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Justice of the Peace Services

The functions performed by justices of the peace (JPs) and commissioners for declarations (Cdecs) are usually split between either bench duties or non-bench duties.

“Bench duties” refers to powers of certain justices of the peace to constitute a court for certain purposes within the criminal jurisdiction of the Magistrates Courts. For example, a justice of the peace can hear and determine a charge of an offence or conduct a committal hearing.


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If you’re trying to find a justice of the peace, or are searching for a ‘justice of the peace near me’, use our website to view a justice of the peace list and justice of the peace register. The Queensland Justices Association offers the best training and development to become the best justice of the peace QLD you can be.

Granting Bail

A person (the defendant) may be remanded in custody or released from jail during the intervening period through a grant of bail after being arrested and charged with a crime.

Bail is a procedure that allows someone who has been charged with a criminal offence and detained to be freed from prison until his or her case comes to trial. It acknowledges that the freedom of an individual who has not been convicted of a crime should not be restricted unless it is in the community's best interests to do so.

A “court” may grant bail to a person held in custody on a charge of or in connection with an offence if:

  • The person is waiting for a criminal case to be heard by that court in connection with the crime.
  • The criminal trial has been postponed.
  • The court has either committed or remanded the person in the course of or in connection with a criminal case to be held by that court or another court in relation to the same crime.

The court might also increase, change, or withdraw the bail previously granted.

The term "court" refers to a JP who is sitting in court as well as any JPs who are holding an inquiry of witnesses in connection with an indictable offense.

Issuing Summonses

The Justices of the Peace Act (1998) allows a complaint to be made in writing as the initial step in any legal proceeding. When a justice is informed that someone has committed or is suspected of committing an indictable offence, simple offence, or breach of duty within their jurisdiction, they may issue a summons.

The summons shall be addressed to the defendant and shall demand that he or she appear at a specific date and place in front of the Magistrates' Court, or, as the case may necessitate, before JPs conducting an examination of witnesses in relation to an indictable offence, to answer the charge and be dealt with according to law.

ISSUING WARRANTS UNDER QUEENSLAND LEGISLATION

An arrest warrant is a legal document that instructs the police to apprehend and jail someone. A summons, on the other hand, orders a defendant to appear in court. A justice of the peace may issue a warrant under several Acts. Under the Justice of the Peace Act (1998), a JP may issue a warrant for:

Search and Seizure

If a JP has reasonable grounds to believe that there is illegal activity taking place in any building, boat, car, aircraft or other location after receiving a complaint made on oath, they may issue an administrative warrant.

  • Any other circumstances that are relevant or material to any of which an offence for which the offender may be arrested with or without a warrant has been, or is suspected, on reasonable grounds, to have been committed.
  • Whatever it is, whether animate or inanimate, living or dead - and whether there are reasonable grounds to believe that it will by itself or through scientific examination provide evidence of the commission of any crime - such items may be seized.
  • Anything as to which there are reasonable grounds for believing that it is intended to be used for the purpose of committing any such offence.

A warrant may be issued by the court ordering a police officer or officers named in it to enter, if necessary, and to search such house, ship, automobile, aircraft, or place and seize anything found there. It will be taken before the court for disposition according to the law.

Arrests

A justice of the peace has the authority to grant warrants for the arrest of a person.

If a complaint is filed before a judge:

  • Within the justice's jurisdiction, a person may be accused of having committed an indictable offence
  • Someone accused of committing an indictable offence elsewhere in the State is believed to be within the jurisdiction of the court.
  • If a JP is satisfied that a person accused of committing an indictable offence on the high seas or elsewhere outside the State, in which notice may be taken by the courts of the State, is within his or her jurisdiction, he or she may issue a warrant to:
    1. Apprehend the person
    2. Have the individual called into court to answer the charge as well as be further handled lawfully.

WITNESSING STATUTORY DECLARATIONS AND AFFIDAVITS

A 'commissioner for declarations,' a 'justice of the peace,' or an old system justice of the peace whose position is maintained by the Act's transitional provisions may perform these functions (qualified), a magistrate court judge, a retired magistrate court judge, an established commissioner for declarations, or a justice of the peace.

WITNESSING AN ENDURING POWER OF ATTORNEY

A justice of the peace may witness an enduring power of attorney. The witness's job, however, does not end with verifying that the donor's signature is genuine; the witness must also attest to the person's capacity to do so. As a result, witnessing an enduring power of attorney is a very significant role.

WITNESSING SIGNATURES

Many statutes, on the other hand, demand that a justice of the peace be interviewed as a witness. For example, under Section 42 of the Marriage Act 1961 (Cth), a marriage may not be celebrated until notice of the intended wedding is delivered to the authorised celebrant within a specific time before the ceremony. A signed notification is required to be presented in the presence of one of a list of people, including a justice of the peace.

Conclusion

The authorities of a justice of the peace are wide-ranging and numerous. Although not all of these powers would be utilised on a regular basis by justices of the peace, they are nevertheless capable of being carried out by them.