Honorary judge: who is he and what does he do?

Who is the honorary judge and what does he do? How do you become an honorary judge? What is the difference with the ordinary judiciary?

The Italian ordinary justice employs many people who work and strive to ensure that the law is always applied correctly and respecting the laws available to the legal system for carrying out the proceedings. The use of qualified personnel to help the law be applied correctly occurs both in civil proceedings, when this therefore follows a dispute between the parties, as well as in criminal matters: when, therefore, a fact has been committed that falls within the connotations for can be defined as a crime and therefore requires criminal proceedings to be resolved and to serve the sentence for the accused who is found guilty.


  1. Who is the honorary judge?
  2. What is the ordinary judiciary?
  3. What does the honorary judge do?
  4. The honorary juvenile judge

Who is the honorary judge?

The Italian judiciary , it must be said, is not only composed of qualified personnel who have passed and passed the competition for the ordinary Italian judiciary and which is held annually – and which allows the inclusion of young magistrates at the disposal of the Italian courts every year. – but also by other subjects who are lent to the category. These professional and qualified figures are the honorary judges.

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In fact, in a courtroom, it often happens to be present as witnesses: it is very likely that in these situations we have been faced with honorary judges who are not toga. But what does it mean to be an honorary judge and not toga? What is the difference between these two categories of judges? Let’s see it together by reading this short guide.

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The honorary judge is in fact a legal professional who exercises the functions that are usual for professional magistrates and who therefore takes care of deciding on cases and disputes that are within his competence, whether they are civil or criminal.

In other words, therefore, the honorary judge is, in fact, a person who acts as a judge even though he is not in all respects and who has very similar powers to the official judge even though he has not passed the public competition for the ordinary judiciary.

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What is the ordinary judiciary?

But if, therefore, the honorary judge is a person who acts as a judge even though he is not in all respects, it is right to ask, consequently, what is the ordinary judiciary in order to better understand this statement.

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In Italy, to become an ordinary magistrate, it is necessary to pass an annual competition. To be able to participate in this state competition you must meet some requirements and the first of all is to be a law graduate and this degree must also be accompanied by other qualifications such as the specialization diploma for legal professions , the doctorate and the qualification practice of the legal profession , internship in court and more.

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The aforementioned competition consists in facing three written tests and only one oral test. If the results of these tests are positive and after a period of training , you become a full-fledged magistrate.

The path for the honorary judiciary , on the other hand, is completely different. In this case, in fact, the competition to which you must register is not for exams but is only for qualifications. In practice, therefore, the future honorary judge is not selected on the basis of passing one or more specific tests but on the basis of his qualifications that he presented at the time of sending his application to become an honorary judge. In practice, therefore, the honorary judge is chosen for his curriculum vitae .

But even in the case of the honorary judiciary, in order to be admitted to the competition it is necessary to have certain requirementsessential. In fact, one must have a degree in law and must have obtained the qualification to practice law or must have performed judicial functions – including honorary ones – for at least two years: judicial functions include notarial functions, teaching of legal subjects within of universities, of functions that are inherent to managerial qualifications and that have an age of not less than 33 years and not more than seventy; who have ceased their exercise inherent in any work activity and, if already lawyers, provided that they do not practice law in the district of the court where the office of the justice of the peace to which they belong is located.

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What does the honorary judge do?

But specifically what does an honorary judge do? What are the areas in which it is competent? What causes can it be dealt with and in which, instead, is it not required? The honorary judge exercises, even if temporarily, the same functions as an ordinary magistrate. As mentioned, an honorary judge is temporary: his condition is not in fact indeterminate but, normally, is determined for a three-year period from his appointment. After this period the honorary judge loses his powers.

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An honorary judge can therefore issue sentences, order compensation or the restitution of assets – in civil judgments – or sentence in the case of criminal trials . The honorary judge, therefore, is quite similar, as a figure, to the one who won the competition for the ordinary judiciary.

In the honorary judiciary, however, less relevant tasks are usually carried out than in the ordinary judiciary: for example, the justice of the peace is a figure of the honorary judiciary and is competent only for disputes of lesser importance (at civil level) and cannot convict in definitive route (in the case of criminal proceedings). On the contrary, the judges of the ordinary court judiciary deal with very delicate disputes since they also have competences in cases of considerable value and in the case of criminal proceedings they can – obviously – impose the penalty that provides for the imprisonment of the accused.

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The honorary juvenile judge

The honorary judge is, together with the professional judge or also known as a professional judge, part of the Judiciary in juvenile judicial bodies such as the Family Section Court of Appeal , the Juvenile Court , the Supervisory Court . He is normally appointed from one of experts on the subject who – for example in the case of psychologists – is for example Psychology and has a very important reference to problems related to minors and the family.

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The title of honorary juvenile judge is assigned through the scrutiny of experts of the Juvenile Court while for what concerns the Court of Appeal for minors it is the Honorary Counselor. Instead, he is said to be an Expert, if he is within the Supervisory Court.

In each Court of Appeal there is a specific section called the Section for Minors and which judges on appeals that are presented through the Juvenile Court. This specific section therefore represents the second degree of judgment provided for by our legislature while the Juvenile Court is the first degree of judgment in the judgment of these particular issues. The section for minors is a mixed section and is therefore made up of honorary magistrates and professional magistrates .


by Abdullah Sam
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