Magistrates

Magistrates are non-elected judicial officers. They are appointed by judges and conduct proceedings just as a judge would, but certain decisions of the magistrate are not final or effective until they are reviewed and adopted by a judge.

Magistrates issue orders and decisions.  A magistrate’s order is effective immediately.  If a party wants the judge to review the order to have it changed, then the party must file a request to that effect.  However, the order will still remain in effect while the request is pending unless the judge or magistrate issues a stay.   An order is usually issued for matters that are not dispositive of the entire case.  Orders to continue a case, pretrial orders, orders regarding discovery, etc. are examples of orders issued by magistrates that take immediate effect. A decision is issued when substantive issues are being addressed, or when the decision, if affirmed, would result in a final disposition of the case.  A magistrate would issue a decision when deciding the motion of a party for summary judgment, or for judgment on the pleadings, for example.  Similarly, a magistrate would issue a decision after hearing a contested trial.

A magistrate must be an attorney licensed to practice law in Ohio.  There is no minimum time that one must be an attorney before he or she can become a magistrate. Any judge of any court of record can appoint a magistrate.   This includes county courts of common pleas, municipal courts, and courts of appeals.  Courts of common pleas may include juvenile, domestic relations, or probate divisions.  While these are commonly called Juvenile Court, etc., they are not really separate courts, but a division of the common pleas court.  Magistrates serve in all of these types of courts.  There is generally no requirement that a judge appoint a magistrate.  Some courts have several judges, but no magistrates.  Other courts have few judges, but many magistrates.  The appointment is completely discretionary with the judge.

Source: Ohio Association of Magistrates