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Date Set for Annual General Meeting

Ric Carlyon - Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Auckland Justices of the Peace Association’s  Annual General Meeting will be held on Tuesday, 25th August at the Cathedral Visitors’ Centre, Holy Trinity Cathedral, Parnell, commencing 7.30 pm.

Magna Carta's 800th Anniversary Marked

Ric Carlyon - Sunday, June 14, 2015

Auckland joined celebrations being held today in England and around the world to mark the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta at Runnymede near Windsor. Tonight’s choral evensong in Auckland Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Parnell honoured the Magna Carta... the Great Charter... the foundation of democracy and our rule of law. 
A number of Justices of the Peace attended the service, reflecting that the Magna Carta’s principles bear on almost every duty they carry out.
The service was led by the Dean, the Very Reverend Jo Kelly-Moore and the lessons were read by the Chief Justice, Rt Hon Dame Sian Elias and Bruce Gray, QC.
There were several reminders during the service about how the 800 year old charter has stood the test of time, its fundamentals still relevant to society today.
But in her address, Associate Professor Jennifer Lees-Marchant, Chair of the Magna Carta 800 Committee for New Zealand, looked ahead - saying the charter’s principles must be retained in the future and not just for us, but for other countries where justice and human rights continue to be at risk.      

Magna Carta – “The Touchstone of our Liberties”

Ric Carlyon - Tuesday, June 02, 2015

That’s how one eminent British historian is describing the Magna Carta, which in a few weeks will celebrate its 800th anniversary. The event is being marked in the United Kingdom and also in those countries, such as the United States, who have included Magna Carta’s principles in their own constitutions. 
Here at home a special service celebrating the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta will be held at Holy Trinity Cathedral, Parnell on Sunday 14th June at 5pm - Justices of the Peace are invited

Magna Carta’s principles bear on almost every duty Justices of the Peace have been carrying out over the centuries, responsibilities which more or less parallel the time since the Great Charter was signed on June 15, 1215.  

Some overseas academics have revisited their studies of Magna Carta, or Great Charter, as part of the 800th celebrations, and they conclude it’s just as relevant today as it was the day it was in signed at Runnymede in Surrey.

Past evidence shows the Magna Carta’s simple ideas of freedom and justice have, jurists say, become part of the genetic structure of humankind. 

Today, academics point out, Magna Carta is evoked and cited whenever basic freedoms come under threat from over-zealous governments.

Future challenges, historians predict, mean that its principles, with the power of social networking, the internet and other electronic means to spread them, will no doubt continue to have huge influence, wherever freedom is under attack.

Magna Carta, among other principles, 
- assured basic rights with the principle that no-one was above the law, including the king, 
- meant no free man could be imprisoned without a fair trial, lawful judgement of his equals,
- enabled the questioning of institutions which represent us.

Another historian summed it up – “Magna Carta’s the foundation of democracy and our rule of our law - its 800th anniversary is worth celebrating!”.

Opportunity : Issuing Officers…

Ric Carlyon - Monday, June 01, 2015

Definition: Issuing Officers are those 350 Justices of the Peace authorised to issue Search Warrants under the Search and Surveillance Act which became law in October 2012. Those Justices of the Peace were authorised for 3 years: the term expires in October this year. Royal Federation’s Trainer, Sarah Loftus, says those Justices of the Peace who have signaled they are willing to renew their authorisation will be considered for a further term by the Attorney-General.
Opportunity: There’s an opening for other Justices of the Peace to serve the community as Issuing Officers. “Enforcement agency officers, usually police, generally take applications for Search Warrants to Justice of the Peace Issuing Officers only when a court-staff issuing officer is not available” says Sarah, “so that’s out of business hours and while this is not policy it’s a practice which has become standard. In my experience all those who have trained as issuing officers have found it an interesting and valuable exercise”.
Training: Authorisation as an Issuing Officer can only be considered by those who have completed the on-line training. “It will be made available from late June for three weeks on the Royal Federation website for all Justices of the Peace who are interested in the role”, Sarah advises, “followed by assessment”.  
Application: Members who wish to undertake the training and assessment should immediately contact to have their name added to the training list.

