Definition of magistrate in English:



  • A civil officer or lay judge who administers the law, especially one who conducts a court that deals with minor offenses and holds preliminary hearings for more serious ones.

    • ‘The magistrate will listen to what the parties say and issue a written decision resolving the dispute.’
    • ‘It is clear that the magistrates heard a great deal of factual evidence and had regard to that.’
    • ‘They were convicted by the magistrates of obstructing a police officer in the execution of his duty.’
    • ‘Noise began to arise from the court but the magistrate beckoned for silence.’
    • ‘The court heard he had been dealt with by Haverfordwest magistrates by way of a fine.’
    • ‘It was an unwritten rule in Lancashire that no active manufacturers could become magistrates.’
    • ‘The magistrate found that the prosecution had not satisfied the onus of proof that was required.’
    • ‘Local residents should serve on juries in the upper courts and as lay magistrates in the lower courts.’
    • ‘Swindon magistrates remanded him in custody and committed the case to crown court.’
    • ‘The Committee on District Courts establishes the number of magistrates in each district.’
    • ‘The government also plans a new youth court with a judge and two magistrates.’
    • ‘The magistrates decided the offence so serious that the only option was a custodial sentence.’
    • ‘The lawyers sit at the bar table facing the magistrate and the defendant sits with his or her lawyer.’
    • ‘In sentencing the magistrates said the offences were so serious that custody was the only option.’
    • ‘All the people who were arrested appeared before a special court set up by magistrates.’
    • ‘I noticed in the record that the magistrate did admit evidence of the other convictions.’
    • ‘It is not a function of a committing magistrate to apply hearsay argument and exclude evidence.’
    • ‘The magistrate ordered he be remanded in custody to reappear in court next month.’
    • ‘Not all the versions they hear may be the same so the magistrates have to decide which one is the true story.’
    • ‘At earlier hearings magistrates have had to order him to stay in the cells because of his outbursts in court.’
    judge, her honour, his honour, your honour
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Late Middle English: from Latin magistratus ‘administrator’, from magister ‘master’.