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The term magistrate is used in a variety of systems of governments and laws to refer to a civilian officer who administers the law. In
ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A historian is a person who stud ...
, a ''
magistratus The Roman magistrates were elected officials in Ancient Rome. During the Timeframe, period of the Roman Kingdom, the King of Rome was the principal executive magistrate.Abbott, 8 His power, in practice, was absolute. He was the chief priest, Legis ...
'' was one of the highest ranking government officers, and possessed both
judicial The judiciary (also known as the judicial system, judicature, judicial branch, judiciative branch, and court or judiciary system) is the system of court A court is any person or institution, often as a government A government i ...
and
executive Executive may refer to: Role, title, or function * Executive (government), branch of government that has authority and responsibility for the administration of state bureaucracy * Executive, a senior management role in an organization ** Chief exec ...
powers. In other parts of the world, such as
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

China
, a magistrate was responsible for administration over a particular geographic area. Today, in some jurisdictions, a magistrate is a judicial officer who hears cases in a lower court, and typically deals with more minor or preliminary matters. In other jurisdictions (e.g.,
England and Wales England and Wales () is a legal jurisdiction covering England and Wales, two of the four countries of the United Kingdom, parts of the United Kingdom. England and Wales forms the constitutional successor to the former Kingdom of England and follows ...
), magistrates may be volunteers without formal legal training who perform a judicial role with regard to minor matters.


Original meaning

In
ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A historian is a person who stud ...
, the word ''
magistratus The Roman magistrates were elected officials in Ancient Rome. During the Timeframe, period of the Roman Kingdom, the King of Rome was the principal executive magistrate.Abbott, 8 His power, in practice, was absolute. He was the chief priest, Legis ...
'' referred to one of the highest offices of state. Analogous offices in the local authorities, such as ''
municipium Municipium (pl. municipia) is the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the p ...
'', were subordinate only to the legislature of which they generally were members, ''
ex officio An ''ex officio'' member is a member of a body (notably a board, committee, council) who is part of it by virtue of holding another office. The term ''ex officio An ''ex officio'' member is a member of a body (notably a board, committee, council) ...
'', often a combination of judicial and executive power, constituting one jurisdiction. In Rome itself, the highest magistrates were members of the so-called ''
cursus honorum The ''cursus honorum'' (; , or more colloquially 'ladder of offices') was the sequential order of public offices held by aspiring politicians in the Roman Republic and the early Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; ...
'', 'course of honors'. They held both
judicial The judiciary (also known as the judicial system, judicature, judicial branch, judiciative branch, and court or judiciary system) is the system of court A court is any person or institution, often as a government A government i ...
and
executive Executive may refer to: Role, title, or function * Executive (government), branch of government that has authority and responsibility for the administration of state bureaucracy * Executive, a senior management role in an organization ** Chief exec ...
power within their sphere of responsibility (hence the modern use of the term "magistrate" to denote both judicial and executive officers), and also had the power to issue ''ius honorarium'', or magisterial law. The
Consul Consul (abbrev. ''cos.''; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman ...

Consul
was the highest
Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened to ''Romans'', a letter in the New Testament of the Christian Bible Roman ...
magistrate. The
Praetor Praetor ( , ), also pretor, was the granted by the government of to a man acting in one of two official capacities: (i) the commander of an , and (ii) as an elected ' (magistrate), assigned to discharge various duties. The functions of the magi ...
(the office was later divided into two, the Urban and Peregrine Praetors) was the highest judge in matters of
private law Private law is that part of a civil law Civil law may refer to: * Civil law (common law) Civil law is a major branch of the law.Glanville Williams. ''Learning the Law''. Eleventh Edition. Stevens. 1982. p. 2. In common law legal systems such as E ...
between individual citizens, while the Curule
Aedile Aedile ( ; la, aedīlis , from , "temple edifice") was an elected office of the Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūblica Rōmāna ) was a state of the , run through of the . Beginning with the of the (traditionally dated to ...
s, who supervised
public works Public works are a broad category of projects, financed and constructed by the , for recreational, employment, and health and safety uses in the greater . They include public buildings (, s, s), (s, s, s, , s, s, s), (s, s, es), public servi ...

public works
in the city, exercised a limited civil jurisdiction in relation to the
market Market may refer to: *Market (economics) *Market economy *Marketplace, a physical marketplace or public market Geography *Märket, an island shared by Finland and Sweden Art, entertainment, and media Films *Market (1965 film), ''Market'' (1965 ...
. Roman magistrates were not lawyers, but were advised by
jurist A jurist is a person with expert knowledge of law; someone who analyses and comments on law. This person is usually a specialist legal scholarnot necessarily with a formal qualification in law or a lawyer, legal practitioner, although in the U ...
s who were experts in the law. The term was maintained in most feudal successor states to the western
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of governme ...

