If you’ve ever had to make a statutory declaration, or post an application which required proof of ID, chances are you would have needed the services of a Justice of the Peace (JP).
A JP is some who is authorised to:
- witness your signature on a document
- certify copies of documents (e.g. passport, driver licence)
- complete an affidavit or declaration for you
- take an oath of allegiance for citizenship
JPs are appointed by the Governor General, their services are free and confidential, and they have to abide by a Code of Practice.
What’s so special about a JP?
Potential Justices of the Peace are nominated by Members of Parliament. Nominees must have an adequate standard of education, be respected as someone with good sense, character and integrity, and have a genuine desire to serve their community. (More about the process of becoming a JP is on the Royal Federation of NZ Justices' Associations website.)
Making someone a JP isn’t a prize for being an honourable citizen, rather it is a way to enable that person to serve their community.
So, how do I find one?
You could look in the Yellow Pages under “Justices of the Peace”. It groups JPs by suburb – which is handy if you are happy to see them at their home. But there’s a good chance they have a day job, and anyway you might not be comfortable visiting a stranger at their home.
You can also try searching the website of the Royal Federation of NZ Justices' Associations Inc. If a JP has a mobile phone, it will be listed – so you can text them to arrange a meeting time and place which suits both of you.
Or, you can ask your local Citizens Advice Bureau - we’re more than just a directory. Many CAB volunteers are JPs so there’s a reasonable chance that when you call you could be talking to a JP.
Many CABs also hold regular JP clinics at set times. Check with your local Citizens Advice Bureau to find out whether they hold JP clinics and when.
We can also help you find a JP elsewhere – there may be a JP clinic held at a local library or Community Law Centre. There may be a JP working in a business just down the road from you! And if you’re not an English-speaker, we may be able to find one who speaks your language.