a local public officer, usually having jurisdiction to try and determine minor civil and criminal cases and to hold preliminary examinations of persons accused of more serious crimes, and having authority to administer oaths, solemnize marriages, etc.
British Dictionary definitions for justice of the peace
justice of the peace
(in Britain) a lay magistrate, appointed by the crown or acting ex officio, whose function is to preserve the peace in his area, try summarily such cases as are within his jurisdiction, and perform miscellaneous administrative duties
(in Australia and New Zealand) a person authorised to administer oaths, attest instruments, and take declarations
A local officer of the judicial branch empowered to try minor cases, recommend cases for trial, and perform civil ceremonies, such as marriages and oath taking. Justices of the peace are usually elected locally and are paid fees for their services.