Roman Empire
. However, it was used mainly in 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 Chief magistrate is a public official, executive or judicial, whose office is the highest in its class. Historically, the two different meanings of magistrate The term magistrate is used in a variety of systems of governments and laws to refer t ...
" applied to the highest official, in sovereign entities the
head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the context, can refer to either the public image of one's personality, or the social role that one adopts, or a fictional ch ...
and/or
head of government The head of government is either the highest or second-highest official in the executive Executive may refer to: Role, title, or function * Executive (government), branch of government that has authority and responsibility for the administrat ...
.


Continental Europe and its former colonies

Under the "civil law" systems of European countries, such as Belgium, France, Italy and the Netherlands, ''magistrat'' (French), ''magistrato'' (Italian) and ''magistraat'' (Dutch) are generic terms which comprise both prosecutors and judges, distinguished as the 'standing' versus 'sitting' magistrature, respectively. In France and Italy, and several other European countries,
examining magistrate In an inquisitorial system An inquisitorial system is a legal system in which the court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (la ...

examining magistrate
judges have represented the victim and are part of overseeing investigations from the beginning of a case, in consultation with police and prosecutors. In France they are titled investigative judge (', "judge of inquiry"). Italy and some other nations have ended this practice. In Portugal, besides being used in the scope of the
judiciary The judiciary (also known as the judicial system, judicature, judicial branch, judiciative branch, and court or judiciary system) is the system of court A court is any person or institution, often as a government A government i ...
to designate prosecutors and judges, the term ''magistrado'' was also used to designate certain government officials, like the former civil governors of
district A district is a type of administrative division that, in some countries, is managed by the local government. Across the world, areas known as "districts" vary greatly in size, spanning regions or County, counties, several Municipality, municipal ...
. These were referred as "administrative magistrates", to distinguish them from the judiciary magistrates. The
President of Portugal President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) *President (education), a leader of a college or university *President (government title) President may also refer to: Automobiles * Nissan President, a 1966–2010 Japanese ful ...
is considered the Supreme Magistrate of the Nation. In Finland, ''maistraatti'' (the Finnish-language cognate of "magistrate", officially translated as "local register office") is a state-appointed local administrative office whose responsibilities include keeping population information and public registers, acting as a
public notary A notary public ( notary or public notary; notaries public) of the common law is a public officer constituted by law to serve the public in non-contentious matters usually concerned with estates, deeds, powers-of-attorney, and foreign and int ...
and conducting civil marriages.


Mexico

In Mexico's Federal Law System, a ''magistrado'' (magistrate) is a superior judge (and the highest-ranking State judge), hierarchically beneath the Supreme Court Justices (Ministros de la Corte Suprema). The ''magistrado'' reviews the cases seen by a judge in a second term if any of the parties disputes the verdict. For special cases, there are ''magistrados superiores'' (superior magistrates) who review the verdicts of special court and tribunal magistrates.


