Magistrate Courts are the successors to the justice courts and a wide variety of other courts of limited jurisdiction. The Magistrate Court is most accessible to the public. The individual, encouraged by the lack of formality, as the Magistrate Court is not a court of record, may file a criminal complaint or a civil action without the assistance of an attorney if he so wishes.
Law binds the Magistrate Court to do substantial justice. This does not mean every individual entering the Magistrate Court system is going to win their case, but hopefully they will have felt they have been and have had their day in court. If a party is not satisfied with a decision made by a magistrate in a civil matter, the individual may appeal their case to State or Superior Court in what is called a de novo appeal.
The Magistrate Court not only hears civil actions, but also conducts hearings and trials on criminal cases, such as ordinance violations. The Magistrate Court will hear applications, and issue arrest warrants for law enforcement officers and private citizens if probable cause is found to do so. After hearing a law enforcement officer's sworn affidavit determining probable cause, a magistrate may then issue a search warrant.