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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
Magistrates' Court
stipendiary magistrate
▪ The process passes into its second stage when the prosecutor submits his dossier to an examining magistrate.
▪ The examining magistrate will decide to send the case to trial, except when proof of innocence is clear.
▪ Before an examining magistrate the accused is entitled to legal representation.
▪ Then the examining magistrate changed his mind, released Mr Laroche and charged Mrs Villemin with killing her own son.
▪ Then the original examining magistrate was dismissed from the case for making such a muddle of it.
▪ All serious offences had to be investigated by an examining magistrate.
▪ But in practice the pretrial process was often conducted not by an examining magistrate but by the prosecutor or the police.
▪ Mrs Villemin had no difficulty in seeing off her first examining magistrate.
▪ The local magistrate might not believe in the frayed elastic, either, if the McReady family were pillars of the kirk.
▪ For most people their only experience of the law in action is likely to be the local magistrates court.
▪ At the hearing of the information, the stipendiary magistrate dismissed the charge.
▪ Solicitors and barristers may be appointed as Recorders or stipendiary magistrates.
▪ A family bench may include a stipendiary magistrate in which case he must preside.
▪ The slander spread like wildfire and was only checked when the drunk who invented it confessed in a magistrates court.
▪ For most people their only experience of the law in action is likely to be the local magistrates court.
Court closed: Whitby's main magistrates court closes next week for repairs.
▪ They had been quashed by Bow Street magistrates court earlier this year on the grounds of delay.
▪ To start that procedure, the authority applies to a magistrates court for a summons.
▪ The hearing at Coleford magistrates court was adjourned for three weeks.
▪ Yesterday the two appeared for sentencing and Simon Catterall, prosecuting, asked Teesside magistrates to confiscate their pet terriers.
▪ Anthony Ganguly continued the deception when he appeared before Teesside magistrates and was placed on probation.
▪ A 24-year-old man has appeared before Teesside magistrates charged with the girl's murder.
▪ Donald Murphy was remanded in custody on an assault charge by Teesside magistrates last Friday.
▪ Goth appeared before Teesside magistrates on Monday on a charge of grievous bodily harm with intent and was bailed.
▪ He appeared before Teesside magistrates on Thursday after spending a night in a police cell.
▪ But the case was adjourned. Teesside magistrates also lifted reporting restrictions in the case.
▪ Telford, of Wheatley, Doncaster, was conditionally discharged by town magistrates after admitting threatening, abusive and insulting behaviour.
▪ He was conditionally discharged by Newcastle magistrates in December after admitting assaulting railway worker John Beach.
▪ He will appear before Tower Bridge magistrates on September 2.
▪ Paul Weddle, 25, of Gateshead, Wear, will appear before magistrates today with a 15-year-old youth.
▪ There were protracted delays in their trial until they appeared before a magistrate in Liverpool on February 9 last year.
▪ Anthony Ganguly continued the deception when he appeared before Teesside magistrates and was placed on probation.
▪ A local man who has been charged with grievous bodily harm will face further questioning today before he appears before magistrates.
▪ In September he appeared before Milton Keynes magistrates, but they deferred sentence.
▪ The two accused men are due to appear before Chelmsford magistrates today.
▪ Police said a 17-year-old white schoolboy will appear before magistrates in the Western Transvaal town of Swartruggens in connection with the attack.
▪ Detectives are applying to magistrates for permission to hold them for a further 24 hours.
▪ She could apply to the magistrates or the High Court for an order in her favour.
▪ The new family code will be applied by magistrates and judges especially trained in family law.
▪ To start that procedure, the authority applies to a magistrates court for a summons.
▪ If they still do not pay, the council can apply to the magistrates court for a summons to be served.
▪ They brought her before a magistrate the first thing in the morning.
▪ He'd been released on bail by Cheltenham magistrates after being charged with raping a twenty year old woman.
▪ There are also various other matters that are dealt with by the magistrates.
▪ The examining magistrate will decide to send the case to trial, except when proof of innocence is clear.
▪ A magistrate will decide whether Pavarotti should face trial.
▪ Read in studio A man accused of murder has been granted bail by magistrates.
▪ He wants prosecutors to be given powers to appeal where bail has been granted by magistrates contrary to police wishes.
▪ He was granted bail by magistrates on his committal for trial.
▪ He faces a hearing before a magistrate on Friday.
▪ Mr Vilaseca's case is due to be heard by Preston magistrates on December 15.
▪ They face an extradition hearing before a federal magistrate in San Diego on June 19.
▪ The case is being heard at Oxford magistrates.
▪ They feel he should give evidence to the investigating magistrates and make his position clear in an address to the nation.
▪ All serious offences had to be investigated by an examining magistrate.
▪ Prostitutesare not forthcoming with the police or investigating magistrates.
▪ He told the magistrates the licence was for a car which had not been on the road for nine months.
▪ He will not tell the magistrate where he lives.
▪ He told magistrates at Cheltenham that he never retaliated if he sensed trouble in his work.
▪ James told magistrates that he had been using speed for about five years and injected himself three or four times a month.
▪ It told magistrates it had a duty to ensure shops complied with the law.
▪ Voice over Mrs Frak was sacked after the incident and was told by magistrates she could now face prison.
▪ He told magistrates he is using his car to search for new shops to relaunch his business career.
▪ Crowther told Darlington magistrates he had been drinking before a football match several hours before he was stopped by police.
▪ Exclaiming that he was already a priest, Quirnus insisted that the magistrate put him to death.
▪ He was granted bail by magistrates on his committal for trial.
▪ In a hearing Wednesday afternoon before a federal magistrate, he waived his right to an attorney.
▪ In addition to his duties as medical officer to the workhouse he was a magistrate and the coroner for the Borough of Bedford.
▪ Jackson and Medina made a brief appearance before a federal magistrate Tuesday on the extortion charge.
▪ Oxford police recently reported their concern to the city's magistrates and their determination to crack down.
▪ The Customs officer, policeman, and magistrate began to nod, at first uncertain, reluctant, then with growing accord.
▪ The girl told the magistrates she stole to get money to pay for cigarettes.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Magistrate \Mag"is*trate\, n. [L. magistratus, fr. magister master: cf. F. magistrat. See Master.] A person clothed with power as a public civil officer; a public civil officer invested with the executive government, or some branch of it. ``All Christian rulers and magistrates.''
--Book of Com. Prayer.