English common law tradition


United Kingdom


England and Wales

In the
courts of England and Wales The courts of England and Wales, supported administratively by Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service, are the Civil law (common law), civil and Criminal law, criminal courts responsible for the administration of justice in England and Wales. ...
, magistrates—also known as
justices of the peace A justice of the peace (JP) is a judicial officer A judicial officer is a person with the responsibilities and powers to facilitate, arbitrate, preside over, and make decisions and directions in regard to the application of the law. Judicial ...
(JPs)—are volunteers who hear prosecutions for and dispose of '
summary offence A summary or petty offence is a violation Violation or violations may refer to: * Law violation * Violation (basketball), the most minor class of an illegal action in basketball * Bipolar violation, when two pulses of the same polarity occur wi ...
s' and some ' triable-either-way offences' by making orders with regard to and placing additional requirements on offenders. Magistrates/JPs are limited to issuing sentences of no longer than twelve months. Magistrates/JPs have other limitations in their sentencing authority with powers extending to fines, community orders which can include curfews,
electronic tagging Electronic tagging is a form of surveillance Surveillance is the monitoring of behavior, many activities, or information for the purpose of information gathering, influencing, or directing. This can include observation from a distance by ...
, requirements to perform unpaid work up to 300 hours, and supervision for up to three years. In more serious cases, magistrates can send ' either-way' offenders to the Crown Court for sentencing when the magistrate feels a penalty should be imposed that is more severe than the magistrate is capable of sentencing. A wide range of other legal matters is within the remit of magistrates. In the past, magistrates have been responsible for granting licenses 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 and other authorities; therefore, it used to be a requirement that they live within a radius of the area they preside over (the ''commission area'') in case they are needed to sign a warrant after hours. However, ''commission areas'' were replaced with ''Local Justice Areas'' by the
Courts Act 2003 The Courts Act 2003 (c.39) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the supreme legislative body A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deli ...
, meaning magistrates no longer need to live within ; although, in practice, many still do. Section 7 of the Courts Act 2003 states that "There shall be a commission of the peace for England and Wales—…b) addressed generally, and not by name, to all such persons as may from time to time hold office as justices of the peace for England and Wales". Thus, every magistrate in England and Wales may act as a magistrate anywhere in England or Wales. There are two types of magistrates in England and Wales: justices of the peace and district judges (formerly known as
stipendiary magistrate Stipendiary magistrates, magistrates in receipt of a stipend, were the most junior judges in the Scottish judiciary. As of 2014 there were only 4.9 full-time equivalent posts and the only court they sit in was the Justice of the Peace Court in Gl ...
s) who hold office as members of the professional judiciary. According to requirements, around 50% of magistrates are women. Over 41% of magistrates are retired from employment while others may be self-employed or able to arrange leave from their employment. No formal qualifications are required, but magistrates require 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 warden A parking attendant vehicle in San Francisco. A parking enforcement officer (PEO),
s, as well as their close relatives will not be appointed, nor will those convicted of certain criminal offences including recent minor offences. All magistrates undergo comprehensive training before sitting, carried out in conjunction with a mentoring program (mentors are magistrates with at least three years' service), which covers basic law and procedure. They continue to receive training throughout their judicial career. Additional training is given to magistrates choosing to sit in the Youth Court or those dealing with family matters. New magistrates sit with mentors on at least six occasions during their first eighteen months. Magistrates are unpaid appointees, but they may receive allowances to cover traveling expenses, subsistence, and loss of earnings for those not paid by their employer while sitting as a magistrate, up to £116.78 a day. A justice of the peace may sit at any magistrates' court in England and Wales, but in practice, 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 with two as a minimum in most cases except those cases dealt with under the new "single justice procedure". Many are members of the
Magistrates' Association The Magistrates' Association is the membership organisation A membership organization is any organization that allows people to subscribe, and often requires them to pay a membership fee or "subscription". Membership organizations typically have ...
, which provides advice and training and represents the approximately 28,000 magistrates to the government. The Association also represents magistrates on the Sentencing Guidelines Council. Members of the second group are known as District Judges (Magistrates' Courts). Unlike magistrates, District Judges (Magistrates' Courts) sit alone, although still have the benefit of a legal adviser. They are appointed by open competition through a process administered by the JAC and are required to be qualified solicitors, barristers, or chartered legal executives. Some also sit in the family court. Questions have been raised by the Magistrates' Association as to the legal safeguards of a single District Judge allowed to hear a case, decide the outcome, and pass sentence without reference to another party.


Scotland

In the
courts of Scotland The courts of Scotland are responsible for administration of justice Justice, one of the four cardinal virtues, by Vitruvio Alberi, 1589–1590. Fresco, corner of the vault, studiolo of the Virgin of Mercy, Madonna of Mercy, Palazzo Altemps, ...
, the office of
stipendiary magistrate Stipendiary magistrates, magistrates in receipt of a stipend, were the most junior judges in the Scottish judiciary. As of 2014 there were only 4.9 full-time equivalent posts and the only court they sit in was the Justice of the Peace Court in Gl ...
was established by Section 5 of the District Courts (Scotland) Act 1975, and was replaced by the office of
summary sheriff
summary sheriff
by Section 218 of the
Courts Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 The Courts Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 is an Act of the Scottish Parliament An Act of the Scottish Parliament ( gd, Achd Pàrlamaid na h-Alba) is primary legislation made by the Scottish Parliament. The power to create Acts was conferred to th ...
. In
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba Alba (Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to simply as Gaelic) is a Goidelic language (in the Celtic languages, Celtic branch of the Indo-European ...

Scotland
, the lowest level of law-court, the Justice of the Peace Court, is presided over by a
Justice of the Peace A justice of the peace (JP) is a judicial officer A judicial officer is a person with the responsibilities and powers to facilitate, arbitrate, preside over, and make decisions and directions in regard to the application of the law. Judicial ...
. Stipendiary magistrates are, ''ex officio'', justices of the peace, and when sitting in a JP court had the summary criminal jurisdiction and powers of a sheriff.


Australia


Federal Magistrate

A Federal Magistrate was an office created on 23 December 1999 along with the establishment of the Federal Magistrates Court by the
Australian Government The Australian Government, also known as the Commonwealth Government, is the national government of Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the ...
as a result of royal assent of the ''Federal Magistrates Act 1999 (Cth)''.Federal Magistrates Act 1999 (Cth
s 8
Its first judicial officers were appointed in 2000; it first applications were filed on 23 June 2000 and the Court's first sittings were conducted on 3 July 2000 in
Adelaide Adelaide ( ) is the capital city A capital or capital city is the municipality holding primary status in a Department (country subdivision), department, country, Constituent state, state, province, or other administrative region, usually ...

