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The Magistrate's Court

The Magistrate's Court is constituted under the provisions of the Magistrate's Court (Guernsey) Law, 1954, as amended by the Magistrate's Court (Guernsey) Law, 2008. The Court is presided over by a Judge of the Magistrate's Court, as appointed  by the Royal Court.  In addition, the Deputy Bailiff or a Judge of the Royal Court may preside over sittings of the Magistrate's Court.

Almost all criminal court cases start in the Magistrate's Court, and more than 90 per cent are completed there. he more serious offences are passed on to the Royal Court.

The Magistrate's Court deals with three kinds of cases:

  • Summary offences. These are less serious cases, such as motoring offences and minor assaults.

  • Either-way offences. As the name implies, these can be dealt with either by magistrates or before a judge and jury at the Royal Court. Such offences include theft and handling stolen goods. A defendant can insist on their right to trial in the Royal Court. The Magistrate's Court can also decide that a case is so serious that it should be dealt with in the Royal Court, which can impose tougher sentences if the defendant is found guilty.

  • Indictable-only offences, such as murder, manslaughter, rape and robbery, must be heard by the Royal Court.

If the case is indictable-only, the Magistrate's Court will generally decide whether to grant bail, consider other legal issues such as reporting restrictions, and then Commit the case to the Royal Court.

The Magistrate's Court  consists of the following sections:

Criminal and Civil Jurisdiction of the Magistrate's Court

Domestic Proceedings


Juvenile Court

Costs and Fees