The magistrates' court is the first step on the legal ladder for those involved in the criminal justice system. Over 95% of all criminal cases are dealt with by the magistrates' court, which either provides the necessary prosecution, or refers the case to the Crown Court. The magistrates' court is presided over by specially trained members of the public called justices of the peace. The magistrates' deal with most criminal cases, but they also have limited power over certain civil cases.
a county court where high level officials heard cases that did not concern life or banishment
A court where criminal proceedings are commenced before justices of the peace, who examine the evidence/statements and either deal with the case themselves or commit to the Crown Court for trial or sentence. Some magistrates also have jurisdiction in the youth court, family matters (known as the family proceedings court) and limited civil cases.