Definition of Associate Justice
Associate Justice or Associate Judge is the title for a member of a judicial panel who is not the Chief Justice in some jurisdictions. The title "Associate Justice" is used for members of the United States Supreme Court and some state supreme courts, and for some other courts in Commonwealth countries, as well as for members of the Supreme Court of the Federated States of Micronesia, a former United States Trust Territory. In other common law jurisdictions, the equivalent position is called "Puisne Justice".
In the United States, judicial panels are non-hierarchical, so an Associate Judge has the same responsibilities with respect to cases as the Chief Judge.
An Associate Judge usually has fewer or different administrative responsibilities than the Chief. Famously, on the Supreme Court of the United States, the most junior Associate Justice (currently Justice Elena Kagan), has the task of answering the door when the Justices are in private conference.
There are eight Associate Justices on the United States Supreme Court, and three Associate Justices on the Supreme Court of the Federated States of Micronesia.
In New Zealand, Associate Judges of the High Court of New Zealand supervise preliminary processes in most civil proceedings. Associate Judges have jurisdiction to deal with such matters as: summary judgment applications, company liquidations, bankruptcy proceedings, and some other types of civil proceedings. In the New Zealand legal system, Associate Judges were formerly known as Masters.
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