Justices of the Peace
A Justice of the Peace (JP) can perform certain functions like witnessing Statutory Declarations or Affidavits and certifying copies of documents.
The NSW Department of Justice has updated the Justice of the Peace Handbook for JPs in NSW. The handbook contains guidance for JPs, tips to avoid common risks and answers to frequently asked questions.
Witnessing a Stat Dec or Affidavit
When witnessing a NSW Statutory Declaration or Affidavit, the JP must see that person’s face as well as confirm that they have known the person for at least 12 months or sight approved identification documents. The current approved versions of Statutory Declaration and Affidavits contain amended wording in this regard but it should be added if it is not there.
If the person refuses to remove any face covering, the JP must refuse to witness the execution of the document unless there is special justification (which means a legitimate medical reason, but does not include religious beliefs or cultural practices).
Approved identification documents include drivers licences, Medicare card, birth certificate, passport (so long as they have not expired/been cancelled). Expired passports are acceptable so long as they did not expire more than 2 years ago.
Quick JP facts
- JPs may not charge or receive any benefit for providing JP services.
- A JP is not authorized to witness an Enduring Power of Attorney.
- JPs cannot conduct a marriage unless they are also a licensed Marriage Celebrant.
- The Jury Act 1977 does not provide an exemption for JPs from jury duty.
- A JP May not provide legal advice unless they are also a registered Australian Legal Practitioner.
- A JP must not unreasonably refuse to provide JP services.
The Code of Conduct for Justices of the Peace was reviewed in 2014 and updated by the Justices of the Peace Regulation 2014.