Magistrates' Court (Hong Kong)
Magistrates' courts in Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...
are presided over by 'Permanent' and 'Special' Magistrate
A magistrate is an officer of the state; in modern usage the term usually refers to a judge or prosecutor. This was not always the case; in ancient Rome, a magistratus was one of the highest government officers and possessed both judicial and executive powers. Today, in common law systems, a...
s. Permanent Magistrates are professionally qualified. They come from barristers or solicitors. Special Magistrates need not be professionally qualified but can be appointed from persons with experience of the courts; they may have been court clerks, court interpreters or lay prosecutors.
Permanent Magistrates have criminal jurisdiction over a wide range of indictable and summary offenses meriting up to 2 years of imprisonment and a fine of HK$100,000; a sentence of up to 3 years can be imposed in certain circumstances. Special Magistrates deal with minor offenses and cannot impose a prison sentence and are limited to impose a maximum fine of HK$50,000 only. There are certain professional qualifications required to become a Special Magistrate.