Judge: A Person who Presides Over Legal Proceedings a Court of Law

Judge: A Person who Presides Over Legal Proceedings a Court of Law

What is a Judge?

A judge is a person, either a man or a woman, who presides over a court of law. Most judges preside alone, but sometimes preside as part of a panel of judges or other legal professionals.  A judge typically presides over a physical court room facility, but sometimes conducts court via two-way video in cases where safety is a concern or to expedite the judicial process. The powers, functions, method of appointment, discipline, and training of judges vary widely across different jurisdictions. Check local laws and statutes if doing research for a case.

The judge hears all the witnesses and any other evidence presented by both of the parties of the legal case, commonly referred to as the Plaintiff and Defendant.

The judge assesses the credibility of the parties involved in the case, and then issues an official ruling or decision based on his or her interpretation of the law and his or her own personal judgment.

In some jurisdictions, powers may be shared with a jury, although this practice is starting to be phased out in some regions.

In many states throughout the United States, a judge is addressed verbally as “Your Honor” or “Judge” when presiding over the court. “Judge” may be more commonly used by attorneys and staff, while either may be commonly used by the plaintiff or defendant in the court room. In some situations, you may hear the term “Justice of the Peace” or “magistrate”.

Private detectives and police officers may have to stand before a judge when involved in legal proceedings.

View other legal and law definitions in our Investigation Glossary.

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