Find out the functions of Justices of the Peace (JPs), their role and responsibilities, and the process for being appointed as a JP.
In New Zealand, JPs are involved in an ever-increasing multitude of matters including both Ministerial and Judicial duties.
Justices of the Peace have no inherent jurisdiction and may exercise only those powers given to them by legislation. Other duties of a Justice of the Peace include the:
A limited number of JPs undertake judicial duties within the District Court. Judicial JP functions include:
A newly appointed JP cannot exercise their jurisdiction until a District Court judge has sworn them into office. Prior to their swearing in, JPs are required to undertake an introduction training course provided by their local Justices of the Peace Association.
All JPs are expected to carry out the duties above under the Oaths and Declarations Act 1957, Criminal Procedure Act 2011 or by any other enactment under s4(b) Justices of the Peace Act 1957.
Members of Parliament nominate people to be JPs. It is the responsibility of each electorate Member of Parliament to ensure that their electorate is adequately serviced by JPs. Nominations for a person to be appointed as a JP are accepted only from Members of Parliament. List Members may submit nominations in their own name but they will need to have the prior endorsement of the appropriate electorate Member.
This manual contains best practice guidelines for Justices of the Peace. It covers:
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