New Justices of the Peace Sworn

Ric Carlyon - Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Eight new Justices of the Peace from Greater Auckland were sworn in by Judge Philippa Cunningham earlier this week.

They are Mrs Susan Kate Bromley, Pakuranga: Mrs Susan Fay Eustace, Mission Bay: Mrs Janet Robyn Higham, Helensville: Ms Ngaire Beverley Johns, Pakuranga: Mr Palakkapilli Joseph Mathew, Glenfield: Mr Graeme Thomas Rodgers, Browns Bay: Mrs Nivedita Sharma Vij, Dannemora and Mr Brian Winthrop, of Ellerslie.

They were welcomed to membership of the Auckland Justices of the Peace Association by President, Colin Davis, and within a week or two will begin duties under the Association's Active and Trained initiative.   

Magna Carta Celebrations

Ric Carlyon - Tuesday, May 19, 2015

 As the cornerstone of British Justice, the Magna Carta is reflected in due process in New Zealand: close to the work all Justices of the Peace carry out in their daily duties. 

Justices of the Peace have been especially invited to attend .

Magna Carta: A Celebration

Ric Carlyon - Monday, May 11, 2015

Updating the story leading to the Magna Carta and news of a special church service to celebrate the signing of the document 800 years ago.

A special service celebrating the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta will be held at Holy Trinity Cathedral, Parnell on Sunday 14th June at 5pm.  

The Story so far... King John of England has met stalemate. His conciliatory negotiations with barons have failed. The rebellious gentry continue to maintain that the King has repeatedly exceeded reasonable authority, unfairly over-taxing them. Angry, they had gathered support and in May 1215 their opposition sparked civil war and they gained control of London. This encouraged others to join those opposing the King.

Mediation has bombed, antagonism mounts, and unrest has already turned ugly.  

So, 800 years ago King John was cornered and looked for a way out. He suggested arbitration to be led by the Pope. But the rebels rejected this. So the King looked to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Stephen Langton, who had been in preliminary talks with the opposing barons.

“Papal arbitration’s obviously not going to work, so see if you can organise placatory peace talks” the King suggested to the Archbishop.

So about now... this month 800 years ago, the Archbishop was busy persuading the rebels to get around the table, using as an ‘agenda’ for the meeting an old Charter, never implemented, which curtailed Royal powers. The venue for the talks was carefully selected…near both the royal Windsor Castle and the rebel’s stronghold at Staines. Runnymede seemed perfect and the date selected was 10th June.

Would the parties show up? Well, they did and presented the King with the old Charter, amended and dressed up as “Articles of the Barons”. The Archbishop’s skills in mediation, severely exercised over 10 days, resulted in agreement, ultimately the Grant Charter, the Magna Carta. It was signed by all parties on the 15th June 1215 after which the rebels called off all opposition, swearing allegiance to King John.     

Scrawled on parchment in Latin and affirmed by the Monarch’s waxed seal, the Magna Carta promised the protection of church rights and ensured the monarch was subject to the rule of law. It safeguarded barons from illegal imprisonment, gave access to swift justice for all, and limited feudal payments to the Crown.

Ideas of freedom and democracy in the Magna Carta, and the rule of law to which all are subject, are significant today and its tenets have been included in constitutions around the globe. As the cornerstone of British Justice, the Magna Carta is reflected in due process in New Zealand:  close to the work all Justices of the Peace carry out in their daily duties.  

A special service celebrating the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta will be held at Holy Trinity Cathedral, Parnell on Sunday 14th June at 5pm. Justices of the Peace will be welcome.  

Anzac: Centennial

Ric Carlyon - Monday, May 11, 2015

We Are Remembering Them 

A reminder that we have already remembered, through the service of 3 Justices of the Peace, those who enlisted and served their country during World War One.

