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 Supreme Court of the United States and some state supreme courts, and for some other courts in Commonwealth of Nations 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".
The function of associate justices vary depending on the Court they preside in. In the Australian state of New South Wales, associate justices of the New South Wales Supreme Court hear civil trials and appeals from lower courts amongst other matters. Associate justices can sit either as a single judge or may sit on the New South Wales Court of Appeal. 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.
Under the Constitution of Micronesia, the Supreme Court "consists of the Chief Justice and not more than 5 associate justices". However, as of October 2020 there are only two associate justices in office: Beauleen Carl-Worswick and Larry Wentworth.
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 but usually has fewer or different administrative responsibilities than the chief.
Under the Judiciary Act of 1869, there are eight Associate Justices on the Supreme Court. The most junior associate justice (currently Justice Amy Coney Barrett) has additional responsibilities to the other associate justices: taking notes of decisions and answering the door in private conference and serving on the Supreme Court's cafeteria committee.
The Supreme Court is a court of record and the highest court in the nation. It consists of the Chief Justice and not more than 5 associate justices.