Difference Between Judge and Magistrate

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: May 14, 2023


Difference Between Judge and Magistrate

Why read @ Diffzy

Our articles are well-researched

We make unbiased comparisons

Our content is free to access

We are a one-stop platform for finding differences and comparisons

We compare similar terms in both tabular forms as well as in points


Protecting the rights of citizens is the responsibility of the court, a constitutional institution. The final authority on legal issues and constitutional provisions is this.

It is critical in the creation of laws and the resolution of conflicts among individuals, governments, and other parties. To defend rights, courts uphold the nation's law and order.

The Supreme Court, High Court, and various lower courts are all presided over by judges. Unlike magistrates, who have considerably less authority than judges, judges are not on an even playing field with them. Typically, a district or city falls under the magistrate's purview.

Judge vs. Magistrate

Based on the facts submitted and in line with the law, the judge determines whether the accused is guilty or innocent. The judge then imposes the penalty if the offender is found guilty. Depending on the legislation, he may imprison the individual or impose a fine, or both.

A magistrate is an official who oversees the administration of justice in a given territory, such as a city or district. The word "magistrate" originates from the Old French word ‘Magistrate’, which also means "a magistrate, public machinery" and "civil officers responsible for administering laws.” The magistrate's responsibility is to deal with small-scale cases.

Difference between Judge and Magistrate in Tabular Form

Parameters of Comparison



Appointed by

Judge is appointed by the President of India.

Magistrate is appointed by High Courts

Word Origin

The term judge is derived from the Old French ‘juge’, meaning "one who declares the law."

The word "magistrate" is derived from the Latin word magistratus, which means "administrator."


A judge is neither a civil servant nor a junior justice of the peace. Regarding a legal matter, a judge is a judicial official who evaluates the evidence that is offered to him. During court proceedings, a judge oversees the administration of justice and renders decisions on cases.

A Magistrate is a civil officer or a small judicial officer in specified locations such as a district or town.

Power Dynamic

Depending on the severity of the offense, a judge holds the power to sentence a person to life in prison or the death penalty A Magistrate has no authority to sentence someone to life imprisonment or death.


Judges deal with challenging cases. The magistrate deals with minor cases.


The scope of a judge's authority is enormous.

When compared to a judge, a magistrate's jurisdiction is more limited.

Who is a Judge?

Whether acting alone or as a member of a panel of judges, a judge is a person who presides over court proceedings. A judge hears all of the witnesses and any other evidence that the barristers or lawyers in the case may offer, evaluates the parties' arguments and credibility, and then renders a decision in the case based on their interpretation of the law and their judgment. The trial will ideally take place in an open court, and the judge is expected to preside impartially. Distinct jurisdictions have very distinct rules regarding judges' roles, duties, methods of appointment, disciplinary measures, and education. The judge's authority may be supplemented in some jurisdictions by a jury. In inquisitorial criminal inquiry systems, a judge may also serve as an examining magistrate.

Power and Function

The ultimate responsibility of a judge is to resolve a legal issue in a final, transparently legal, and accord with significant partialities. Significant governmental authority is held by judges. They have the authority to instruct police, military, or judicial agents to carry out searches, arrests, detentions, garnishments, detainments, seizures, deportations, and similar operations. To prevent arbitrariness and maintain uniformity and impartiality, judges also make sure that the proper trial processes are followed. The supreme court and other higher courts, such as appeals courts, have the power to check judges' authority.

The judge, the prosecutor, and the defense counsel are the three primary, legally qualified court personnel. Different legal systems place different demands on judges. In a common law adversarial system, such as the ones used in the United States and England, the judge serves as an impartial referee, primarily guaranteeing proper process, while the prosecution and defense present their cases to a jury, which is frequently chosen from regular citizens. The jury is the primary fact-finder, and the judge will next decide on the appropriate sentence. Nevertheless, judges can render summary judgments in less serious matters without holding a jury trial.

There is no jury under an inquisitorial system (civil law), which is used in continental Europe, and the judge is the primary fact-finder. He presides over the proceedings, renders judgments, and imposes sentences on his own. Le juge est la bouche de la loi (literally, "The judge is the mouth of the law") is a French term that refers to the judge's responsibility to implement the law directly. Additionally, the judge, who serves as an examining magistrate, may carry out inquiries in some systems.

