Magistrates handle minor, generally criminal cases, such as traffic violations, public health nuisances, petty theft and even minor assaults. They are mostly found in England and Wales, although some large municipalities in the United States also have magistrates courts. The magistrates that preside over these courts are usually unpaid volunteers.Know More
Magistrates' courts are always open to the public, except when the magistrates are acting as examining justices. In this role, they examine the known facts about a serious crime to decide whether a defendant should be sent to a higher court for trial. All criminal cases in England and Wales go through magistrate's courts, but only the minor ones mentioned previously are given final judgements by them. The ability of magistrates to imprison or fine defendants is very limited. Magistrates' courts also handle cases involving the care of children younger than 14 as well as the criminal cases of minors between 14 and 17 years old, except in murder cases.
Magistrates in the United States are either elected or appointed to the office. In many places, they do not require legal training, although in large cities they are often lawyers. They have similar final jurisdiction to the magistrates' courts in England and Wales.Learn more about Branches of Government
According to the US Courts, federal courts abstain from hearing cases that are more properly handled by states. The federal court must have jurisdiction to hear the case. Jurisdiction depends on the subject matter, standing of the parties, amount of potential damages and merits of the case.Full Answer >
The U.S. Supreme Court decides criminal and civil appeals cases that involve federal law, according to the U.S. Justice Department’s Offices of the United States Attorneys. Cases come from other federal appeals courts and from state courts, as long as the question involves federal statutes or the U.S. Constitution.Full Answer >
The different types of court hearings include those heard by the circuit court, the district court, the small claims court, the probate court, the court of claims, the court of appeals, the supreme court and the bankruptcy court. Each court has a different function within the judicial system, and hears different cases, or, in some cases, may review cases from one of the other courts.Full Answer >
The United States Constitution does not specify any qualifications for Supreme Court justices, and no special requirements exist concerning age, education, profession, experience or citizenship. Justices do not need to have particular legal experience, nor do they need to be lawyers. However, as of 2014, all justices have had some sort of preparation in law.Full Answer >