The first Jewish magistrates

When Oliver Cromwell accepted Jews back into England in 1656, it was a time of religious turmoil. Jews may have been allowed to live in England, but they were by no means accepted members of society. Instead their reli? gious beliefs were more likely to lead to them being brought before the criminal-j us tice system.

Within that system, magistrates had considerable powers. They could sentence people to prison, recommend them for deportation, flog them and fine them, and they also played an important role in local government and administration (with policies such as the Poor Law) until the late nine? teenth century.

The Justices of the Peace were an integral part of society, dealing with the minutiae of daily life from licensing public houses to sanitation. In England they were part of a powerful elite of male Anglican Protestants, many of whom also made the law as MPs. The

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