Adelaide
,
Brisbane Brisbane ( ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller low ...

Brisbane
,
Canberra Canberra ( ) is the capital city A capital or capital city is the holding primary status in a , , , , or other , usually as its seat of the government. A capital is typically a that physically encompasses the government's offices an ...

Canberra
,
Melbourne Melbourne ( ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller ...

Melbourne
, ,
Parramatta Parramatta () is a major commercial suburb and Central business district, centre in Greater Western Sydney, located in the state of New South Wales, Australia. It is located approximately west of the Sydney central business district on the bank ...
and
Townsville Townsville is a city on the north-eastern coast of Queensland Queensland ( ) is a state situated in northeastern Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the ...

Townsville
. The Federal Magistrates' Court of Australia dealt with more minor
Commonwealth A commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existenc ...

Commonwealth
law matters which had previously been heard by the
Federal Court of Australia The Federal Court of Australia is an Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmani ...
(
administrative law Administrative law is the body of law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by ...
,
bankruptcy Bankruptcy is a legal process through which people or other entities who cannot repay debts to creditor A creditor or lender is a party 300px, '' Hip, Hip, Hurrah!'' (1888) by Peder Severin Krøyer, a painting portraying an artists' par ...

bankruptcy
,
consumer protection Consumer protection is the practice of safeguarding buyers of goods and services, and the public, against unfair practices in the marketplace fa:بازار A market, or marketplace, is a location where people regularly gather for the pu ...
, trade practices,
human rights Human rights are moral A moral (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. ...
, and
copyright Copyright is a type of intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. ...

copyright
) or the
Family Court Family court was originally created to be a Court of Equity A court of equity, equity court or chancery court is a court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate ...
(divorce,
residence A residence is a place (normally a building) used as a home A home, or domicile, is a space used as a permanent or semi-permanent residence for one or many Human, humans. It is a fully or semi sheltered space and can have both interior an ...
r custody and contact with r access tothe children, property division upon divorce, maintenance, and
child support Child support (or child maintenance) is an ongoing, periodic payment made by a parent for the financial benefit of a child (or parent, caregiver, guardian, or state) following the end of a marriage or other similar relationship. Child maintenance ...
). In some areas, such as bankruptcy and copyright, the court had virtually unlimited jurisdiction. The Federal Magistrates would 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 A$700,000 or less and consumer law matters (trade practices) where the amount claimed is less than $750,000. The first Chief Federal Magistrate,
Diana Bryant Diana Bryant (born 13 October 1947) is an Australian jurist. She was appointed Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia, Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia on 5 July 2004. Early life and education Bryant was born in Perth, Wes ...
left the court in 2004 when she was appointed Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia, the third person to be appointed that position since the establishment of the Family Court. Eventually, the Federal Magistrates Court assumed a significant part of the workload of the Federal Court and the Family Court. By May 2004, the court was dealing with 73% of the total number of applications made in the three courts (see th
Annual Report of the Federal Magistrates' Court 2004/2005
. The Federal Magistrates Court was exercising 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. On 12 April 2013, in recognition of its increased jurisdiction and its role as an intermediate court servicing regional centres as well as capital cities throughout Australia, the Federal Magistrates Court was renamed the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, the Act renamed as the ''Federal Circuit Court of Australia Act 1999'', and its judicial officers received the title "Judge" instead of "Federal Magistrate".


State Magistrate

The State Magistrates in Australia derive from the English Magistrates. All Magistrates are salaried officers. The
jurisdiction Jurisdiction (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be i ...
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. Magistrates hear
bail Bail is a set of pre-trial In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by it ...
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 A$40,000 to A$100,000 (depending on the State). In some states, such as
Queensland Queensland ( ) is a state situated in northeastern Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the ...

Queensland
and
NSW New South Wales (abbreviated as NSW) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper ...
, the Magistrate may appear robed; although, some Magistrates are known to prefer a business suit. Magistrates presiding in the
Koori Court A Koori Court is a division of the Magistrates' Court of Victoria, Magistrates' Court in Victoria (Australia), Victoria, Australia, that hears selected case where Indigenous Australians have identified as such and requested the case be transferred ...
(which deals with
Aboriginal Aborigine, aborigine or aboriginal may refer to: * Indigenous peoples, ethnic groups who are the original or earliest known inhabitants of an area **List of indigenous peoples, including: ***Aboriginal Australians ****Australian Aboriginal identity ...
defendant In court proceedings, a defendant is a person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason Reason is the capacity of consciously applying logic Logic is an interdisciplinary fi ...
s) 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. Historically, Magistrates in Australia have been referred to as "Your Worship". (From
Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family A language ...
''weorthscipe'', meaning being worthy of respect.) However, members of the magistracy are now addressed as "Your Honour" in all states. This was partly to recognize the increasing role magistrates play in the administration of justice, but also to recognize 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.


