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Working Schedule of Magistrates

The working schedules will vary from county to county depending on the need and caseload. Most counties utilize full-time Magistrates who work on a shift basis to maintain an open office twenty-four hours a day. This would be for seven days a week including all weekends and holidays. In contrast, in some rural counties, Magistrates work on an "on call" basis and are contacted when needed by citizens or law enforcement officers. In some areas, Magistrates work a fixed schedule during the day and are "on-call" during the night hours. A full-time Magistrate is required to work a minimum of 40 hours per week. The Magistrates work at the discretion of the Chief District Court Judge and there is no maximum to the number of hours a Magistrate can be called upon to work during a week. As salaried employees, they are not eligible for over-time pay. Because of their two year appointments, Magistrates are not considered "permanent" State employees and are not eligible for certain State employee benefits including holiday leave, vacation leave, sick leave or unemployment benefits.

In developing the Office of Magistrate, the Judicial Department Act sought to retain the philosophy from the historical tradition that the Magistrate's Court should be a "court of the people". It was meant to be convenient, inexpensive and non-technical. For many people, their first and only contact with the Judicial System of North Carolina is Magistrate Court.


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