How to become a Justice of the Peace

The Attorney-General's Department

How to become a Justice of the Peace

Eligibility requirements

To be eligible for appointment as a Justice of the Peace (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 to be able to:
  • identify the nature of documents
  • read and understand instructions relating to your official duties
  • seek advice about official duties.
  • 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.

Conflict of interest

The role of the JP at all times is to act as an independent and objective witness to documents people use for official or legal purposes. Applications from people employed in occupations or workplaces where the witnessing of documents as a JP could result in potential or real conflict between business interest and duties and responsibilities as a JP may not be accepted by The Attorney-General. 
 
People wanting to become JPs for their place of employment (including self-employees), must demonstrate in writing, how they will overcome any conflict of interest that may arise between their business interest and their duties as a JP.
 

Understand the duties and powers of a JP

To ensure you understand the duties and powers, read the JP handbook and code of conduct:

When you have read both documents and determined that you meet the eligibility requirements contact Justice of the Peace Services to obtain an application package.

The application process

Applications must be lodged with Justice of the Peace Services. You can expect the following process:

  • Application is checked for completeness (applications are considered complete when all forms and documentation are received by Justice of the Peace Services including the referee reports).
  • An acknowledgement is sent to you.
  • A National Police Check is requested by Justice of the Peace Services from SAPOL
  • You undertake an assessment;
  • Your application is submitted to the Attorney-General for consideration;
  • A submission is made recommending that the Governor appoints you as a JP (assuming the Attorney-General is satisfied you meet all of the requirements for appointment).
  • Your appointment as a JP is published in the SA Government Gazette (following approval by the Governor).

Following approval by the Governor

Written notification of your appointment is sent to you together with an oaths form.

  • You must take your oaths* before an authorised person and return the form to Justice of the Peace Services within 3 months of your appointment date.
  • On receipt of your oaths form you will be sent an appointment package containing your appointment certificate, your identification number, the JP Handbook and the Code of Conduct.

* Please note if you are appointed as a JP you cannot exercise your duties until you take the oath of allegiance and the judicial oath as required by section 7 of the Oaths Act 1936. In taking these oaths you promise allegiance to the Queen.

Reappointment of JPs

Following the commencement of the Justices of the Peace Act 2005 (the Act) and the Justices of the Peace Regulations 2006 (the Regulations) on 1 July 2006, new criteria and conditions for appointing JPs came into effect. As a result, JPs are now appointed for a ten-year term, rather than life.

JPs appointed prior to 1 July 2006 are required to go through a reappointment process in order to continue serving as a JP. This reappointment process commenced on 18 February 2011 and all JPs appointed prior to 1 July 2006 were advised that they must apply for reappointment under the Justices of the Peace Act 2005 in order to continue in office.

JPs appointed prior to 1 July 2006 had until 15 April 2011 to complete and return a reappointment application to Justice of the Peace Services. JPs who did not receive an application or who haven't submitted an application for reappointment should contact Justice of the Peace Services to discuss the options available to them. The reappointment process of eligible JPs will occur progressively over three years.

Frequently asked questions

Administering Oaths for JPs

Following the commencement of the Justices of the Peace Act 2005 (the Act) and the Justices of the Peace Regulations 2006 (the Regulations) on 1 July 2006, new criteria and conditions for appointing Justices of the Peace (JPs) came into effect. As a result, JPs are now appointed for a ten-year term, rather than life.

JPs appointed prior to 1 July 2006 are required to go through a reappointment process in order to continue serving as a JP, which commenced on 18 February 2011. Once reappointed JPs will need to retake their oaths under the Oaths Act 1936. Historically people appointed as a JP seek the assistance of Registrars of the State Courts to administer their oaths.

With over 5000 JPs expected to progressively complete the reappointment process over a period of three years, and to reduce the impact on courts, the Attorney-General is seeking the assistance of Commissioners for taking affidavits in the Supreme Court of South Australia to administer the oaths for these JPs.

Commissioners able to assist are asked to complete the nomination form and return it to Justice of the Peace Services.

Last updated: 
Wednesday, 6 August 2014
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