Judges and Magistrates Job Profile and Description

Judges and Magistrates are often your Trial Court Judge District Court Judge, Circuit Court Judge or Magistrate, Municipal Court Magistrate, Presiding Judge and Supreme Court Judge.  They all represent the 3rd branch of government, the Judiciary, which interprets and applies the country’s lawful processes in settling civil and criminal cases, from traffic offences to contractual disputes, civil rights issues all the way to homicide and murder cases.  A judge is appointed or elected to his or her position.  Appointed judges are guaranteed security of tenure while elected judges are your state and local judges whose renewable terms range from 4 to 6 years while trial court judges can be in the position for 14 years or for life.


Judges and Magistrates Duties and Responsibilities

  • Instruct juries on applicable jurisprudence, directing them to deduce the facts from the admissible evidence, and hear their verdicts.
  • Sentence defendants in criminal cases upon conviction by jury, according to applicable legal statutes.
  • Rule on evidentiary admissibility, pleadings, injunctions and motions
  • Interpret and enforce rules of court or establish new rules in situations where there are no precedent procedures.
  • Conduct preliminary hearings to determine if there is reasonable cause to hold defendants in felony cases.

Judges and Magistrates Skills and Specifications

  • Must exhibit the highest moral, ethical and character integrity
  • Must have excellent knowledge of jurisprudence
  • Must have high analytical and troubleshooting skills
  • Must have excellent leadership skills
  • Must have excellent persuasive oral and written communication skills

Judges and Magistrates Education and Qualifications

  • Most judges are lawyers, though the minimum is a bachelor’s degree with relevant work experience as 40 states allow non-lawyers to hold limited judgeships, but you lose out on any career movement in the judiciary.
  • A Bachelor of Laws degree with BAR credentiation

Judges and Magistrates Salary

The median annual salary for Judges and Magistrates stood at $110,300 in 2008. The middle 50% got between $51,800 and $141,200 with the top 10 % earning around $162,200, while the bottom 10% got about $32,300. The median for state judges was $126,100 and $77,400 in local government.