A judicial officer who sits at a magistrates’ court and has authority for enforcing and administering the law regarding less serious criminal offences. Magistrates typically sit in panels of three, work on a voluntary basis, and do not have any formal legal qualifications. Stipendiary magistrates are legally-qualified, sit on their own, and receive a salary. All cases are first seen at the magistrates whether they end up being decided there are sent immediately to a higher court.

Explanation attempts (125)

28 Oct 2012 21:51
quote the presiding judge or part of a panel of judges making decisions of guilt or innocence in minor court cases and passing sentences in these minor cases unquote
29 Oct 2012 14:48
quote a magistrate is the presiding official at the lower courts in the land, or magustrates court. They are generally volunteers who wish to serve the comunity and would deal with low tariff crimes such as petty theft or minor acts of violence. They are charged with deciding the innocence or guilt of the suspect, or where there is doubt, he or she may refer the case to the crown court. They will also decide the sentences for the minor cases they handle. unquote
29 Oct 2012 15:43
quote A court official responsible for deciding minor cases/passing serious cases onto criminal courts (much like a judge but someone who hasn't had legal training). Often aided/advised by a clerk of the court (who has had legal training). unquote
29 Oct 2012 16:52
quote Someone who deals with minor offensives. unquote
29 Oct 2012 17:17
quote Like a judge unquote
29 Oct 2012 17:17
quote a judge unquote
29 Oct 2012 21:29
quote Someone who sits in a magistrates court hearing evidence in respect of criminal /matrimonial / child care proceedings advised by the clerk to the court when making sentence. There are sually three people who are members of the public who sit on the bench. unquote
30 Oct 2012 12:54
quote oversees the processes of the law. Kind of like a judge, checks proceedings are run correctly and that law is applied properly unquote
30 Oct 2012 16:12
quote Someone official unquote
30 Oct 2012 16:48
quote A type of lawyer who works in a court of law unquote
30 Oct 2012 20:46
quote The individual heading the courtroom. I believe that some cases are held with a Magistrate rather than a Judge. unquote
31 Oct 2012 12:36
quote No idea unquote
31 Oct 2012 12:58
quote A senior member of the courts. Above a lawyer but below a judge. unquote
31 Oct 2012 13:14
quote The person who listens to a case & decides on sentence, in cases where a jury is not required unquote
31 Oct 2012 14:03
quote A judge in a small claims court unquote
31 Oct 2012 14:59
quote Magistrate people who decide what sentences people get unquote
31 Oct 2012 15:42
quote someone in court who can put laws into place, justice of the peace. unquote
31 Oct 2012 18:28
quote Justice of the peace - chosen member if the public with little formal legal training allowed to dispense judgement in cases of petty crime eg drunk driving, public proprty offences etc unquote
31 Oct 2012 18:30
quote A person who provides order in court. Is the mediator between the defence and prosecution. unquote
31 Oct 2012 19:16
quote a layperson who presides over proceedings in a court of law unquote
31 Oct 2012 19:23
quote This is a person who makes decisions in court cases that are less serious cases. They may be a lay person without a legal qualification unquote
31 Oct 2012 21:13
quote Legal authority with power to implement legal legislation and carry out sentences through jury and judge. unquote
1 Nov 2012 13:14
quote A person who presides over a magistrates court which tries minot offences - the equivalent of a judge in crown court. The magistate passes sentence at the end of a court hearing. unquote
1 Nov 2012 21:28
quote The decision maker / judge within a magistrates court. The magistrate has a certain level of understanding of the law. unquote
1 Nov 2012 22:30
quote A magistrate is a law official who hears the evidence that an individual may have committed a crime. The prosecution and defence lawyer present their case and the magistrate decides the punishment. This is for less serious crimes only and no jury is present unquote
20 Nov 2012 22:57
quote A top (head?) Judge, who presides over court cases, as in "The Magistrate's Court" unquote
21 Nov 2012 05:08
quote This is the first stage within the court process. A magistrate is an unpaid person from within the community who hears cases and decides what should happen with the case (should it be dismissed, prosecuted or heard at a higher level). unquote
21 Nov 2012 06:13
quote A senior judge, who wears a reed gown and presides over a particular court. unquote
21 Nov 2012 15:59
quote A person who presides over a court or is part of a panel not always legally qualified unquote
21 Nov 2012 16:35
quote A local, low level court unquote
21 Nov 2012 16:50
quote Someone who considers matters of law not requiring the participation of a full jury, for minor offences etc. unquote
21 Nov 2012 21:33
quote Someone who is not a judge but who deals with certain kinds of simple criminal cases a bit like a judge would. unquote
21 Nov 2012 21:48
