In Medieval Times, these were powerful Noblemen, given the task of enforcing the peace (through the use of a Sheriff or Baliff). It was them that oversaw a King or Queen's Warrant (and it's proper execution). They were also known as Justice of The Peace – in that they also sat in judgment of transgressors in lieu of a Queen or King. A Magistrate did NOT necessarily have to be a Lawyer to perform the position (only a trusted Noble). As time progressed, they would become the final point of any legal argument (and make a fair ruling). The position was by this time, only available to established Lawyers (often by Civil election). The term “Justice of The Peace” is still used to denote a non-elected official (not necessarily a Lawyer), to rule on minor offenses. They can also perform certain Civil ceremonies. “Magistrate” is a term still used to denote “Judge”.