Difference Between Magistrates and Judges

Magistrates and judges appear to perform the same role in relation to the judiciary, but this is not true; since there are differences between the two, especially in regard to their powers. Difference Between Magistrates and Judges

One of the first differences that can be observed is that judges are accredited and have more powers than a magistrate. The magistrate is known to have more powers in terms of administration and most of them are charged with handling only minor offenses. They can handle crimes such as petty theft, petty crime, and traffic violations. On the other hand, judges handle large cases. While the magistrates handle the smaller cases, the judges are left free to handle the larger and more complex cases.

Unlike a judge, a magistrate is only limited to the application of the law and administrative powers. In some countries, the judges who are elected are usually in charge of appointing the magistrates.

When speaking of jurisdiction, the magistrate has limited jurisdiction compared to a judge. Generally, the magistrate only has jurisdiction within a region, district, or province. This jurisdiction may differ from country to country. Judges have a higher authority and can encompass a state and even an entire country.

MAGISTRATES  Difference Between Magistrates and Judges

The word ‘magistrate’ is derived from medieval English ‘magistrat’, which means ‘civil officer in charge of administering the laws’. It could also be derived from an old French word “magistrat” ​​or from a Latin Latin word “magister” which in turn has the word “magnus” as its root.


“Judge” is a word derived from the Anglo-French word “juger” which means “to form an opinion about”, or from the French term “jugier” which means “to judge”; although it could also be from the word “judicare”, which also means “to judge.”

Key differences 

  • Judges have more powers than magistrates.
  • The magistrates are in charge of handling minor crimes, while the judges are in charge of those major and more complex crimes.
  • The magistrate has a more limited jurisdiction than that of a judge. Judges have higher authority and can include an entire state or country.

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