justice 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.
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. 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
References in periodicals archive ?
We follow him through the Executive Council hearing and the finding that 'the Council are of opinion that Mr John Stephen Jnr has been guilty of the most flagrant dereliction of his duty, and therefore recommend that his name be struck out of the Commission of the Peace, and that he be suspended from the office which he now holds as a commissioner for apportioning the territory'; to his journey back to England; appeal to the House of Commons and eventual return to NSW.
This could only be achieved through a Commission of the Peace and the introduction of magistrates which, in itself, could only be granted to an incorporated borough council.

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