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What Is a Commissioner? Definition, Uses and Importance.

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A commissioner is a legal term, used to refer to the person who has been appointed by the judge to find information, facts, and hears testimonies regarding a case. Generally, their main duty is to perform specific tasks and functions that are directly connected with some legal cases.

The commissioner of accounts has the responsibility to be in charge of the person representing an estate (The executor). He or she ensures that the representative takes care of the estate as well as carries out their duties according to the terms of the state law. 

Any individual with a background suitable enough to handle some complex legal issues may be a commissioner. This includes an attorney, a judge, a former judge. The court that a commissioner will function in will review their decisions and views on matters before going ahead with the case. A court commissioner isn’t the same as a “judge”.

Why is Having a Commissioner  Important?

A commissioner in a probate proceeding is important because they assist the judge in taking note of important facts that may not be initially noticeable. This benefits the plaintiff or defendant, or in the case of probate, the heirs and beneficiaries, as it makes room for a fair hearing.

What is the role of a commissioner?

The court commissioners are often authorized to assist the state or county court during legal proceedings. They perform as subordinates under the judicial powers and are not allowed to review judicial acts of a different tribunal. This also means that court commissioners can not perform a certain action except the statutes of the state permits them to.

When it comes to the execution of a will, the commissioner’s primary duty is to review and authorize accounts and inventories that have been signed by their fiduciaries.

Difference Between a Commissioner and a Judge

There’s a difference between the commissioner and the judge. The judge is appointed by the state or governor to oversee the affairs of the court whereas the commissioner is appointed by the judge to help out with the workload. Therefore, the commissioner does not have the same rights and experiences as the judge. A licensed lawyer or attorney can also serve as a defendant or plaintiff, you need to allow the commissioner to hear your case.

Areas of the judiciary that a commission can perform in include:

  • Juvenile
  • Family
  • Small claims
  • Criminal and traffic
  • Probate and mental health

How does the commissioner function?

A commissioner is allowed to handle court hearings. This is often to determine the following:

  • The validity of a will
  • Court proceedings that involve petitions about family court. This is to modify child support or alimony.
  • Pretrial conferences that involve criminal cases
  • Court proceedings regarding the entry of stipulations and judgments.

The court commissioner is assigned the duty of handling temporary issues and preparing cases for pretrial and trial. He or she can also take care of enforcement issues that already have a final decree entered and one of the parties involved is trying to take any action against another who has failed to comply.

What is the Procedure for Appointing a Commissioner?

As earlier stated, the judge has the right to create rules and regulations that all members of the subordinate courts must follow. The right procedure for a court commissioner depends on the rule of the state as made by the judge or high court.

Depending on the state, a panel made up of not less or more than 4 commissioners will be formed. This panel will consist of young people which must include a female attorney. The court appoints them to be in charge of the evidence recording.

Then, the district court in charge goes to notify the bar about the total amount of vacancies for commissioners. The bar sends the received applications to the court who picks and recommends the best candidates to the high court. 

The employment term for the selected commissioners lasts for 3 years. However, the high court can give an order and the term will be extended. No commissioner can gain a second appointment if they served up to 6years in the first one. 

Synonyms for Commissioner

You can replace “commissioner” with “ regulator”

Appointing a Commissioner to hold investigations

Sometimes, the court will need to handle a scientific investigation. To ease the workload, they can decide to appoint a Commissioner who will be responsible for conducting such investigations.

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