The role of JPs was a varied one. They:
JPs in the Tudor Age were unpaid, but this probably did not reduce their effectiveness as most were rich landowners who did the job for prestige and status rather than financial reward. Most did the job in a serious and professional manner.
JPs had a key role in arresting and punishing offenders. Their powers increased in 1554, after which time they could arrest a suspect on suspicion of a crime and interrogate them for three days. This made them more effective.
As JPs were landowners with status in their local communities, most could rely on the respect of the people, who respected their decisions.
However, their role and workload increased in the period, especially due to the rise in vagrancy. Some JPs began to be corrupt and abuse their position, especially during the 17th century.