How To Become A JP (Justice of The Peace) In Australia?

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People want to know how they can become a justice of the peace (JP) in Australia in NSW, VIC, QLD, SA, WA, NT and TAS.

 

Are you thinking of becoming a JP in Australia? You are in the right place!

 

Justices of the Peace (JPs) in Australia play a vital role in the legal system and the community. If you volunteer to become a JP in Australia, you will offer essential and valuable services to the administration of Justice in your community.

 

In the post, you will learn how to become a JP in Australia, including the eligibility criteria in every Australian state and territory.

 

 

1. What Is A Justice of the Peace (JP)?

 

In Australia, a JP (Justice of the Peace) is an individual of high standing who is authorised to sign and witness affidavits and statutory declarations and certify original documents' copies. Depending on the state, the criteria for an appointment as a JP may differ significantly.

 

Let us check the eligibility requirements in each Australian state and territory to get successfully appointed as a JP.

 

 

2. Justice of The Peace In New South Wales (NSW)

 

The primary responsibilities of the Justice of the Peace (JP) in New South Wales are to witness the signing of an affidavit, a statutory declaration and to certify that an original document's copy is genuine.

 

The Governor of New South Wales appoints JPs for a five-year tenure. Generally, JPs are volunteers who can be a part of any section of the community. When executing the duties of a JP, a person needs to be cautious, honest, and unbiased. 

 

They cannot accept a gift or charge a fee in exchange for JP services. Nor can they provide legal advice or advise individuals on what to write in an affidavit or a statutory declaration or prepare it for them.

 

 

What Are The Eligibility Requirements To Become a JP in NSW?

 

Here are some eligibility requirements you need to meet to become a justice of the peace in NSW:

 

  • You must be an Australian citizen or an individual eligible to vote for the Legislative assembly unless the Attorney General exempts you from fulfilling this requirement.

  • Must be at least 18 years of age.

  • Must not be an undischarged bankrupt.

  • Must be of good character

  • Must be nominated by a New South Wales Member of the Parliament.

  • You must obtain a criminal records check and consent in writing to make private inquiries to check your suitability for an appointment as a JP.

  • You must demonstrate that your appointment as a JP is necessary to meet a community-based demand or for your employment.

 

For more information on how to become the Justice of the Peace in NSW, visit the NSW Government website.

 

 

3. Justice Of The Peace In Queensland (Qld)

 

A justice of the peace (qualified) in Queensland has the authority to issue arrest and search warrants and form a magistrates' court with the power to grant bail, remand offenders in custody, and adjourn court sessions with the help of another JP (qualified).

 

Some justices in Queensland are appointed as JPs (magistrates' court) to undertake many tasks that a stipendiary magistrate would otherwise perform. This is mainly in isolated Aboriginal communities.

 

A lawyer can be appointed as a Justice of the Peace in Queensland without additional schooling or qualifications and possesses all the powers of a Justice of the Peace (Magistrate's Court).

 

 

What Are The Eligibility Requirements To Become a JP In QLD?

 

Here are a few JP requirements you must fulfil to become a JP in QLD:

 

  • Must be at least 18 years old

  • Must be an Australian citizen

  • Must be registered on the Queensland electoral roll

  • Must be of good character

  • Must complete a relevant training course, such as the Justice of the Peace (Qualified) course or a course in community justice services (Commissioner for Declarations).

 

To know more about how to become a Justice of the Peace in Qld, visit the Queensland Government website.

 

 

4. Justice of The Peace In South Australia (SA)

 

In South Australia, a JP (Justice of the Peace) is an individual of good standing in the community. Someone authorised to sign and witness waiver rights, statutory declarations, drug warrants, search warrants, divorce documents, and affidavits.

 

This individual also witnesses the signing of guardianship and power of attorney documents and certifies copies of original documents. Overall, a JP needs to be satisfied with the signatory's abilities.

 

Note: In major metropolitan and regional councils (local government bodies), a rotational JP is in residence at the time of nominations.

 

 

What Are The Eligibility Requirements To Become a JP In South Australia?

 

The following are some eligibility requirements you need to meet to become a JP in South Australia:

 

  • Must be an Australian citizen.

  • Must be at least 18 years of age.

  • Must be of good character.

  • Must be a resident of South Australia.

  • You must be able to understand the powers and duties of Justice.

  • As per the Corporations Act 2001 (Commonwealth), the applicant must not be barred from managing or engaging in the management of any company.

  • Must not be bankrupt or have applied as a debtor to benefit from bankruptcy laws.

  • Must work or live in a community or area where a JP is required.

  • Must be able to read, speak and write in English.

 

If you want additional information on becoming a Justice of the Peace in SA, visit the Government of South Australia website.

