Distinguishing Between a Judge & a Magistrate

Judge vs Magistrate

The difference between a judge and a magistrate lies in the power each one holds over the community or the justice system. Though they are often confused, they differ in their powers, with a judge having more power than a magistrate. This article will explore the differences between the two terms.

Who is a Judge?

A judge is a person with a law degree and experience as a lawyer. They have significant power in making decisions concerning legal matters and handle larger, more complex cases that can run for several years. A judge’s administrative powers are greater than those of a magistrate, and their domain of work is more extensive. In some countries, such as the United States, judges appoint magistrates. Judges also have a broader jurisdiction, which can include a capital city, a large area, or even the entire country.

The word “judge” is derived from the French word ‘juger,’ meaning “to form an opinion on something.” In Old French, the verb ‘jugier’ meant “to judge,” and a judge is a person who gives the final opinion.

Who is a Magistrate?

A magistrate is a state official who makes decisions in legal cases, though they do not have as much power as a judge. Their powers are similar to those of an administrator, and they handle smaller, minor cases. The law enforcement powers exercised by a magistrate are limited compared to those of a judge. In some countries, a judge appoints magistrates, indicating the judge’s authority over them. A magistrate’s domain of work is generally limited.

In the United States Federal Court System, magistrates are directly appointed by life-term judges. This system is well-organized and respected worldwide. A magistrate has a limited jurisdiction, falling within a state, province, district, or small area.

Derived from the Middle English word ‘magistrat,’ a magistrate is a civil officer with administrative powers. The title magistrate varies in meaning between countries. In the United Kingdom, a magistrate is equivalent to a justice of peace, while in Australia and New Zealand, a magistrate has less administrative and legal powers. In countries such as Switzerland and Mexico, a magistrate is a superior legal officer.

What is the difference between Judge and Magistrate?

  • Level of Power: A judge has more power than a magistrate. In some countries, a judge appoints a magistrate.
  • Educational Background: A judge always has a law degree, whereas a magistrate does not need a law degree in every country.
  • Types of Cases: Judges handle complex cases, while magistrates handle minor cases.
  • Jurisdiction: Judges have a larger jurisdiction than magistrates.

These are the main differences between a judge and a magistrate.

Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanovhttps://whats-different.com
Dmitri Ivanov, a writer and managing editor, was educated in Canada and holds a BS in Science. Dmitri loves doing research, writing, and teaching various courses.


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