quote Person who chairs/heads a local court for more minor offences unquote
26 Nov 2012 18:09
quote Presides in an ordinary court, not a Crown court. There is usaully more than one magistrate. unquote
24 Apr 2013 15:48
quote The Judge unquote
26 Apr 2013 09:18
quote A Magistrate is someone appointed by the Crown on behalf of the community to listen to the case of an individual/individuals and, along with his or her colleagues on the bench, to decide the outcome of cases that are not serious criminal cases. So he/she will not be making decisions about murder or rape, for example, but rather considering traffic offences, theft etc. unquote
11 Nov 2013 19:37
quote someone who sits in a small local court (a magistrate's court) and makes decisions over cases brought to court unquote
12 Nov 2013 09:25
quote an officer within legal system unquote
12 Nov 2013 09:25
quote Most people know this to be the judge or the one who passes conviction. Highest authority in the room. unquote
12 Nov 2013 09:48
quote A Magistrate takes charge of dealing with more minor offenses and breaches of the law. A magistrates court is where these legal hearings take place. Actual true definitions and origins of the word I do not know. unquote
13 Nov 2013 13:49
quote dont know unquote
14 Nov 2013 21:13
quote A person representing the legal process and acting on behalf of the realm in serving sentence on those that have been judged to have been involved in wrong doing. Operates from a Court of Law unquote
14 Nov 2013 21:13
quote A type of court. unquote
14 Nov 2013 21:34
quote Someone who has legal powers under the law unquote
14 Nov 2013 21:36
quote a type of lawyer representing the state unquote
14 Nov 2013 22:15
quote A person who presides in a low level crime case in a local court not crown court unquote
15 Nov 2013 09:18
quote The type of court you are in. unquote
15 Nov 2013 19:43
quote somebody who judges cases in court unquote
15 Nov 2013 22:48
quote Court official who will listen to evidence & pass a sentence for minor criminal offence unquote
16 Nov 2013 00:12
quote Someone that gives the final verdict. unquote
16 Nov 2013 10:20
quote The court before you go to the main court. unquote
16 Nov 2013 14:52
quote no idea unquote
16 Nov 2013 17:08
quote Someone in court who deals with minor offences, like a lawyer unquote
16 Nov 2013 18:28
quote head of a civil court who can sentence defendants. unquote
16 Nov 2013 20:30
quote A magistrate is an official who administers/hears cases, grievances and crimes. Has the power to give a verdict without jury. unquote
16 Nov 2013 21:25
quote The Magistrate is simply the person who resides over the Magistrates Court. unquote
16 Nov 2013 22:43
quote A judge in court unquote
17 Nov 2013 11:50
quote Usually an unpaid lay person who oversees legal cases in a first tier court unquote
17 Nov 2013 17:20
quote somebody who works in the courtroom, and deals with less serious crimes e.g. magistrates court unquote
17 Nov 2013 17:24
quote A type of court, for 'everyday' cases. unquote
17 Nov 2013 19:22
quote Magistrate is the judge in charge of the magistrate court responsible for dealing with petite-crimes. It is one step lower from the Crown court unquote
17 Nov 2013 19:42
quote A person involved in local law enforcement, as opposed to national cases. Deals with cases such as drunk and disorderlies or speeding. unquote
17 Nov 2013 19:57
quote someone high up who enforces the law unquote
17 Nov 2013 20:10
quote A level in the hierarchy of the legal system, functioning in the Magistrates court. unquote
17 Nov 2013 21:46
quote a type of court unquote
17 Nov 2013 23:21
quote magistrate is employed in the court unquote
18 Nov 2013 12:32
quote A typw of judge who administers the law and gives sentencing unquote
18 Nov 2013 17:19
quote Some form of law enforcer. unquote
18 Nov 2013 18:33
quote A magistrate is the person who hears all the evidence and after you are convicted by a jury, decides what your punishment should be for your crime unquote
18 Nov 2013 19:24
quote A lay person acting as a judge. A person who acts as a judge in minor cases, without a jury unquote
18 Nov 2013 19:33
quote A person who sits in court. unquote
18 Nov 2013 20:00
quote Somebody who acts as the 'judge' in a civil court and listens to the case and eventually passes the sentence on the defendant unquote
19 Nov 2013 00:59
quote A magistrate is someone who presides in small court cases which are not heard in crown courts. unquote
19 Nov 2013 11:59
quote Somebody who hears cases in a non-criminal court and can pass sentence. unquote
19 Nov 2013 23:24
quote a judge type person unquote
29 Oct 2014 15:38
quote A court where a criminal would go and face a jury to see if they're guilty unquote
30 Oct 2014 16:28
quote Unpaid member of the public who volunteers to work in a magistrates court acting like a judge. Usually for more minor crimes. unquote
4 Nov 2014 19:43
quote Magistrates work as part of the legal system at a Magistrate's court, before cases are passed on to the Crown Courts. They function as judges to the court process at the Magistrate's court. unquote
5 Nov 2014 16:30
quote The judge that decides on the ruling and sentence of a case unquote
