Thanks so much Caroline and John. Now, to get it straight...
Posted by SuzanneR on August 22, 1998 at 13:17:53:
In response to JP and Magistrate, written by John W on August 22, 1998 at 06:05:13
] They did not arrest drunks, the parish constable would do that, but they would as a local bench of three or so chosen from the whole body of JPs sit in judgment and either settle trivial matters, fining, whipping or setting culprits in the stocks, or remiting the case to the periodic Assizes when a Royal judge of Oyer and Terminer and General Gaol Delivery would take over.
Could a JP sit alone "in chambers," or did he have to get together with several others? I remember seeing a quote that said something about every "sporting" justice being a little Nimrod in his parlor (referring to the unfairness of the game laws in which the sportsman landowner who had an intense bias against poachers had such summary powers of judgment). Sorry I can't get the reference better right now.
] Eventually, in the 19th Century, the development of Government Departments with local branches deprived the JPs of most of their civil service function, though, for example , they still handle the licencing of bars and taverns, and they now sit as judges of first instance in local courts for less serious offences, supplemented by Stipendiary Magistrates who are lawyers and salaried, while the JP is a form of voluntary service.
John, you've been admirably clear about the function of JPs, but I'm still not sure about the magistrates. If the JPs were the unpaid country gentlemen who ran the show in the countryside, were the magistrates the paid (after a certain date) officials who presided over the "lower" police courts in the cities? Were there magistrates in rural settings? Caroline's posting implied that there were two separate levels of authority--as in Tom Jones.
Can one call a JP a magistrate, or vice versa?
Yikes, this is a confusing topic. Thanks again, everyone.
- Magistrates John W 17:18:29 8/22/98 (2)
- Justices of the Peace (long) Captain Everett 21:30:08 8/24/98 (1)
- Thanks, Captain Everett! If you feel like it sometime... SuzanneR 22:31:06 8/24/98 (0)
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