Judges may operate alone in lesser cases but sometimes sit on panels for larger situations involving the law, the family, or other matters. In some civil law systems, lay judges might be a part of this panel. Unlike jurors, lay judges are often volunteers and may be nominated by politicians. However, unlike professional judges, lay judges lack legal training. In judicial cases, law clerks, referees, and notaries frequently assist judges. For security, bailiffs or others of a similar kind are frequently used.

Conditions and appointment

There are both professional and volunteer judges. Like an English magistrate, a volunteer judge is not obliged to have the legal expertise and is not compensated. A professional judge, however, must have a legal education; in the US, this often entails holding a Juris Doctor degree. A large amount of professional experience is frequently necessary as well; in the US, judges are frequently chosen from seasoned lawyers. The chief of state frequently appoints judges. However, judges are sometimes chosen in political elections in the United States.

It's common to think of impartiality as crucial to the rule of law. As a result, judges may be appointed for life in many jurisdictions, making it impossible for the administration to dismiss them. However, in non-democratic regimes, the selection of judges may be heavily influenced by politics, and they frequently get guidance on how to rule. They may also face removal if their actions offend the political establishment.

Types of Courts in India

The Indian Constitution ratifies the nation's current judicial structure. There are three types of courts in India's legal system: the Supreme Court, High Courts, and Subordinate Courts. The Constitution explicitly states that the British legal system is used by our court system. The laws that are being enacted do not perfectly match the originals; nonetheless, they have undergone certain modifications to meet the needs of our nation.

Court Hierarchy

Supreme Court

The Indian legal system is set up hierarchically. India's Supreme Court is the country's top court, followed by the High Court and all of the District Courts. According to the declaration contained in Article 124(1), this court is composed of 34 judges, including the Chief Justice of India.

Important Articles relating to the Indian Supreme Court's rules:

Qualifications: Article 124(3) discusses the requirements to serve as a judge of the supreme court.

Must be an Indian citizen and must have served as a judge of a high court for at least five years, or of two or more high courts in quick succession; or must have served as a high court advocate for at least ten years, or of two or more high courts in quick succession; or must, in the president's opinion, be a distinguished jurist.

Conditions / Removal: Section 124(4) The following circumstances exist when judges' terms may be shortened: Death, impeachment (during the term), and resignation.

Age: He is eligible to continue serving until he turns 65.

  1. Courts of record: As stated rather expressly in Article 129, this court will also be regarded as a court of record and has the power to punish for contempt on its own. The phrase "court of record" refers to judicial proceedings that are officially documented for testimonial, permanent, and evidentiary purposes. They are uncontested when brought before another court.
  2. Jurisdiction : Original: Article 131 of the Indian Constitution allows for the exercise of original jurisdiction.

Appellate: Constitutional appeals, civil appeals, and criminal appeals all fall within the purview of appellate jurisdiction.

Advisory Jurisdiction: The court has the power to provide advice on issues of national concern.

High Court

The Governor of the state and the Chief Justice of the United States discuss before the President names the Chief Justice of each High Court of a state or state. Based on the demands of that court, the President appoints other judges in addition to the Chief Justice. There are no predetermined limitations on who can be appointed as a judge on a High Court. It might occasionally vary.

Important Articles 217 (1) (2) (3), which discuss the provisions relating to the High Court :

Judges who are qualified

An individual cannot be appointed as a High Court judge unless they satisfy the following conditions:

  • He has to be an Indian citizen.
  • He should have a minimum of 10 years of judicial experience. Alternatively, he must spend 10 years as an advocate at the High Court.

High Court Judges' Terms and Removal

  1. Record Court

All rulings and orders made by the appropriate High Court must be kept on file under Article 215 of the Constitution for future reference. These verdicts set precedents for the lesser and lower courts.

High Court’s Authority and Powers

  • Originating Authority

It indicates that the High Court has the power to consider a matter in the first instance as an original court. Many cases concerning marriage, wills, contempt of court, the enforcement of basic rights, and other concerns are filed directly with the HC as a result of budgetary restrictions.

