Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Magistrates and Judges

Magistrates vs Judges

Magistrates and judges seem to be the same in respect to the judiciary, but this is not true as the two have many differences especially in the nature of their powers.

One of the first differences that can be seen is that judges are credited to have more powers than a magistrate. The magistrate is known to have powers more of an administrator, and most of them handle only minor offenses. They may handle offenses, such as, petty theft, small crimes, and traffic violations. On the other hand, judges handle large cases. As the less important cases are handled by the magistrates, the judges are free to focus on complex cases.

Unlike a judge, a magistrate has only limited law enforcement and administrative powers. In some countries, the presiding or elected judges normally appoint magistrates. For example, the life term judges appoint magistrates in America as per the US Federal Court system.

When talking about jurisdiction, the magistrate has only a limited jurisdiction when compared to a judge. Maybe the magistrate only has jurisdiction within a region, district, province, or county. This jurisdiction may differ from one country to another. The judges have a higher authority and may widen to the state or even an entire country.

The word ‘magistrate’ is derived from Middle English ‘magistrat,’ which means “civil officer in charge of administrating laws.” It also comes from an Old French word ‘magistrat,’ from Latin ‘magistrates’ which has been derived from ‘magister’ from root of ‘magnus .’

‘Judge’ is a word that has been derived from the Anglo French word ‘juger’ meaning ‘to form an opinion about,” and from O.Fr. ‘jugier’ meaning ‘to judge,’ and Latin ‘judicare’ which also means “to judge.”

Summary:

1. Judges are credited to have more powers than a magistrate.
2. The magistrate is known to have powers more of an administrator, and most of them handle only minor offences.
3. As the less important cases are handled by the magistrates, the judges are free to focus on complex cases.
4. Unlike a judge, a magistrate has only limited law enforcement and administrative powers.
5. When talking about jurisdiction, the magistrate has only a limited jurisdiction when compared to a judge. Maybe the magistrate has only jurisdiction within a region, district, province, or county. The judges have a higher authority that may include the state or even an entire country.


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1 Comment

  1. Sorry, but the article is poorly written. I think the purpose here is to say that, in most jurisdictions, magistrates generally have fewer powers and a narrower scope of authority than judges. But how that scope is defined is very jurisdiction-dependent.
    For example, in the U.S. federal system, magistrate judges usually preside over federal misdemeanor cases, handle criminal cases up through the plea (including pretrial motions), in some courts, civil cases up until the case is ready to be decided by a judge or go to trial, and cases that have been referred to magistrate judges or are tried by consent of the parties. In other jurisdictions, magistrates may preside over lower level criminal cases, over the early stages of civil cases, or may be assigned to hear certain types of crimes or cases. The hiring, retention, election, or appointment of magistrates is also usually more limited. For example, U.S. federal court judges must be nominated by the President of the United States and approved by the Senate and are appointed for life; magistrate judges are usually appointed by a panel in that jurisdiction and then serve fixed terms, to be renominated and once again approved by the panel and the judges in the district.

    Judges aren’t “credited” to have more power; in most jurisdictions, judges are vested with more power than magistrates.

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