The presiding justices of the peace serve in the Criminal and Penal Division of the Court of Québec throughout the province.
They have jurisdiction to hear cases relating to Québec legislation and a variety of federal statutes. They preside over penal proceedings involving matters as varied and important as occupational health and safety, environmental protection, illegal practice of a profession, and securities. In these matters, they have the same jurisdiction as Court of Québec judges.
The presiding justices of the peace exercise several other powers, including:
issue arrest warrants;
issue warrants and authorizations pertaining to searches, seizures, entry and other investigative methods;
grant authorizations to enter, search for a child and bring a child before the director of youth protection if the child’s situation has been brought to the director’s attention;
order an assessment of the mental condition of the accused with the consent of the parties;
order temporary detention in a place other than a place of detention for young persons.
A presiding justice of the peace can also perform the duties of an administrative justice of the peace.
As Court of Québec judges, presiding justices of the peace are subject to the authority of the Conseil de la magistrature in connection with their professional conduct.