The guest speaker was the magistrate. The magistrate is a civilofficer or lay judge whose function is to administer the law. Theyconduct a court that handles minor offenses, besides holdingpreliminary hearings for more serious cases to be handled later byhigher courts. The magistrates can be appointed from the age of 18years, and retire at 70. They do not require legal training orqualification, and there are six qualities they have to demonstratebefore being appointed.
I learnt that the judge has two main functions to fulfill. These arethe judicial functions and the district administrative functions. Forjudicial functions, the magistrate’s primary function is toadjudicate in civil and criminal cases, give a verdict and convictthe guilty persons. They also have jurisdiction in civil cases, suchas disputes between individuals. As a district administrator, themagistrate acts as a representative for other state departments. Suchdepartments include immigration, tax department and registration ofpersons. They may also serve on various committees and boards.
Thespeaker confirmed a number of myths and realities regarding theirjudicial role. In order to be a good judge, it is said that someonehas to be of character, integrity, honesty and industrious. However,there has been a myth that good knowledge of the law is important forone to practice as a magistrate. Knowledge is in fact not at top ofthe list, however, it is a desirable quality so as to be identifiedprofessionally.
Generally,I was satisfied with the representation by the speaker. Hearticulately addressed all the issues that the listeners wanted toknow about, and answered a number of questions that touched on whatwe had learnt in class.