Other Legal MattersHow to Become a Justice of the Peace

September 8, 20220

How to become a Justice of the Peace in Sydney is not as difficult as one might think, although not everyone can be a JP.

What is a Justice of the Peace?

A Justice of the Peace (or “J.P.” as they are more commonly known) is an officer sworn in by the Governor General under the Justices of the Peace Act 2002, whose main role is to to witness Statutory Declarations and Affidavits, and to certify as true and correct, copies of documents.

How to Become a Justice of the Peace

how to become a justice of the peaceBecoming a Justice of the Peace (J.P.) in Sydney can be an exciting and rewarding experience, as you play a important role in society. Being a Justice of the Peace is a voluntary position. Here are some tips to help you get started:

Get involved with your local community. Once appointed, J.Ps. often liaise closely with law enforcement agencies, as well as community services and agencies. By becoming involved in your community, you can build relationships key to being an effective JP.

Know your rights and responsibilities. Each JP has specific duties and rights that must be followed carefully and respected at all times while performing their duties. Familiarising yourself with these provisions will ensure you carry out your role effectively and diligently..

The Justices of the Peace branch of the Department of Justice puts out a very helpful handbook to ensure that JPs undertake their duties professionally and competently.

Eligibility Requirements for Becoming a Justice of the Peace in NSW

In order to become a justice of the peace in Sydney, you will need to meet certain eligibility requirements. You will need to be at least 18 years old, be an Australian citizen (or a person otherwise entitled to vote in NSW elections). Additionally, you will need to pass a criminal background check and not be an undischarged bankrupt.

becoming a JPYou must be able to pass a knowledge test and a code of conduct test.

The knowledge test will ask a series of 20 multiple choice questions that focus on the roles and responsibilities of a JP. The JP Handbook contains all the information you need to know to complete the JP Knowledge Test, and you can refer to the handbook while you complete the test.

You will need to answer each question correctly to pass the knowledge test. If you do not pass, you will be directed to the section of the JP Handbook that will help you identify where you went wrong and improve your knowledge. You can then take the test again. There is no limit attempts you can make to successfully complete the knowledge test.

The code of conduct is also published as a handbook (a small one), which you will also need to be able to answer questions on.

In addition to the knowledge component, you will need to be nominated by your local Member of Parliament (NSW) (or any Member of NSW Parliament, but your local member is certainly best), and provide two other character references.

If you are applying to be a community JP, you will need to explain and/or demonstrate the need for your appointment in your local area. If you are applying as part of an employment need, a supporting letter from your employer organisation will be needed, explaining and/or demonstrating the need for your appointment within your employment situation. Many law firms encourage one or more of their support staff to apply to become Justices of the Peace, as witnesses for documents by legal practitioners or JPs are always in demand in legal offices.

Becoming a Justice of the Peace

Becoming a Justice of the Peace in NSW is a process that requires you to have certain characteristics, training and qualifications. The role of a Justice of the Peace is an important one, and it comes with certain responsibilities.

The  application process can vary depending on the complexity (or straightforwardness) of your application. Usually it is completed within three months, but sometimes it may take up to six months.

Once you’re approved/appointed, you will need to take the Oaths of Office

Before you can begin performing Justice of the Peace (JP) functions, you are required to take the Oaths of Office before a Magistrate or Registrar of the Local Court.

There are three oaths. They are verbal declarations about your behaviour as a JP. They are the last step in the appointment process. Your appointment as a JP will not be final, and you will not receive a JP registration number, or be entitled to call yourself a Justice of the Peace until you have taken the oaths.

Each Local Court has different arrangements for taking the oaths. For a list of Local Courts and their arrangements, visit Taking your oaths

You must take the oaths before you can begin providing JP services. The oaths must be taken within four months of your appointment date. If you haven’t taken the oath by then, your appointment will automatically lapse and you will have to start a new application, which is far from desirable, so taking this final step within the required period is definitely in your interests to do.


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