Magistrate’s Court and Youth Court
The Magistrate’s Court was first established in Jersey in 1853 and is a key component of the criminal justice system with approximately 95% of criminal cases being processed there. Cases in the Magistrate’s Court are heard by a professional, legally qualified Magistrate, Assistant Magistrate or Relief Magistrate. The Magistrate and Assistant Magistrate are full time judges appointed by the Bailiff (Chief Justice). Relief Magistrates are appointed by the Bailiff from amongst experienced private sector lawyers. A Magistrate cannot impose sentences of imprisonment exceeding 12 months and/ or fines exceeding £5000. A Magistrate is obliged to commit to the Royal Court any criminal case, which is beyond the sentencing powers of the Magistrate’s Court.
The Youth Court was established in 1994 to hear charges against persons under the age of 18 years. The Jersey Youth Court comprises a Magistrate (chair) and two members of a panel known as the Youth Court Panel, one of whom must be a woman. While the Youth Court has a variety of sentencing options in dealing with young offenders and to discourage offending no person under the age of 21 years can be sentenced to a term of imprisonment.
Petty Debts Court
The Petty Debts Court adjudicates upon civil claims and was first established in 1853. It is presided over by a single Judge (Magistrate) and currently deals, essentially, with claims, which do not exceed £10,000. Since 2004, the Petty Debts Court also operates such that small claims can be resolved by mediation.