Hong Kong

There are currently seven magistrates' courts in Hong Kong. Magistrates exercise criminal jurisdiction over a wide range of offences. Although there is a general limit of two years' imprisonment or a fine of HK$100,000, certain statutory provisions give Magistrates the power to sentence up to three years' imprisonment and to impose a fine up to HK$5,000,000.


India

There are four categories of magistrates in the
Judiciary of India The Indian Judiciary is a system of courts that interpret and apply the law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A sys ...

Judiciary of India
. This classification is given in the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (CrPC). It stipulates that in each sessions district, there shall be: * a Chief Judicial Magistrate * a Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate * a Judicial Magistrates First Class, and * an Executive Magistrates ncluding DM, ADMs, SDMs 1. The Chief Judicial Magistrate '' (including Additional Chief Judicial Magistrates.) CJMs hear all types of criminal cases. All magistrates' courts are controlled by the CJM. The CJM looks over the work of judicial magistrates, but cannot take any action against them. The CJM can only report the misbehavior of judicial magistrates to the High Court. A court of Chief Judicial Magistrates can sentence a person to jail up to seven years and impose fines of up to any amount. The CJM is the most senior among all magistrates in their district. 2. There is a Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate (SDJM) in every subdivision. They hear cases related to the Dowry Act, EC Act, and other criminal cases. They also maintain and control the judicial court below them. A court of Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrates may sentence a person to imprisonment of up to 3 years and impose fine up to . Judicial magistrates can try criminal cases. 3. A Judicial Magistrate First Class can sentence a person to jail for up to three years and impose a fine of up to . 4. 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 The Indian Penal Code (IPC) is the official criminal code of India. It is a comprehensive code intended to cover all substantive aspects of criminal law. The code was drafted on the recommendations of first law commission of India established in 1 ...
(IPC). These powers are conferred by Sections 107–110, 133, 144, 145, and 147 of the CrPC. 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 Bail is a set of pre-trial In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by it ...
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 (
Section 144Unlawful assembly is a legal Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is ...
CrPC). There is no specific provision to order a "
curfew A curfew is a government order specifying a time during which certain regulations apply. Typically, curfews order all peoples affected by them to ''not'' be in public places or on roads within a certain time frame, typically in the evening an ...

curfew
". The Executive Magistrates alone are authorised to use force against people. In plain language, they alone can disperse an "
unlawful assemblyUnlawful assembly is a legal Law is a system of rules created and law enforcement, enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior,Robertson, ''Crimes against humanity'', 90. with its precise definition a matter of lo ...
". Technically, the police are to assist the Executive Magistrate. Executive Magistrates can dictate to the police the manner of force (
baton charge 300px, A baton charge during the 2001 EU summit protests in Sweden A baton charge, also known as a lathi charge, is a coordinated tactic for dispersing crowds of people, usually used by police The police are a Law enforcement organization, co ...
/ tear gas/blank fire/firing) and also, how much force should be used. They can also seek the assistance of the Armed Forces to quell a
riot A riot () is a form of civil disorder Civil disorder, also known as civil disturbance, civil unrest, or social unrest is an activity arising from a mass act of civil disobedience (such as a demonstration, riot, strike, or ignoring laws) in wh ...
. Each District contains the following Judicial Magistrates: * a Chief Judicial Magistrate * One or two Additional Chief Judicial Magistrates
CJM The Convent of Jesus and Mary ("CJM") is a network of Catholic School, Roman Catholic schools founded by the Congregation of the Religious of Jesus and Mary. The school network originating in east-central France in the 19th century has since its in ...

CJM
* One or two Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrates
DJM DJM is a range of DJ mixers made by Pioneer Pioneer commonly refers to a settler who migrates to previously uninhabited or sparsely inhabited land. In the United States pioneer commonly refers to an American pioneer, a person in American history ...
* Five Judicial Magistrates 1st class There are, in each Administrative District (as opposed to a Sessions District) the following kinds of Executive Magistrates: * a
District Magistrate A District Magistrate (also known as District Collector or Deputy Commissioner) is an Indian Administrative Service officer who is in-charge of a district, the basic unit of administration, in India. In general parlance, they are referred to ...
(DM) * Two or more Additional District Magistrates (ADM) * Four or more Subdivisional District Magistrates (SDM)and * At least ten Executive Magistrates All the Executive Magistrates of the district, except the ADM, are under the control of the DM. These magistrates 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.
Tehsildar In India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by area, seventh-largest country by area, the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most ...
s and Deputy/Additional Tehsildars 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.


