Using JP Services

What are the functions of a Justice of the Peace (JP)?
Who are JPs?
What can I expect from a JP?
How do I find a JP?
Do I need an interpreter?
Need more information about JPs?
Need legal help?

What are the functions of a Justice of the Peace (JP)?

The most common functions performed by a JP in NSW are to:

  • witness the signing of a statutory declaration

A statutory declaration is a written statement which a person declares to be true in the presence of an authorised witness. Various organisations often require information to be provided to them in a statutory declaration.

  • witness the signing of an affidavit

An affidavit is a written statement for use as evidence in court proceedings. A person who makes an affidavit must promise that he or she is telling the truth, in the presence of an authorised witness.

 
  • certify that a copy of an original document is a true copy.

Various organisations sometimes accept a certified copy of a document, instead of the original. This avoids a person having to mail or submit the original of a precious document, like a birth certificate or academic qualification.

Who are JPs?

JPs are appointed by the Governor of New South Wales for five-year terms. They are volunteers, who come from all walks of life and all sections of the community.

JPs are people who are trusted to be honest, careful and impartial, when performing the functions of a JP.

What can I expect from a JP?

Before a JP can witness you signing a statutory declaration or affidavit, the JP is required to:

  • check the document is completed correctly
  • ask you questions to make sure you understand the purpose, effect and content of the document
  • warn you it is a serious criminal offence to make a false statement in the document, and that the penalties include imprisonment
  • confirm your identity (if the JP has not known you for 12 months or more, the JP must see your identification document)
  • watch you sign the document in the JP’s presence.

Before a JP can certify a copy of an original document, the JP must have both the original document and the copy physically in front of him/her.

A JP is required to always comply with the law and follow the proper procedure. JPs who fail to do so can be fined or have their appointments revoked.

A JP must not:

  • charge you a fee or accept a gift for providing JP services
  • tell you what to write in a statutory declaration or affidavit, or write it for you
  • give you legal advice.

How do I find a JP?

You can use the Public Register of JPs to:

  • find a JP near you
  • check if a particular personholds a current appointment as a JP.

If you would like to find a JP who speaks your language, contact the Department of Attorney General and Justice using the details below.

Do I need an interpreter?

If you cannot read or understand written English, you and the JP are required to use an interpreter when you sign a statutory declaration or affidavit, even if the JP speaks your language.

The interpreter should be accredited through the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI). NAATI-accredited interpreters are listed at www.naati.com.au. The Government’s Community Relations Commission also provides interpreting services. For more information go to www.crc.nsw.gov.au or phone (02) 8255 6767.

 

Need more information about JPs?

JP Section, Department of Attorney General and Justice

Phone: (02) 8688 7487

Fax: (02) 8688 9620

Email jp@justice.nsw.gov.au

Post: Locked Bag 5111, Parramatta NSW 2124

TIS: 131 450 (to speak with the JP Section through an interpreter)

Need legal help?

LawAccess NSW

Phone: 1300 888 529

Web: www.lawaccess.nsw.gov.au

TIS: 131 450 (to speak with LawAccess NSW through an interpreter)

If you would like this document in alternative formats, please contact the JP Section of the Department of Attorney General and Justice using the details above.

Do you need help in your own language to talk to the Justice of the Peace section?

Call the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) on 131 450, for the cost of a local call.