Delawareans invited to apply for Justice of the Peace screening process

WILMINGTON — Gov. John Carney on Thursday announced that he has initiated the Justice of the Peace screening process and encouraged Delawareans in each county to apply by Monday, Sept. 14.

Delawareans interested in being considered for future Justice of the Peace nominations over the next four years must first successfully complete the screening process.

“Delaware’s Justices of the Peace play an important role in our judicial system,” said Gov. Carney. “I encourage Delawareans from each county who are committed to public service to participate in the screening process.”

Interested Delawareans do not need prior legal experience; however, they must be Delaware residents and at least 25-years-old.

The screening process includes:

  1. Application: All interested Delawareans must first complete an application using the Delaware Division of Professional Regulations online portal. A license is not required, but there is a $25 application fee. Step-by-step directions for creating an account and submitting an application can be found here.
  2. Examination: Applicants must complete a written examination. Exams assess qualities needed by a judge, such as reading comprehension, judgment and reasoning, general mental ability and critical thinking. Legal knowledge is not tested, and you do not need to be a lawyer to apply. The exam will take place on Saturday, Sept. 26 at Delaware Technical Community College Campus in their respective county. Following the exam, the Magistrate Screening Committee will notify applicants if they advance to the next step of the screening process.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions an additional exam date of Oct. 3 may be necessary to ensure proper social distancing. The additional date will be used only if needed. Participants can not choose their exam date.

The exam time will be determined at the time of registration. The exam administration process may take up to four hours to complete. Participants are required to bring a government-issued photo ID (e.g., driver’s license or State ID) the day of the exam.

  1. Interview: Applicants who pass the written exam will be contacted by the Magistrate Screening Committee for an interview.
  2. Recommendations: Following the interviews, the Magistrate Screening Committee will communicate any additional steps to the screening process, including a background check. The Magistrate Screening Committee will send a list of recommended candidates to the Governor’s Office for consideration when an opening occurs.

Over the next four years, the governor may only nominate someone to serve as a Justice of the Peace who completed the screening process and was recommended by the Magistrate Screening Committee. Nominations must be confirmed by the Delaware Senate. A Justice of the Peace serves in the county which they reside.

Also known as a Magistrate, a Justice of the Peace is a full-time position with 8-hour rotating shifts to handle arraignments and other court proceedings on a 24-hour-day basis, including weekends and holidays. Additionally, Justices of the Peace conduct trials and proceedings in both criminal and civil matters.

The Magistrate Screening Committee was established by executive order. Of its nine members, five may be attorneys. The Delaware Department of State’s Division of Professional Regulation provides administrative services to the Committee.

Delawareans who are in need of assistance accessing the application are encouraged to contact the Boards and Commissions team within the Office of the Governor at 577-3210.

Applications are accepted online at deplpros.delaware.gov.