Bangladesh

According to the Code of Criminal Procedure(CrPC),1898; there are two classes of Magistrates in Bangladesh, namely: – (a) Judicial Magistrate; and (b) Executive Magistrate. There shall be four classes of judicial Magistrate, namely: (a) Chief Metropolitan Magistrate in Metropolitan Area and Chief judicial Magistrate to other areas (b) Magistrate of the first class, who shall in Metropolitan area, is known as Metropolitan Magistrate (c) Magistrate of the second class (d) Magistrate of the third class


Executive Magistrate

According to the section-10(6)of the Code of Criminal Procedure(CrPC)1898, members of Bangladesh Civil Service(Administration) Cadre, who are in the capacity of Assistant Commissioner, Upozila Nirbahi Officer(UNO), and Additional Deputy Commissioner(ADC) shall be Executive Magistrates and may exercise the power of Executive Magistrate within their existing respective local areas. Besides this, according to the provision of the section-10(5) of CrPC,1898; The Government may, if it thinks it expedient or necessary, appoint any persons employed in the Bangladesh Civil Service (Administration) to be an Executive Magistrate and confer the powers of an Executive Magistrate on any such member. Every Administrative District has the following Executive Magistrates: (a)
District Magistrate A District Magistrate (also known as District Collector or Deputy Commissioner) is an Indian Administrative Service officer who is in-charge of a district, the basic unit of administration, in India. In general parlance, they are referred to ...
: In every district and in every Metropolitan Area, the Government shall appoint as many persons as it thinks fit to be Executive Magistrates and shall appoint one of them to be the District Magistrate. (b) Additional District Magistrate (ADM): The Government may also appoint any Executive Magistrate to be an Additional District Magistrate. Additional District Magistrates shall have all or any of the powers of a District Magistrate under this Code or under any other law for the time being in force, as the Government may direct. (c) Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC): All the ADC's in the district are Executive Magistrate. (d) Upazila Nirbahi Officer or Sub-District Executive Officer (e) Assistant Commissioner; including Senior Assistant Commissioner and Assistant Commissioner (Land)


New Zealand

The position of stipendiary 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. A community magistrate sits in the hierarchy just below a district court judge. They only have criminal case jurisdiction. They are lay judicial officers, not needing to hold a law degree, although many do.


Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka, a magistrate is a
Judicial Officer A judicial officer is a person with the responsibilities and powers to facilitate, arbitrate, preside over, and make decisions and directions in regard to the application of the law. Judicial officers are typically categorized as judge A ju ...
appointed to preside over a
Magistrates' Court#REDIRECT Magistrates' court A magistrates' court is a lower court where, in several jurisdictions Jurisdiction (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages ...
to a particular jurisdiction under the ''Judicature Act No 02 of 1978''. The post was formally known as Police Magistrate when, magistrates' courts were known as police magistrate courts. Magistrates have jurisdiction over the criminal cases filed under the penal code. They carryout first mortem and post mortem examinations; issue search warrants; arrest warrants produce suspected persons; and grant bail. In many cases magistrates preside over primary courts
Unofficial magistrate In Sri Lanka, a Justice of the Peace and Unofficial magistrate (also known as Acting magistrate) is a judicial appointment made by the Minister of Justice (Sri Lanka), Minister of Justice to a particular jurisdiction under the ''Judicature Act No 02 ...
s can be appointed from among the senior lawyers of the local bar. There are four types of magistrate; * Chief Magistrate (only of the metropolitan area of
Colombo Colombo ( si, කොළඹ, translit=Koḷam̆ba, ; ta, கொழும்பு, translit=Koḻumpu, ) is the commercial capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction betwe ...

Colombo
) * Magistrate/Municipal Magistrate * Additional Magistrate (found when there are more than one Magistrate in one station) * Unofficial Magistrate


United States

Magistrates are somewhat less common in the United States than in Europe, but the position does exist in some state jurisdictions and in federal courts. The term "magistrate" is often used (chiefly in judicial opinions) as a generic term for any independent
judge A judge is a person who presides over court A court is any person or institution, often as a government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. In th ...

judge
who is capable of issuing warrants, reviewing
arrest An arrest is the act of apprehending and taking a person into custody (legal protection or control), usually because the person has been suspected of or observed committing a crime In ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act p ...

arrest
s, 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 State
statute A statute is a formal written enactment of a legislative A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of collective) ...

statute
or by
common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law Case law is the collection of past legal decisions written by courts and similar tribunal A tribunal, generally, is any person or institution with authority ...
. In
Virginia Virginia (), officially the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), '' ...

