The General Assembly abolished the Justice of the Peace system in Virginia, effective January l, 1974. Following this action the Division of Justice1and Crime Prevention authorized and funded the preparation of this Manual in order to educate newly appointed magistrates and to assist former justices of the peace in their 'transition to the office of magistrate. Final responsibility for educating magistrates in the proper performance of their office is charged to the general district courts and the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court of Virginia. It is envisioned that this educational process will be a continuing one, accordingly, this Manual is arranged in a ring-bound binder to facilitate insertion of additional material which will be distributed from time to time.

The preparation of this Manual was aided greatly by the existence of the Virginia Justices' of the Peace Manual published in 1967 by the Association of Justices of the Peace of Virginia and the Institute of Government, University of Virginia. This Manual follows the general organization of the Justice of the Peace Manual but reflects major developments in the law that have occurred since 1967, as well as the statutory changes enacted in establishing the Magistrate system.

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