 

 

5. Justice of The Peace In Victoria (Vic)

 

JPs and bail justices in Victoria are appointed to perform a semi-judicial duty in all sections of Victorian society. Witnessing affidavits, statutory declarations, and hearing bail cases outside of court hours are JPs' and bail justices' primary official responsibilities.

 

Justices of the peace serve as impartial witnesses for powers of attorney, statutory declarations, and affidavits in the community. JPs are volunteers chosen after rigorous practical testing, written exam, and interview. 

 

Additionally, they are appointed by the governor-in-council after the state attorney-general recommends them. Their role is to witness and authorise statutory declarations and affidavits in Victoria.

 

Currently, there are about 4,800 justices of peace serving in all parts of the state.

 

 

What are the Eligibility Requirements to Become a JP in Victoria?

 

Check out the eligibility requirements below to become a JP in Victoria:

 

  • Must be an Australian citizen.

  • Must be 18 or over the age of 18.

  • Must ordinarily reside in Victoria.

  • Must complete the required course of training for appointment as a JP.

  • Must not be insolvent under administration. 

  • Must be a proper fit to be appointed as a JP.

  • Must abide by the Honorary Justice Code of Conduct.

  • Must undergo Australian Securities and Investment Commission check, National Police Record Check, and Insolvency and Trustee Service Australia check.

 

To learn more about how to become a Justice of the Peace in Vic, visit the Victoria State Government website.

 

 

6. Justice of The Peace In Western Australia (WA)

 

In Western Australia, the Governor appoints justices of the peace, who then authorises them to perform a broad range of official judicial and administrative functions in the community.

 

The WA Police frequently require justices of the peace to authorise the issuance of summonses and sign search warrants, including presiding in the Magistrates Court.

 

Witnessing affidavits and papers, like statutory declarations and wills, are among the administrative responsibilities a JP needs to fulfil.

 

A unique group of justices of the peace known as "visiting justices" is appointed to lead matters within the prison system.

 

 

What Are The Eligibility Requirements To Become a JP In Western Australia?

 

Here are some eligibility requirements you need to follow to become a Justice of the peace in Western Australia:

 

  • Must be over 18 and under 70 years of age.

  • Must be an Australian citizen who has lived in Western Australia for at least 12 months.

  • Must not be insolvent under administration.

  • Must be enrolled on the state electoral roll.

  • Must show the capacity and willingness to fulfil all the responsibilities of a JP.

  • Must complete a JP training course before the appointment.

  • Must possess a good reputation and character, including a satisfactory record of community service.

 

To get further information about how to become a Justice of the Peace in Western Australia, visit the WA government website.

 

 

7. Justice of The Peace In Tasmania (Tas)

 

Currently, more than 800 JPs in Tasmania act as objective and independent witnesses to documents people use for legal or official purposes. A JP usually witnesses warrants, affidavits, wills, oaths, summons, and applications for probate. 

 

Furthermore, if specifically requested, a Justice of the Peace certifies an original document's true copy and witnesses documents like statutory declarations.

 

 

What Are The Eligibility Requirements To Become a JP in Tasmania?

 

The following are the eligibility criteria for becoming a Justice of the Peace in Tasmania:

 

  • Must be 18 years of age or over.

  • Must be an Australian citizen by descent, birth, or naturalisation.

  • Must be readily available to witness documents.

  • Must not be involved in a career or activity interfering with obligations and responsibilities as a Justice of the Peace.

  • Must not be an undischarged bankrupt.

  • Must be enrolled as an elector for Tasmania.

  • Get consent to confidential inquiries to evaluate fitness for the position (this may include an interview by Tasmania Police).

  • Must be willing to participate in and complete any future professional development or training suggested by regulations or needed by the secretary of the Department of Justice.

  • Must be able to carry out the responsibilities of the position competently.

  • Must be willing to take the Justices of the Peace Association of Tasmania's JP Introductory Course.

  • An individual must not be convicted of anything other than minor traffic offences. In the last five years, an applicant should not have had more than one drink-driving offence and four minor traffic violations in the previous ten years.

  • Must reside in an area where a sufficient number of Justices of the Peace are unavailable.

 

If you need more information about how to become a Justice of the Peace in Tasmania, visit the Tasmanian government's Department of Justice website.

 

 

8. Justice of The Peace In Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

 

In general, the role of Justices of the Peace in the Australian Capital Territory is governed by ACT legislation's procedural requirements. However, JPs may carry out a broad range of duties under Commonwealth law and witness statutory declarations.

 

Justices of the peace in the Australian Capital Territory primarily serve the community by witnessing signatures, witnessing statutory declarations, administering affidavits or oaths, taking affirmations, and certifying and attesting documents.

