Justices of the Peace (JPs) are volunteers appointed by the Governor of New South Wales. The primary roles of a JP are to witness a person making a statutory declaration or affidavit, and to certify copies of original documents. JPs come from all sections of the community and are available across NSW.
statutory declaration is a written statement which a person declares to be true in the presence of an authorised witness. Various organisations such as banks, insurance companies and superannuation providers often require information provided to them via a statutory declaration.
affidavit is a written statement for use as evidence in court proceedings. A person making an affidavit must promise he or she is telling the truth in the presence of an authorised witness.
certified copy of an original document may be required by various organisations. This avoids the need of a person to submit original documentation such as a birth certificate or academic qualifications.
A JP is trusted to be honest and impartial when performing their functions. They cannot:
The following resources are available to learn more about the role of JPs:
The JP Handbook outlines the functions of a JP, including the procedure for how to perform those functions correctly.
You can download a free copy of the complete handbook or download it in sections below. You can also purchase a professionally printed copy through
Your feedback is important to us. You are welcome to
contact us with a suggestion, compliment or a complaint about a NSW JP.
If you would like to make a suggestion or compliment, you can either email or write to
If you are dissatisfied with the conduct of a JP and want to make a complaint, it must be made in writing to Appointment Services. Please read the guidelines below to find out more about how to lodge a complaint.
To raise a complaint, it must:
We will assess a complaint before determining whether to accept or decline it.
We will generally
accept complaints that raise:
We will generally
decline to consider complaints that are:
Please note that we can't become involved in private legal matters or private disputes between a complainant and a JP.
The NSW Police Force is responsible for investigating alleged criminal conduct. There are a range of regulatory bodies that may investigate alleged professional misconduct. If the JP is ultimately convicted of a criminal offence or an adverse finding is made about the JP by a court, tribunal, regulatory agency, complaint handling or dispute resolution body, we may at that time review the person's appointment as a JP.
We will acknowledge your complaint within three business days of receiving it. You will then be notified about whether your complaint has been accepted or declined within three weeks. Finalising a complaint generally takes longer, as we contact the relevant JP and provide them with at least three weeks to respond.
If we accept your complaint, we will likely take one of the following actions:
Please note we are unable to take any other disciplinary action against JPs. This includes compelling a person who is a JP to do or say anything in relation to their personal behaviour, private dealings or professional conduct (including private legal matters).
Usually, we won't provide details of the outcome of your complaint. This is because any disciplinary action must remain confidential. If a JP is removed from office, their details will be taken off the
Public register of JPs
The department's decision about a JP complaint is final, however you can request a review of the decision if you provide new information or evidence relevant to the complaint.
If you feel that we have not handled your complaint about a JP properly, you can contact the
NSW Ombudsman about our conduct. The NSW Ombudsman can investigate our conduct as a public authority (they can't investigate JPs as private individuals).
While we can handle a complaint confidentially, this may limit our ability to examine or resolve your concerns. If this is the case, we will contact you to discuss the issue before taking further action.
If we accept your complaint, the principles of procedural fairness require that we provide the JP with details of the allegation and allow them the opportunity to respond before issuing a warning letter or reviewing the JP’s appointment.
Providing the JP with details of your complaint, even if we withhold your name and contact details, may still enable the JP to identify you as the complainant. For this reason, in most cases we will need your consent to pursue your complaint with the JP.
For more details about lodging a complaint and complaint handling, please read the
Guidelines on the appointment of JPs: handling complaints and reviewing appointments [PDF 116KB].