Virginia
, for example, the Constitution of 1971 created the office of magistrate to replace the use in cities and counties of the
justice of the peace A justice of the peace (JP) is a judicial officer A judicial officer is a person with the responsibilities and powers to facilitate, arbitrate, preside over, and make decisions and directions in regard to the application of the law. Judicial ...
, which is common in many states for this function. As noted above, the terms "magistrate" or "chief magistrate" were sometimes used in the early days of the republic to refer to the
President of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the context, can refer to either the public image of ...

President of the United States
, as in President
John Adams John Adams (October 30, 1735 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, attorney, diplomat A diplomat (from grc, δίπλωμα; romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of ...

John Adams
's message to the
U.S. Senate The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress The United States Congress is the legislature of the federal government of the United States. It is Bicameralism, bicameral, comprising a lower body, the ...
upon the death of
George Washington George Washington (February 22, 1732, 1799) was an American soldier, statesman, and Founding Father The following list of national founding figures is a record, by country, of people who were credited with establishing a state. Natio ...

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).


Federal courts

In the
United States federal courts The federal judiciary of the United States is one of the three branches of the federal government of the United States The federal government of the United States (U.S. federal government or U.S. government) is the national government ...
, a magistrate judge is a judicial officer authorized by ''
et seq. Notes and references Notes References Sources * * * Further reading

* * {{Latin phrases Lists of Latin phrases, E ...
'' They were formerly known as U.S. commissioners, and then as magistrates. Magistrate judges, as they have been designated since 1990, 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 Congresses are formal meetings of the representatives of different countries A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, ...
set forth in the statute the 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, Congress left to the individual courts the actual determination of which duties to assign to magistrate judges.


State courts

In many state court systems in the United States, magistrate courts are the successor to
Justice of the Peace A justice of the peace (JP) is a judicial officer A judicial officer is a person with the responsibilities and powers to facilitate, arbitrate, preside over, and make decisions and directions in regard to the application of the law. Judicial ...
courts, and frequently have authority to handle the trials of civil cases up to a certain dollar amount at issue, applications for
bail Bail is a set of pre-trial In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by it ...
, arrest and search warrants, and the adjudication of petty or misdemeanor criminal offences. In
Ohio Ohio () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Co ...

Ohio
, magistrates are subordinate to the judge or judges who appoint them, and all of their decisions are subject to the review, amendment, approval, or reversal by a judge. In some states, including
West Virginia West Virginia () is a U.S. state, state in the Appalachian region, Appalachian, Mid-Atlantic (United States), Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern United States, Southeastern regions of the United States.The United States Census Bureau, Census Burea ...
and
Georgia Georgia usually refers to: * Georgia (country) Georgia (, ; ) is a country located at the intersection of Eastern Europe and Western Asia. It is a part of the Caucasus region, bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north and east by ...
, magistrates are elected and not appointed.


Other traditions


China

Magistrate, or chief magistrate, is also a common translation of the Chinese ''xianzhang'' (县长/縣長 ''literally: county leader'') the political head of a
county A county is a geographical region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics (physical geography), human impact characteristics (human geography), and the interaction of humanity and the environment ...
or ''xiàn'' (县/縣) which ranks in the third level of the administrative hierarchy of China. The translation dates from
imperial China The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty The Shang dynasty (), also historically known as the Yin dynasty (), was a Chinese dynasty Dynasties in Chinese h ...
in which the
county magistrate County magistrate ( or ) sometimes called local magistrate, in imperial China was the official in charge of the ''Counties of the People's Republic of China#History under the dynastic empires (221 B.C.E. - 19120, xian'', or County#People's Republ ...
was the lowest official in the imperial Chinese bureaucracy and had judicial in addition to administrative functions. In modern-day China, the county leader is elected by the local people's congress but the process is controlled by the
Communist Party A communist party is a political party A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a particular country's elections. It is common for the members of a party to hold similar ideas about politics, and part ...

Communist Party
.


Switzerland

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 are called magistrates. The designation of magistrate is not a
title A title is one or more words used before or after a person's name, in certain contexts. It may signify either generation, an official position, or a professional or academic qualification. In some languages, titles may be inserted between the firs ...

title
or
style Style is a manner of doing or presenting things and may refer to: * Architectural style An architectural style is a set of characteristics and features that make a building or other structure notable or historically identifiable. It is a sub-cla ...
. It does not, by itself, confer any particular privileges.


Taiwan

In Taiwan, magistrates are the administrative heads of government of
counties A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposes Chambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain modern nations. The term is derived from the Old French ...
. The county magistrate
election An election is a formal group decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual or multiple individuals to hold Public administration, public office. Elections have been the usual mechanism by which modern representative dem ...

election
s 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 Martial law is the temporary imposition of direct military control of normal civil functions or suspension of civil law by a government, especially in response to a temporary emergency where civil forces are overwhelmed, or in an occupied te ...
in 1991, were the highest elected position of any real power, and hence, the focus of election campaigns by the
Tangwai The ''Tangwai'' movement, or simply ''Tangwai'' (), was a loosely knit political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (soc ...
movement.