  • Law of Writs

The power to legislate both legal and basic rights lies with the High Courts.

  • Appellate Courts' Powers

The High Court is the highest in the state, according to state hierarchy. It has authority over all lower courts although reporting to the Supreme Court.

  • Supervisory Jurisdiction

A state must have control over all courts and tribunals that are located inside its borders. There are restrictions on the High Court's ability to improperly sway lesser courts. The High Court must, however, only seldom and sparingly use its power.

District Court

Every district has its district court, however, occasionally many districts will share one, depending on how many cases are currently outstanding. At the district level, each court is presided over by a district judge. Their major objective is to administer justice locally. These inferior courts are under the judicial and administrative control of the High Court, the Supreme Court. Currently, India has 672 district courts. Additionally, the High Court has appeal authority over the District Court's ruling. The District Court consists of:

  1. District judges (for both criminal and civil cases)
  2. Additional District magistrates.
  3.  Assistant District judges.

Who is a Magistrate?

An official who oversees the administration of justice in a district or city is known as a magistrate. The word "magistrate" is derived from the old French word "magistrat," which also denotes "a magistrate, public machinery" and "civil officers responsible for administering laws." This individual hears arguments in civil or criminal cases and renders a judgment. The Chief Executive, Administrative, and Revenue Officer would be the District Magistrate or District Collector, respectively. He builds crucial communication channels between the many government departments operating in the area.

The District Magistrate position was established by Warren Hastings in 1772. The District Magistrate's primary responsibilities include monitoring general administration, recouping land taxes, and upholding peace and order in the area. He served as the revenue organization's director at the time. In addition, he was in charge of managing mortgages, lending money to farmers, registering land, dividing fields, settling disputes, and providing loans to farmers in times of drought. He served as the district's chief executive officer's deputy and received information from all other officeholders concerning each department's activities. Additionally, they were given responsibility for the District Magistrate's duties. In his capacity as District Magistrate, he also examines the district's police and lower courts.

Main Difference between Judge and Magistrate (In Points)

  1. A judge, or the person who makes decisions in court, might be thought of as an arbitrator. A magistrate, on the other hand, is a regional judicial official who is chosen by the state's high court justices to uphold law and order in a particular area or region.
  2. A magistrate renders judgments on unimportant or trivial issues. The Magistrate renders the initial judgment in criminal proceedings. It is well-recognized that he possesses superior administrative skills. In contrast, the judge renders judgments in complicated and serious matters, when legal acumen and the capacity for independent judgment are crucial.
  3. The High Court appoints the Chief Judicial Magistrate and Judicial Magistrate, whereas the Governor names the District Magistrate. In contrast, the Chief Justice of India and the State Governor meet with the President before appointing a judge to the High Court. The President also selects justices for the Supreme Court.
  4. Judges are subject to the restricted authority of magistrates.
  5. In contrast to a judge, a magistrate merely has limited authority to enforce the law and make decisions.
  6. A magistrate has the authority to impose penalties and a certain amount of time in jail. However, judges have the authority to impose a death or life sentence.
  7. An official with a legal degree serves as the judge at all times. However, in certain nations, a legal degree is not necessary to become a magistrate. In other words, a judge must hold a legal degree and have experience practicing advocacy in a court before being appointed; a magistrate may or may not hold a law degree.
  8. Judges' duties extend beyond serving as the game's officials to make sure no team commits fouls. They are responsible for managing the case and directing it under accepted standards and practices, making sure that justice is served while also being demonstrated to have been served. In every case that is brought before them, magistrates are required to do all in their power to find the truth.


A judge in a court of law makes decisions about how the law should be applied, including how violators should be punished. Cases are decided by magistrates in their neighborhood courts. They may handle cases in either the family court or the criminal court, or both.


  1. www.britannica.com
  2. en.wikipedia.org
  3. portal.theedulaw.com
  4. www.etymonline.com



Cite this article

Use the citation below to add this article to your bibliography:



MLA Style Citation

"Difference Between Judge and Magistrate." Diffzy.com, 2024. Sun. 19 May. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-judge-and-magistrate-1338>.

Edited by

Share this article