 

It is crucial to keep in mind that the powers of JP are confined to the ACT and only when they are physically present in the state.

 

 

What are the Eligibility Requirements to Become a JP in the ACT?

 

Follow the eligibility requirements below to become a JP in the Australian Capital Territory:

 

  • Must be an Australian citizen.

  • Must possess a good character and stature in the ACT community

  • Must be a permanent resident of the ACT.

  • Must not be an undischarged bankrupt.

  • Must be on the electoral roll for the electorate.

  • Must agree to be accessible to the public at any reasonable hours.

  • Must understand the duties and functions of the Justice of the Peace office.

  • Must agree to publish their name and contact information on the Australian Capital Territory's Register of Justices of the Peace and make it available to the public.

  • Must complete a relevant course approved by the Minister successfully. Or the Minister needs to be satisfied that the applicant's qualifications or experiences are adequate to perform the duties of a Justice of the Peace.

 

To know more about how to become a Justice of the Peace in the Australian Capital Territory, visit the ACT government website.

 

 

9. Justice of The Peace In Northern Territory (NT)

 

A Justice of the Peace is an honorary position in the Northern Territory. JPs usually work as volunteers and assist the community with administrative and legal issues. Also, they do not charge anything for their service.

 

The duties of a JP may include witnessing affidavits, and certifying copies of documents, such as passports and birth certificates, to verify identity. Furthermore, if requested by the Northern Territory police, they may authorise issuing a search warrant.

 

 

What Are The Eligibility Requirements To Become a JP in NT?

 

Here are the essential eligibility requirements to become a JP in the Northern Territory:

 

  • Must reside in the Northern Territory for at least 12 months. 

  • Must provide three referee reports and be of good character.

  • Must intend to stay in the Northern Territory for almost five years.

  • Must demonstrate knowledge of the role of the Justice of the Peace.

  • Must enrol on the Northern Territory electoral roll at your current address.

  • You must agree to publish your contact details and name on the internet.

  • Must demonstrate a need for the Justice of the Peace in your community.

 

Note: The NT police or an officer from the Department of Attorney-General and Justice may interview the applicant while applying to become a Justice of the Peace in Australia.

 

Check out the Northern Territory Justice of the Peace Handbook for more information.

 

 

10. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

 

 

What Does A JP Do In Australia?

 

Justices of the Peace (JPs) are volunteers appointed by the state governor in Australia. Their main job is to certify the identity of people on documents and validate true copies of original documents.

 

 

They can :

 

  • Witness a person making an affidavit or a statutory declaration and take affirmations 

  • Administer oaths or affidavits

  • Witness signatures

  • Attest and certify copies of documents.

 

JPs commonly work for organisations such as insurance companies, banks, and superannuation providers, as they mostly need certified documents and information through a statutory declaration.

 

 

A JP is NOT Entitled To Do The Following:

 

  • Refuse to provide JP services without any reason

  • Offer fee-based services, or accept a gift in return for their services

  • Assist or write in a statutory declaration or affidavit

  • Offer legal advice

 

 

Can You Make Money Being a JP?

 

No. Working in this role, you commit yourself to social service for the benefit of the community without charging any fee.

 

Accepting money in any form, such as cash, gifts, etc., is punishable. It may even lead to getting your JP powers revoked in Australia.

 

 

Is a JP The Same as A Lawyer?

 

No. JPs independently verify legal documents but are not authorised or qualified to offer legal advice. So, a JP doesn't have to be a lawyer to work in this role.

 

On the other hand, all practising lawyers automatically act as JPs as they can perform all the tasks of a JP and provide legal advice to their clients.

 

 

What Is The Difference Between a JP and a Solicitor?

 

A JP doesn't have to be a solicitor. He is just a society member appointed by the state government to authorise documents.

 

Both solicitors and JPs are court officers and can perform ministerial and judicial tasks. Still, they differ based on the authority to offer legal advice to their clients. A JP doesn't have the power to provide legal advice to its clients, while a solicitor can.

 

You should seek a solicitor if you need to witness or sign your documents and get legal advice. If you don't want legal advice, a JP will be sufficient and won't cost you money.

 

 

What Are Alternatives To a JP?

 

Notary Public is an alternative to JP. However, they carry out similar duties but can differ based on their place of work.

 

Where a JP is recognised only within Australia, a Notary Public can work both in Australia and abroad. So, a Notary Public is an international Justice of Peace.

 

 

Is a JP a Public Officer?

 

Yes. JPs are public officers appointed by the state government where they intend to work.

 

 

Who Can Do A Notary in Australia?

 

Justice of the Peace (JP) and a Notary Public can do a notary in Australia.