Siam

In Siam, the position of ''yakkrabutr'' (ยกกระบัตร) is similar to that of the ''magistrate'' and was given to palace officials sent to provincial capitals to administers law and ensure justice on behalf of the monarch. The position was phased out and reformed into the position of ''prosecutor'' in 1916 during the reign of
Rama VI Vajiravudh ( th, วชิราวุธ, , 1 January 188126 November 1925), was the sixth Monarchy of Thailand, monarch of Rattanakosin Kingdom, Siam (Rama VI) under the Chakri dynasty, ruling from 1910 until his death in 1925. King Vajiravud ...
.


Kenya

In Kenya, there are five categories of magistrates, namely: Resident Magistrate, Senior Resident Magistrate, Principal Magistrate, Senior Principal Magistrate, and Chief Magistrate. Chief Magistrate is the highest ranking among magistrates and also assumes administrative control of magistrate courts in his or her jurisdiction. A Chief Magistrate has jurisdiction in a dispute that does not exceed seven million Kenya shillings. For Senior Principal Magistrates, the limit is in disputes not exceeding five million Kenya shillings; for Principal Magistrates it is disputes not exceeding four million Kenya shillings. Senior Resident Magistrates have jurisdiction in disputes not exceeding three million Kenya shillings and Resident Magistrates in disputes not exceeding two million Kenya shillings.


In popular culture

* The British humorist P.G. Wodehouse wrote in one of his ''
Jeeves and Wooster ''Jeeves and Wooster'' is a British comedy-drama television series adapted by Clive Exton from P. G. Wodehouse's Jeeves#Jeeves canon, "Jeeves" stories. The series was a collaboration between Brian Eastman of Carnival Films, Picture Partnership ...
'' stories, "Jeeves and the
Feudal Feudalism, also known as the feudal system, was the combination of the legal, economic, military, and cultural customs that flourished in Medieval Europe between the 9th and 15th centuries. Broadly defined, it was a way of structuring society ...
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 Bertram Wilberforce Wooster is a fictional character in the comedic Comedy (from the el, κωμῳδία, ''kōmōdía'') is a genre of fiction consisting of discourses or works intended to be humor Humour ( Commonwealth English) or hum ...
often appeared before magistrates when he was arrested for minor offences. * A plump and foolish magistrate is a key character in
Amy Tan Amy Ruth Tan (born February 19, 1952) is an American author known for the novel '' The Joy Luck Club,'' which was adapted into a film of the same name in 1993 by director Wayne Wang. Tan has written several other novels, including '' The Kitch ...

Amy Tan
's children's book (and the related
PBS The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) is an American public broadcaster Public broadcasting involves , and other electronic media outlets whose primary mission is . In many countries of the world, comes from governments, especially vi ...
television show) ''
Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat ''Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat'', or simply ''Sagwa'', is a Chinese-Canadian-American children's animated television series based on the children's book of the same name by Amy Tan which aired on PBS Kids, produced by Canada-based animation st ...
''. * 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 Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', ...

Africa
. * In the
Walt Disney Walter Elias Disney (; December 5, 1901December 15, 1966) was an American entrepreneur, animator, writer, voice actor, and film producer. A pioneer of the American animation industry, he introduced several developments in the production of ...
movie '' Davy Crockett: King of the Wild Frontier'', Crockett is appointed magistrate of the local community. * Magistrates appear in the ''Star Trek'' universe as well. On ''Star Trek: Deep Space Nine'', Constable Odo (Star Trek), Odo often threatens detainees or those he suspects are guilty of various crimes and violations that he will send them to the magistrate, or tells them sarcastically, in response to their pleas of innocence, to "Tell it to the magistrate." * In the first installment of the popular ''StarCraft'' real-time strategy series, one plays as a magistrate working for the Confederacy, a cruel government. One later joins the Sons of Korhal, aiding in the rebellion. * In the videogame series ''Ace Attorney'', there is a fictional children’s television show called The Steel Samurai, which is referenced in many cases. The main antagonist of the show is the Evil Magistrate.


See also

* Executive Magistrate of Bangladesh * Agoranomi * Chief magistrate * Justice in Eyre * Lawspeaker * Magistratus * Resident magistrate


Notes


References


Etymology Online

Van Wert County, Ohio Court Personnel


External links


Become a magistrate (GOV.UK, England and Wales)

Criminal courts – magistrates' courts (GOV.UK, England and Wales)

How sentencing works: You be the Judge
{{Authority control Legal professions Magistrates, Magistrate