justice of the peace(redirected from justices of the peace)
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justice of the peace,official presiding over a type of police courtpolice court,
court with jurisdiction limited to minor offenses, chiefly the least grave misdemeanors and breaches of municipal ordinances. In practice the trial is usually held before a judge sitting without a jury.
..... Click the link for more information. . In some states of the United States the justices, who are usually elected, have jurisdiction over petty civil and criminal cases as well as having such duties as the issuing of search warrants and the performance of marriage services. The justice of the peace was formerly of greater importance than he is at present. The establishment of the office throughout England in 1360 represented a further extension of royal authority to local government, especially to rural areas. The justices, selected from the gentry, enjoyed extensive administrative and police authority, and they had judicial power over most crimes. The office was established also in the American colonies, but by the latter part of the 19th cent. it had been relegated to a much less central role, especially in administrative areas, in both England and the United States.
justice of the peace
1. (in Britain) a lay magistrate, appointed by the crown or acting ex officio, whose function is to preserve the peace in his area, try summarily such cases as are within his jurisdiction, and perform miscellaneous administrative duties
2. (in Australia and New Zealand) a person authorised to administer oaths, attest instruments, and take declarations