Of magistrates some also are supreme, in whom the sovereign power of the state resides; others are subordinate.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

late 14c., "civil officer in charge of administering laws," from Old French magistrat, from Latin magistratus "a magistrate, public functionary," originally "magisterial rank or office," from magistrare "serve as a magistrate," from magister "chief, director" (see master). Related: Magistracy.


n. 1 (context legal English) A judicial officer with limited authority to administer and enforce the law. A magistrate's court may have jurisdiction in civil or criminal cases, or both. 2 (context Quebec English) A master's degree


n. a public official authorized to decide questions bought before a court of justice [syn: judge, justice, jurist]


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, a magistratus was one of the highest ranking government officers, and possessed both judicial and executive powers. In other parts of the world, such as 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), magistrates may be volunteers without formal legal training who perform a judicial role with regard to minor matters.

Magistrate (England and Wales)

In the legal system of England and Wales, there is a history of involving lay people, namely people from the local community who are not required to hold any legal qualifications, in the judicial decision-making process of the courts. They are called justices of the peace or magistrates.

These magistrates were termed "lay magistrates" to distinguish them from professional magistrates known as stipendiary magistrates (now district judges). District judges sit alone to hear cases and are permanently employed by the Ministry of Justice (until May 2007, the Department for Constitutional Affairs). Magistrates are not paid, apart from an allowance for loss of earnings, mileage and subsistence (which are at a standardised rate agreed by the Ministry of Justice). A practising solicitor or barrister may sit part-time as a deputy district judge. Retired district judges may occasionally sit as deputies. District judges are formally addressed in court as "sir" or "madam". In law reports, they are referred to as "DJ Smith" (or "DDJ Smith" for deputies).

Magistrates generally sit in threes in order to give judgement on a variety of cases in magistrates' courts, youth courts and family proceedings courts. The lead magistrate, known as the chairman, is formally addressed in court as "sir" or "madam" or "your worship", and the magistrates collectively as "your worships". In law reports, they are referred to as "John Smith JP" (for justice of the peace).

Magistrates deal with less serious criminal cases, such as minor theft, criminal damage, assaults, public disorder and motoring offences. All magistrates sit in adult criminal courts as "benches" of three (occasionally two), mixed in gender, age and ethnicity whenever possible to bring a broad experience of life to the bench. All three members of the bench have equal decision-making powers but only the chairman speaks in court and presides over proceedings. A qualified legal adviser, also known as the court clerk, sits with the bench in the court room and is available to them at all times during the court sitting.

The term "bench" is also used collectively to describe a group of magistrates assigned to a particular local justice area.

Usage examples of "magistrate".

The magistrate was acquainted with the girl, and the mother laughed at having duped me so easily.

Gloucestershire Bert went northward to the British aeronautic park outside Birmingham, in the hope that he might be taken on and given food, for there the Government, or at any rate the War Office, still existed as an energetic fact, concentrated amidst collapse and social disaster upon the effort to keep the British flag still flying in the air, and trying to brisk up mayor and mayor and magistrate and magistrate in a new effort of organisation.

Isemonger, wife of the police magistrate of the Province, met me on the bright, green lawn studded with clumps of alamanda, which surrounds their lovely, palm-shaded bungalow.

Byzantine court, so ambitiously solicited by their dukes, would have degraded the magistrates of a free people.

I cannot recollect now, and could not render into English were I to recall them, should, upon complaint of the person aggrieved, and upon proof of the offence by the evidence of worthy and truth-speaking witnesses, be amerced in such penalty, not exceeding a certain sum, as in the estimation of the presiding magistrate should be held to be a proper compensation for the injury to his reputation suffered by the plaintiff.

In consequence of these lamentable occurrences, and the excited state of the northern districts of the kingdom, on the 22nd of July, Lord John Russell announced his intention of taking the requisite precautions for securing the tranquillity of the country, by placing at the hands of the magistrates a better organized constitutional force for putting the law into execution, and providing sufficient military means for supporting them in the performance of their duty.

Finally he and the magistrate finished their chat, and we glowered at Arem as he shut the door.

That this magistrate of austere appearance may have committed a crime in no way permits me to know him better.

One day, in the month of August it was, I had gone on some private concernment of my own to Kilmarnock, and Mr Booble, who was then oldest Bailie, naturally officiated as chief magistrate in my stead.

La Fayette, whom this measure had left without employment, feeling keenly the diminution of his importance, and instigated by the restlessness common to men of moderate capacity, conceived the hope of succeeding Bailly in the mayoralty of Paris, which that magistrate was on the point of resigning.

It was also in the Baptistery that the Florentines crowned poets and invested magistrates, blessed departing soldiers and honored those who returned from the wars.

When I had finished the letter I sent it to the magistrate, and then I began my packing.

The magistrate was kept waiting another ten minutes before the bail bondsman arrived.

He saw a man of elegant and easy figure, still young, with nothing solemn or imposing about him, having more the air of a boulevardier or of a sportsman than of a magistrate.

Bishop Steuben and the magistrate Bruer provoked confessions from the innocent and the guilty.