Welcome to the School of Government's NC Magistrates microsite.  For decades, faculty members at the School of Government have provided training for new magistrates, ongoing educational programs, comprehensive written materials, and consultation to North Carolina magistrates. The diversity of these offerings reflect the diversity of the office: magistrates are responsible for determining whether to issue search and arrest warrants, conducting an initial appearance and setting conditions of pretrial release in criminal cases, deciding whether individuals should be detained for examination in response to a petition for involuntary commitment, performing marriages, and for conducting small claims court.

Faculty and Staff List


Initial training. Within six months of taking the oath of office, a magistrate must complete “a course of basic training of at least 40 hours in the civil and criminal duties of a magistrate.” G.S. 7A-177. The School of Government offers Basic School for Magistrates twice each year to allow new magistrates to satisfy this requirement.

Continuing education. Starting in 2022, G.S. 7A-177 requires that magistrates “annually and satisfactorily complete” at least 12 hours of training in civil and criminal duties of a magistrate. Before 2022, the Conference of Chief District Court Judges required that each magistrate complete at least 12 hours of continuing education every two years.

G.S. 7A-177(b1) requires that annual training include, but not be limited to, the following subjects:

(1) setting conditions of pretrial release,

(2) impaired driving laws,

(3) issuing criminal processes,

(4) issuing search warrants,

(5) technology, and

(6) orders of protection.

Both the NCAOC and School of Government recognize that the six required topics listed in G.S. 7A-177(b1) are only part of the expertise magistrates need to do their jobs well. And we recognize that civil topics are absent from that list altogether.

NCAOC created a policy effective January 1, 2022, to implement the statutory requirement. Here is a version of that policy current as of February 2022. Contact the NCAOC for further details. NCAOC maintains magistrate continuing education records.

The NCAOC offers online training to meet all statutory continuing education requirements through its online Learning Center. The SOG provides some of the training in the Learning Center. Beyond the Learning Center, the SOG works with the NCAOC to offer continuing education for magistrates. The SOG training calendar for magistrates is here.

CLE requirement for attorney magistrates. As of August 2022, the NC State Bar has confirmed that attorney Magistrates who meet the annual NCAOC Magistrates Continuing Education Credit requirements are exempt from NC State Bar attorney CLE requirements.


Faculty Coordinators

individual image for Melanie Crenshaw
Teaching Assistant Professor
individual image for Jeffrey B. Welty
Professor of Public Law and Government; Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs
individual image for Shea Riggsbee Denning
Robert W. Bradshaw Jr. Distinguished Professor of Public Law and Government; Director, North Carolina Judicial College
Public Officials - Courts and Judicial Administration Roles