Amy Tan's children's book (and the related PBS television show) Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat.
  • Black-armored Magistrates represent the forces of brutal repression in the Outlanders series by Mark Ellis aka James Axler.
  • In the popular online realtime strategy game StarCraft, players in the Terran campaigns are often referred to as "Magistrates."
  • The head of the telepathic alien Talosians' society in the two-part Star Trek episode "The Menagerie" is referred to as "Magistrate."
  • In the post-colonial novel Waiting for the Barbarians by J.M. Coetzee, the story is told from the narrative perspective of the magistrate of one of the settlements in what is presumed to be Africa.

Called English literatures performing flea, P. G. Wodehouse, pictured in 1904, became famous for his complex plots, ingenious wordplay, and prolific output. ... Jeeves and Wooster is a humourous television series adapted by Clive Exton from P.G. Wodehouses Jeeves stories, and produced by Carnival Films for Granada Television, and screened on the United Kingdoms ITV network from 1990 to 1993. ... Feudalism comes from the Late Latin word feudum, itself borrowed from a Germanic root *fehu, a commonly used term in the Middle Ages which means fief, or land held under certain obligations by feodati. ... In animals, the brain or encephalon (Greek for in the head), is the control center of the central nervous system, responsible for behaviour. ... Suborders See text for suborders and families. ... Bertie Wooster portrayed by Hugh Laurie in ITVs Jeeves and Wooster series Bertram Wilberforce Bertie Wooster is the wealthy, good-natured co-protagonist and narrator of P. G. Wodehouses Jeeves stories. ... Amy Tan (February 19, 1952) is an American writer whose works explore mother-daughter relationships as well as relationships between Chinese American women and their immigrant parents. ... Not to be confused with Public Broadcasting Services in Malta. ... Sagwa the name of a cat in the childrens book Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat by author Amy Tan (who wrote her novel The Joy Luck Club). ... Outlanders is a series of science-fiction novels published by Gold Eagle, an imprint of Harlequin Enterprises. ... Mark Ellis is an American novelist who resides in Newport, Rhode Island with his wife of 27 years, Melissa Martin. ... James Axler is a pseudonym used by the publishing company Gold Eagle Books, a division of Harlequin Enterprises . ... “Starcraft” redirects here. ... In the fictional Star Trek universe, the Talosians were a race of humanoids who inhabited the planet Talos IV. They were very highly evolved and had incredibly large crania due to the extreme level to which their brains had been developed. ... Waiting for the Barbarians is a novel by the South African author J.M. Coetzee, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2003. ... J.M. Coetzee John Maxwell Coetzee (pronounced coot-SEE-uh) is a South African author. ...

Sources and references


  • EtymologyOnLine


  1. ^ See art. 1 of the Bundesgesetz über Besoldung und berufliche Vorsorge der Magistratspersonen, SR/RS 172.121.

See also

  Results from FactBites:
Magistrate Information Pamplet (2007 words)
Magistrates are given the authority to accept prepayments for certain traffic and minor misdemeanor violations such as speeding and unlawful swearing and cursing.
Magistrates or judges may issue this order if they find reasonable grounds to believe that a person has committed an assault and battery or an act of family abuse against a family or household member and there is probable danger of further acts of family abuse.
In this order, the magistrate may: prohibit the abuser from committing further acts of assault and battery; grant possession of the residence to the victim to the exclusion of the abuser; and prohibit all contact between the abuser and the victim.
Magistrate at AllExperts (2679 words)
Magistrates presiding in the Murri Court (which deals with Aboriginal defendants) were originally of a mind not to appear robed; however elders within the Indigenous community urged Magistrates to continue wearing robes to mark the solemnity of the court process to defendants.
Magistrate judges issue warrants, handle lesser criminal cases, arraignments, sentencing, habeas corpus cases not involving death sentences, social security appeals, and certain kinds of civil cases where the parties have consented to a magistrate handling the case.
Magistrates did not exist in U.S. federal courts until 1968, when the office of "United States commissioner" was restructured and renamed to allow district judges to focus on major cases, with lesser matters and "minor offenses" handled by magistrates.
  More results at FactBites »



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