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Auckland has wins and a loss at Conference

Ric Carlyon - Monday, March 03, 2014

Auckland had three of its remits passed at the weekend’s JPs’ national conference.  A fourth was withdrawn. 29 JP Associations belong to the Royal Federation of New Zealand Justices Associations, all of which were represented at the Federation’s 86th Conference at Waitangi.  

Delegates were asked to concur with Auckland Association’s remits, and though the voting was sometimes quite close, the majority of delegates agreed to three of the remits.

Their topics ranged from accreditation of JPs, (effectively, asking policy on the matter to be re-examined before being implemented),  to Service Desks (more discussions and detail before guidelines are decided) and on-going training (as a legislated requirement for all JPs). A remit suggesting that the periodical Justices Quarterly be discontinued in favour of electronic distribution was withdrawn when earlier discussion at Conference indicated that the Board is considering changes to its entire communications portfolio.

In the election for Vice-President of the Royal Federation, Auckland’s Wallis Walker lost to Denise Hutchins, who has been Central Region’s representative on the Board. While Wallis lost out for the vice-presidency, she returns after a gap to serve on the Board as Auckland Regional Representative.  

Year of the JP begins

Ric Carlyon - Monday, March 03, 2014

‘Year of the JP’ kicked off this weekend, appropriately in the Bay of Islands where New Zealand’s first Justice of the Peace, Thomas Kendall, began duties in 1814, 200 years ago. The milestone was the featured theme at the Justices of the Peace annual conference held at Waitangi this weekend. The Mihi was held at Whare Waikairo in the Treaty Grounds (below)

The Royal Federation of New Zealand Justices’ Associations also took the opportunity to launch year-long activities to celebrate two centuries of continuous service by JPs.

Delegates were given detailed accounts of the life and times of Thomas Kendall, and the history of JPs over the decades, by eminent historians Dame Claudia Orange, Dr Phillip Harkness and others.  The conference didn’t only dwell on the past but considered future services JPs might be providing, the need to keep abreast of technological changes and what these will mean for the way JPs serve the public.

The large attendance at the JPs’ s 86th Annual Conference at Waitangi almost overwhelmed facilities, but the host committee’s organisation and management ensured a successful and enjoyable conference. Delegates thought the 200th anniversary of Thomas Kendall J.P. arriving in New Zealand had been well and truly celebrated.  

Duties of Justices' of the Peace in New Zealand

Jade Wood - Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Justices of the Peace are appointed to provide a range of duties important in the administration of New Zealand. Their functions fall into two categories, referred to as ministerial duties and judicial duties. All Justices of the Peace are required to carry out ministerial duties but further training must be undertaken by JPs before they may provide judicial duties.

Ministerial duties include:

  • Taking oaths and declarations
  • Witnessing signatures
  • Certifying copies

Judicial duties include:

  • Hearing summary offences
  • Presiding over preliminary hearings
  • Conducting traffic courts
  • Hearing bail applications and requests for remands and adjournments

Along with the jury system, judicial JPs represent the participation of ordinary people in the administration of justice in New Zealand. Approximately 4 per cent of all JPs in New Zealand provide judicial duties but they must firstly complete a tertiary course in judicial studies. Once they become practising bench-sitting JPs they are required to attend four training update sessions each year to keep their judicial knowledge and skills up-to-date. Judicial duties include exercising powers in court under the Criminal Procedure Act 2011, the Summary Proceedings Act 1957 and various other enactments and include issuing summonses and warrants to arrest.

Other functions of Justices of the Peace

Coronial Services

Under the Coroners Act 2006, some JPs may take evidence at a distance on a Coroner's behalf.

Elections

Under the Electoral Act 1993 and the Local Electoral Act 1991 and the Electoral referendum Act 2010, JPs have various roles during elections.

Independent Witnesses

  • Under the Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992, some JPs act as 'any person' when a committal notice is explained to a proposed patient.
  • Under the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act 1990, some JPs act as nominated witnesses when children or young persons are interviewed by police, however they are not acting as a JP when doing so.
  • Under the Criminal Investigations (Bodily Samples) Act 1995, some JPs may act as a person present when a young person gives a sample, however they are not acting as a JP when doing so.

Search Warrants

As from 1st October 2012, the issuing of search warrants ceased to be a function for Justices of the Peace. Only those people who have been personally authorised by the Attorney-General to act as Issuing Officers are permitted to consider a search warrant application. A small number of appointed Issuing Officers are also Justices of the Peace.

Visiting Justices

 A number of Justices of the Peace also act as Visiting Justices to Corrections facilities.


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