Justice vs Judge
Difference between justice and judge exists in the role they have to play in the legal system of a country. As we all know, in every country there is a judicial system in place, to not only work as a guardian of the rights and freedom of the public, but also as a safeguard for their safety and security. Anyone who feels that his rights or freedom are being compromised or damaged by anyone can approach a court of law in the country to get a redressal for his grievances. The words judge and justice are frequently used to refer to officials that work as custodians of the principles of righteousness, upholding of what is considered fair and just by the society and the written constitution of the country. People think of judge and justice as being synonyms, and often use them interchangeably, which is wrong as there are differences between these words that will be highlighted in this article.
It is a practice to refer to the judges of a supreme court as justices. Judges in lower courts are simply called judges. However, there is no hard and fast rule regarding this convention, and judges in some lower courts are also called justices. There is no doubt that both judges and justices deliver justice. The only difference pertains to the level at which justice is being administered. However, the roles and responsibilities being same, there is a difference in the day to day duties of a judge from a justice of a Supreme Court too.
Who is a Judge?
Judges are persons who have passed law degree and have experience as lawyers. Upon elevation as a judge, which is often through appointments, a person gets powers to pass on verdicts on various matters related to law. Judges preside over a jury that is constituted to hear legal proceedings and deliberate to arrive finally at a decision that is binding upon the warring parties. Judges are also qualified to pass on prison sentences.
Who is a Justice?
Justices, on the other hand, are the part of the same judiciary that consists of judges, lawyers, clerks, and other legal personnel. It is easier to think of justices as being a rung higher in the ladder of judicial positions or ranks. Another difference between judges and justices lies in the fact that justices are often nominated rather than being elected. If you consider the US Federal court justices, the President of US nominates them. However, there are states such as state of Michigan in US that elect their justices or the judges for the Supreme and Appellate Courts.
Then, the term Justice is used in other places too. You might have come across the term Justice of Peace. Justice of Peace, as in countries such as Australia, is a normal person with good status in the community who has the power to witness and sign affidavits and certify copies of original documents. This person does not have to have an education background in law as a justice or a judge. This is the normal definition of a Justice of Peace. He or she is not a judge in a courtroom. However, in some countries such as in Belgium, Justice of Peace is a low-trained judge. The definition varies according to country. In Canada, Justice of Peace is a judge who has significant power in the provincial level.
What is the difference between Justice and Judge?
• Judge and Justice are officials responsible to hear legal proceedings and to pass on their verdict on legal matters.
• Justice is usually used to refer to judges in Supreme Courts while those in lower courts are referred to as simply judges.
• Though people use both words freely for people who have studied law and have the qualifications to be able to pass verdict on different matters pertaining to law, justice is a word that is older of the two, and was in vogue even as far back as 1200 AD. The word judge appeared almost 100 years later, around 1300 AD.
• Judges are appointed, elected or nominated, whereas justices are nominated.
• There are differences in day to day duties of judges and justices. Normally, a judge listens to the court proceedings and comes to a decision for the first time. However, a justice, as he belongs to the higher courts, usually reviews a case that has already been concluded by a judge. A justice has the power to change the verdict of a judge.
• When it comes to Justice of Peace, he or she is normally not a judge in a courtroom. He or she is rather a person with good character who has the power to sign certain legal documents. However, in some countries, Justice of Peace is a low court judge while, in some countries, he or she has a key role to play in provincial justice.
- Swearing In Ceremony for Judge Douglas Nazarian by Maryland GovPics (CC BY 2.0)
- Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court via Wikicommons (Public Domain)