Difference Between Judge and Magistrate

Judge vs Magistrate

Judge and Magistrate are two terms that are often confused when it comes to their usage. It is generally believed that both the terms refer to one and the same person. Actually, it is not so. A judge is different from a magistrate in more than one aspect.

It is indeed true that both of them differ in their powers. As a matter of fact a judge is bestowed with more powers than a magistrate. This is an important difference between the two terms. It is important to know that the powers given to a magistrate are akin to those given to an administrator. This is the reason why a magistrate handles small and minor cases only.

On the contrary, a judge is left to handle big and complex cases. The cases handled by a judge are usually not simple in nature. They also handle large cases in the sense that they can run for several years.

The law enforcement powers exercised by a magistrate are very much limited in number and nature when compared to the law enforcement powers exercised by a judge. Likewise, the administrative powers of a judge are more when compared to those of a magistrate.

It is interesting to note that a magistrate is appointed by a judge in a few countries. This only means that a judge has the authority to appoint even a magistrate. The domain in which a magistrate works is normally limited. On the other hand, the domain in which a judge works is almost unlimited and large.

The US Federal Court System is one of the very well organized court systems in the world, in the sense that magistrates are directly appointed by the life term judges. This system has received wide appreciation from the other court systems in the rest of the world.

A judge enjoys even a better and an expansive jurisdiction when compared to a magistrate. On the other hand, a magistrate takes care of a limited jurisdiction only. This is one of the most important differences between the two words. In other words, it can be said that the jurisdiction of magistrate falls within the state, province or district or a very small area for that matter.

On the other hand, the jurisdiction of a judge falls within a capital city or a very large area. Sometimes, the jurisdiction of a judge can cover the entire country too. It is interesting to note that the word ‘magistrate’ is derived from the Middle English word ‘magistrat’. A magistrate is more or less a civil officer. He has the power that is granted to administrative personnel. Hence he is in charge of administrative laws.

On the other hand, the word ‘judge’ is derived from the French word ‘juger’ meaning to form an opinion on something’. So, the judge finally became a person who spells the final opinion. In Old French the verb ‘jugier’ meant ‘to judge’. These are the differences between the two words, namely, judge and magistrate.