Local Magistrates have been given the Freedom of the Borough of Newcastle-under-Lyme as part of celebrations to mark the 650th anniversary of the appointment of Justices of the Peace to maintain law and order.
North Staffordshire Local Justice Area Bench was awarded the special honour by the full council for continuing to deliver justice on behalf of local residents.
It is the highest award the council can make and is given to a small number of groups and people for providing outstanding services to the borough.
Magistrates, also known as Justices of the Peace (JPs), have held courts in Newcastle to punish lawbreakers, resolve disputes and keep order since 1361.
They now deal with 95 per cent of criminal cases and have sat at Newcastle-under-Lyme Magistrates’ Court at Ryecroft since 1980, after moving from the Water Street courthouse.
John Horton, chairman of the North Staffordshire Local Justice Area Bench, said: “I’m delighted that the service we provide has been recognised by the borough council.
“The institute of magistracy has been in place since the reign of Edward III and it’s because it’s flexible and able to evolve with society that it has lasted so long.”