How to become a Justice of the Peace

The Attorney-General's Department

How to become a Justice of the Peace

To be eligible for appointment as a JP in South Australia you must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Be an Australian citizen
  • Be resident in South Australia
  • Be of good character
  • Undergo a National Police Check
  • Not be bankrupt or have applied as a debtor to take the benefit of the laws relating to bankruptcy
  • Not be disqualified from managing or being involved in the management of any company under the  Corporations Act 2001 of the Commonwealth
  • Be able to understand the duties and powers of a justice
  • Be proficient in speaking, reading and writing in the English language
  • Live, work or volunteer in an area or community in which there is a need for a justice
  • Provide two written references from referees that demonstrate they know you to be a person of good and reputable character.
Applications from people in the occupations such as accountants, conveyancers, insurance agents, legal practitioners, police officers and real estate agents, among others, will only be considered if the person can demonstrate in writing, how they will overcome any conflict of interest that may arise between their business interest and their duties as a JP.

The Application Process:

Once a potential JP has completed the required application and documentation, the
process should occur as follows:
  1. An acknowledgement is sent to the applicant
  2. Required criminal checks for the applicant are undertaken
  3. The applicant completes the required assessment
  4. The application is submitted for consideration by the Attorney-General
  5. Assuming the Attorney-General is satisfied, a submission is made to the Governor to appoint the applicant as a JP
  6. The applicant's appointment is advertised in the SA Government Gazette
  7. A successful applicant must complete their oaths before an authorised person prior to beginning their appointment as a JP.
JPs are appointed for a term of 10 years, as per changes made to the JP system effective July 1 2006. If you are a JP and were appointed prior to this date, you will need to be reappointed under the new system including re-taking your oaths - for more information see:

Good Character Criteria

A JP, prior to appointment, must be assessed as being 'of good character'. In this case, 'of good character' refers primarily to a person's criminal history. All applicants are provided with an opportunity to explain the circumstances surrounding any charges or convictions. Applications will be declined in certain circumstances, for example, if the applicant:
  • Has served a sentence of imprisonment for any offence
  • Has been convicted of any offence involving dishonesty in the past 20 years (or ten years in the case of an offence committed as a juvenile)
  • Has been convicted of more than one offence in the past ten years
  • Has been found guilty of an offence without conviction in the past five years
  • Is currently subject to a good behaviour bond
  • Is currently awaiting trial or sentence for any offence
  • Is currently subject to a supervision order or detention order.
The assessment of good character is not limited to reviewing the person's criminal history. A range of other factors are relevant, including an applicant's honesty, integrity, capacity to act impartially, and to conduct themselves in such a way that the office of JP is not brought into disrepute.
If you have determined that you meet the eligibility requirements to become a JP and wish to apply, contact Justice of the Peace Services to obtain an application package.
Last updated: 
Monday, 6 February 2017
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