The title on our Home Page will lead directly to the three chosen JPs, each with remarkable war-time service: William Forrest who went to the front aged 60, Reginald Evatt who served in the Boer War, World War One and World War Two and John A. Lee, decorated then seriously injured in France.

We are remembering them! 

Auckland's New Justices of the Peace

Ric Carlyon - Wednesday, April 22, 2015

4 Justices of the Peace were recently sworn in at the Auckland District Court before Judge Philippa Cunningham. 

They’re Peter John Barnett, Northpark: Molly Ann Roberts, Mt Albert: Suzanne Christine Teague, Dannemora and Minisita Kesi Vaai from Avondale.  

All 4 appointees swore their two oaths - Peter Barnett and Molly Roberts in both English and Te Reo. 

Molly has become a J.P. after long service with the Ministry of Justice in Auckland… there was added colour to the ceremony when her former colleagues attended to witness her swearing-in and added a flourish with waiata.

Meet our Support Groups

Ric Carlyon - Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Beginning a periodic feature… a look at some of our Support Groups...
First up it’s Waiheke Island introduced by local Coordinator, Gillian Reeve.

Our Waiheke Island Support Group started up in January last year as a meet-and-greet social gathering to find out 'who's who' in our area. Initially on paper there were 22 Justices of the Peace on Waiheke but the contact list was very out-of-date, so we've had a sort-out to establish who is still on the island, who's left the island, who's new to the island etc. It's great having a clearly defined, small area and a water boundary that can't leak into any other suburb!

It's been a stuttering and faltering start in many ways. As with other Support Groups we have a long-term and ongoing problem - i.e. some Justices of the Peace have never once been to a meeting (or, in some instances, even bothered to reply to Support Group emails). They appear to be inactive and are certainly not up-to-date with training and all the changes in today's world (certifying of electronic documents, online learning etc) yet they continue in the community, appointed but not capable of proper public service, untrained and out of touch.

Nevertheless, we've continued meeting socially, at a dinner gathering, every 3 months, and at these gatherings we've covered any business / planning in an informal way and have sometimes had a guest speaker - the local police sergeant for example and, in January 2015, our local MP Nikki Kaye.
Every 3 months, alternating with the dinners at 6-weekly intervals, we have a training session on a Sunday morning at the Oneroa CAB with a trainer who visits from the outskirts of Waiheke (Auckland City !) as part of the Active and Trained initiative.
One clear 'hiccup' is that many of those who aren't active in our group are younger Justices of the Peace who have long work-hours, including weekends, either in Auckland or on Waiheke. Some have never been to a Support Group meeting or to a training session or offered for the Service Desk roster. It's all very well saying we need more young Justices of the Peace, but if they're virtually never available because of work commitments, wouldn't it be better value to appoint older, more available people, even if for a shorter time ?

It’s a pity more do not attend our Group’s activities, especially training, to maintain their confidence and competency to serve the community. So it’s good that a few Waiheke Justices of the Peace have opted to resign recently, possibly in response to a letter from MP Nikki Kaye asking their intentions. 

Our main success story however, has been the establishment of a Service Desk which now operates every Saturday morning at the Oneroa CAB from 10-12 noon. Whereas before it was left solely to the manager of the CAB (also a Justice of the Peace) the Saturday morning duties are now rostered.  One of our members is doing great work towards getting publicity for this in the local newspapers.

       A trio of J.P.s at Waiheke's Service Desk at the CAB in Oneroa: L-R Lomond Brown, Greg Ogg and Gillian Reeve

Waiheke Justices of the Peace made the 'big time' recently when, with much-appreciated assistance from Roger Brookes to get the wording right,  we were delighted to have the remit below accepted by the Auckland Association then forwarded to the National Conference in Takapuna, where it passed ! Now the Ministry of Justice will be asked to act on it.

At our last meeting it was agreed to try a more formal approach, so a meeting format will be followed for the April 29th meeting at the CAB in Oneroa at 7pm, with a get-together and bite to eat at the Oneroa Boating Club (restaurant) beforehand for those who would like to continue the social connection.

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