9 Nov 2014 12:14
quote A magistrate is a type of judge. Magistrates courts are where most criminal law cases begin. unquote
9 Nov 2014 15:28
quote A magistrate is a member of the justice system that works in the courts, working with people convicted of a crime. unquote
11 Nov 2014 12:05
quote The person who governs & controls the court proceedings , whose decision is final in court unless appealed down the appropriate route unquote
8 Dec 2014 09:45
quote A person employed within the legal system in court. I believe they hold a senior role and it may refer to the different levels of judges that you get at national level courts. unquote
28 Oct 2015 22:24
quote The legal representative of the law in a court of law when the case doesn't need a judge and jury. Less serious crimes. unquote
6 Nov 2015 21:03
quote A type of court. A person who sits in the magistrate's court and listens to a case then comes to a conclusion regarding the case. unquote
9 Nov 2015 23:32
quote The person whom proceeds over a magistrates court unquote
10 Nov 2015 13:08
quote A person who presides over a County Court, rather like a judge, but has no qualifications. unquote
16 Nov 2015 20:00
quote A magistrate is a person who listens to legal cases in court. unquote
18 Nov 2015 20:51
quote One of those wig guys unquote
22 Nov 2015 16:09
quote Person that hears the evidence in court unquote
22 Nov 2015 16:23
quote Somebody that oversees a court case in the magistrates court unquote
23 Nov 2015 00:36
quote A magistrate is someone in court who defines whether or not a person has done the crime. But not quite the same as a judge. unquote
24 Nov 2015 09:39
quote The person who is the head of the court process and issues out the sentence. unquote
15 Jul 2016 13:59
quote legal officer entrusted to carry out legal proceedings as a court officer. unquote
8 Nov 2016 14:49
quote The judge in the court who would give the verdict of guilty of innocent unquote
8 Nov 2016 20:17
quote A type of court and someone who stands up in court to ensure things happen in the way they should do. unquote
8 Nov 2016 23:03
quote An unpaid 'judge' usually members of public who sit and hear cases at magistrate courts. They are not lawyers but are advised by clerks of the court on points of law. They can sentence on 'lesser' cases. More serious cases are referred to the Crown Court. unquote
9 Nov 2016 01:44
quote A magistrate is a position held by someone or a court itself within the judicial system. unquote
9 Nov 2016 08:51
quote A person in court who makes the decision as to whether to charge or not unquote
9 Nov 2016 21:24
quote Someone who judges you in a small claims court unquote
9 Nov 2016 21:27
quote Person who sits in a magistrates court unquote
10 Nov 2016 12:24
quote To do with judges like the Supreme Court. It's official and legal eye of the law unquote
11 Nov 2016 18:38
quote Court leader unquote
12 Nov 2016 11:33
quote A person in the judiciary system that is in charge of a court unquote
14 Nov 2016 19:08
quote A type of judge at a low level court unquote
14 Nov 2016 22:19
quote Someone in a legal professional office unquote
14 Nov 2016 22:20
quote A type of court unquote
5 Nov 2017 17:06
quote someone who conducts a court for minor offences unquote
7 Nov 2017 20:24
quote Someone in the legal system who you would find in a court room. unquote
12 Nov 2017 17:55
quote A judge within a court. unquote
12 Nov 2017 19:48
quote Is a lay person that has been appointed to sit on the bench in the magistrates court also referred to as justice of the peace. unquote
13 Nov 2017 13:11
quote A law abiding person who works in a court room unquote
16 Nov 2023 18:13
quote A lay person with appropriate training who hears less serious criminal charges (not referred to crown court) Magistrates hear cases with others, I think 3 unquote
16 Nov 2023 20:50
quote unpaid or volunteer role within the court, sitting alongside judges unquote
18 Nov 2023 12:38
quote Maybe like a judge/ person at the top of the court room? unquote
18 Nov 2023 12:44
quote an officer in the the courtroom in charge of the precedings unquote
19 Nov 2023 18:45
quote Means the crime that you’re accused of may not be that Deemed that serious. But still not great as they tend to convict more unquote
20 Nov 2023 11:35
quote Someone that works in family Court unquote
21 Nov 2023 12:39
quote The group or the net of rules combined by a group to set laws in place? unquote
21 Nov 2023 14:05
quote The people in charge of the courts unquote
21 Nov 2023 16:23
quote The people that decide punishment for breaking the law unquote
21 Nov 2023 17:08
quote Someone who makes decisions in a court of law unquote
21 Nov 2023 20:52
quote Someone who works in a court unquote
22 Nov 2023 00:35
quote The court leaders unquote
23 Nov 2023 12:21
quote a type of courtroom that deals with less serious crime unquote


Sue Leschen Solicitor (non - practising); LLB;BA; DPSI; NRPSI says
Interesting that a major distinction between the roles of Magistrates and Judge ie the fact that Magistrates (other than Stipendary Magistrates are not legally qualified is only mentioned by a couple of respondents.
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