 

They can verify the identity of a person or people signing a document, witness the signing, and affix their stamp or seal with their name and registration number.

 

They ensure a document is signed lawfully without advising, reviewing, or assisting in negotiating the document terms.

 

 

What Is The Salary of JP in Australia?

 

In Australia, Justices of the Peace cannot legally accept payments for their services. They shall not receive any gift, reward, or payment for services provided as part of their official duties.

 

 

What Is The Point of Becoming a JP?

 

The job of a Justice of the Peace is purely voluntary service. It doesn't offer monetary benefits but has emotional rewards attached to it.

 

A mention of a "Justice of the Peace" (Qualified) to their signature or resume showcases them as a person of good standing in the community.

 

Being a JP is a great way for people, especially senior citizens, to socialise and stay active while contributing to the community.

 

 

Why Become A JP in Australia?

 

Being a Justice for Peace is worthwhile for people interested in law and social service.

 

Pursuing this profession is primarily to volunteer service to the community. As most organisations require certified copies of original documents such as academic qualifications or birth certificates, working in this role is a great way to offer professional help to ease people's lives.

 

 

Does a JP Have a Stamp?

 

JPs aren't legally required to add stamps or numbers (the Ministry's unique identifier) to the documents they certify or witness. It is acceptable if they write their name and sign the document.

 

However, having a stamp or seal (with their name and registration number) can ease their job when they have to witness documents in bulk.

 

 

Who Sits In The Justice of The Peace Court?

 

The people who sit in a Justice of the Peace court are called Justices, Justices of the Peace or JPs.

 

 

What Is The JP Knowledge Test?

 

Passing the JP Knowledge Test is crucial to qualifying as a Justice for Peace in Australia.

 

The test comprises 20 multiple-choice questions that assess your knowledge of the JP's roles and responsibilities.

 

Referring to the JP Handbook is beneficial to prepare the JP Knowledge Test. It comprises the necessary information to answer the question and pass the test.

 

Once you are ready for the test, create your JP Online account and log into it. Choose 'JP Knowledge Test .'Complete the test within 60 minutes.

 

You must answer all questions correctly to pass the test. If you fail, you can retake the test any number of times.

 

 

Is a Justice of the Peace a Judge in Australia?

 

In Australia, a Judge is a senior-level licensed attorney with an extensive experience and knowledge of Australian laws.

 

On the other hand, a Justice of Peace or JP doesn't have to be a lawyer to work in the role. They are low-level judicial officers appointed by the state's governor and legally authorised to perform minor legal tasks.

 

In Australia, Justices preside over the Supreme Court, and Judges preside over lower courts of each state. The top court is the High Court, which forms decisions concerning constitutional matters in Australia.

 

 

Who Qualifies as a Justice of The Peace in Australia?

 

You need to understand the eligibility criteria to know who can be a justice of the peace. Along with being eligible for the role, you must pass the JP knowledge test to become a JP in Australia.

 

 

Step 1: Meet the Eligibility Criteria

 

Though the requirements for a JP vary between states, in general, you must meet the below conditions to qualify for the role:

 

  • Be 18 years or above 

  • Be a resident of the Australian state or territory you intend to work in 

  • Registered on the state's electoral roll and have the right to vote at a general Legislative Assembly election 

  • Be nominated by the Member of Parliament of the state 

  • Have a fundamental knowledge of civil law

  • Be of good character

  • Not be an undischarged bankrupt

 

 

Step 2: Appy for JP Online

 

  • Eligible candidates can formally apply for the JP position and await the committee's approval.

  • Register for a JP Online account to apply for a JP appointment. 

  • Learn the provisions in the JP Handbook to familiarise yourself with the responsibilities and procedures of a JP. 

  • Pass the JP Knowledge Test 

  • Submit the appointment application within 12 months of passing the knowledge test. The application processing time may range from 3-6 months, based on the complexity of your application. 

 

If your application gets approved, you will receive an appointment date to take the Oaths of Office at a local court. 

 

 

Step 3: Take The Oaths of Office

 

Take the oaths within four months of your appointment date to offer JP services. If you exceed this duration, your appointment will lapse, and you must start a new application.

 

After taking the oath, you will receive your JP number and the details of your appointment term to begin serving as a JP. Your registration is valid for five years from the date of your appointment. You need to reapply for reappointment before the end of your term.

 

 

How Much Does It Cost To Become a JP in QLD?

 

Once you finish taking an oath or affirmation of office, you must pay a registration fee before performing your duties as a JP in Queensland. Click here for the latest Justices of the Peace branch fee schedule.

 

Now that you know all the eligibility requirements to become a Justice of the Peace, you are ready to volunteer as a JP in Australia.

 

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