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Conference News

Ric Carlyon - Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Minister: Thanks Justices of the Peace and Looks Ahead

Hon. Maggie Barry, standing in for Associate Justice Minister Simon Bridges, officially opened the recent Royal Federation of Justices Associations’ Annual Conference at Takapuna and began her remarks by thanking Justices of the Peace for their services which, she says, are “absolutely invaluable”. “The Government is very appreciative of your work, as are the countless New Zealanders who use your services, both in and outside of the courtroom,” the Minister said, “so thank you for all your hours of service to our communities and our justice system”.

Maggie Barry then pursued the theme of the conference “The Changing Skyline of Justice” when she said that the Government is committed to modernising our courts, so that the court system reflects the needs of New Zealand and New Zealanders in the 21st century.

“We want a system that delivers results faster, is simpler for people to use and understand, and provides a better experience for those who work in it. People expect modern customer service and the greater provision of services online” the Minister said, “and we also need to ensure that resources are used as efficiently and effectively as possible”.

“But in seeking a modern court system, the Government is equally conscious of the fundamental values that underpin justice laid out in the Bill of Rights and other laws and conventions”

Maggie Barry continued…“this will require changes in law and operation, and the implementation of technology alongside a commitment of everyone who works in the justice system – judges, court staff and, of course, Justices of the Peace – to ensure these changes are successful”.

Use of the Letters "J.P."

Ric Carlyon - Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Association has recently received several expressions of concern regarding the use of the letters 'JP' and/or the words 'Justice of the Peace' by JPs who are also marriage/civil union celebrants.

From time to time we also receive complaints about other professionals using the letters 'JP' and/or the words 'Justice of the Peace'.

In 2010 the Royal Federation conference discussed and agreed on guidelines for the use of 'JP' and/or 'Justice of the Peace'.  These guidelines can be found in the members' section of  the Association's website.

All JPs are reminded that the letters ‘JP’ or the words 'Justice of the Peace' should never give the impression of furthering trade, business or professional interests.

Auckland Round Up

Ric Carlyon - Monday, August 18, 2014

Otara Support Group – Has appointed Rosie Brown, J.P. as Pacific Liaison Officer to help the many Pacific Island J.P.s who work in the district.

Mt Albert Support Group – Last meeting was addressed by a Police Sergeant who spoke on identity crime and fraud, passing on useful tips on what to look out for, as well as advice for personal safety when strangers come to our home.

Botany Service Desk at CAB - Latest monthly return shows 167 clients, 501 Certified Copies, 70 Statutory Declarations. Not bad business for 3 afternoons a week! 

Helensville Support Group - meetings are divided with the first hour is devoted to local issues and sharing experiences, while the second hour is occupied with in-house training. The group recently celebrated mid-winter with a special dinner. 

Northcote Service Desk - has moved with the CAB to new premises in the local library complex, 5 Ernie Mays Street right in the heart of Northcote.

Waiheke Support Group plans to add to current sessions at the CAB with members rostered on Saturday mornings.

Hibiscus Coast Support Group, growing in number, has held recent meetings with training centred on personal safety and privacy matters.

Remuera Support Group’s next meeting will discuss J.P. roles in the upcoming General Election.

We will catch up with other Support Groups and Service Desks in later Round Ups.  

Mistaken Identity

Ric Carlyon - Monday, August 11, 2014

In initial conversation with the couple in front of me during my session at the Service Desk it was obvious that English was their second language. The document they presented had already been processed as a Statutory Declaration by another J.P.

So, why had they come to the CAB to see another J.P. and what did they want me to do?

The gentleman pointed to Section 18 which in the document followed the Statutory Declaration and stood out as the only section not signed off. Section 18 asked “Is the applicant of sound mind?”

I told the couple that as a J. P. I was not qualified, nor prepared, to sign on the dotted line. Once this had sunk in disappointment was written large over both faces, but the woman dived into her bag, and produced a letter, a guide to help complete the form. She thrust it out, confident this would solve any problem and that, in a flash, I would be signing and stamping the document.

“Section 18….” the notes said “… must be completed by a registered medical practitioner who has known you for at least 6 months”

Right, I concluded, just a small misunderstanding because of the way spoken English sounds, and only one letter out! The applicant needs a G.P. rather than a J.P.!

“Active and Trained”

Ric Carlyon - Monday, August 04, 2014

This is the Association’s new mission, to encourage all J.P.s to be active and trained, as recently agreed by the Council. 

The one page chart shows that J.P.s, to properly fulfil office, ethics and conduct should be active (regularly available to serve their community) and  trained, (kept up to date by accessing regular education sessions).

The chart shows the simple steps to best meet the criteria.

At the foot of the chart is the suggestion that a list of these ‘Active and Trained’ members of the Auckland JP Association be provided annually to electorate MPs. The corollary being those who are no longer able, or interested, in serving as efficient J.P.s would be invited by their local M.P. to become ‘J.P. Retired’ or to step down.

Download: Active and Trained Diagram

One Month's Work...

Ric Carlyon - Wednesday, April 16, 2014

One of the Council’s ongoing quests is that all JPs are active and trained so it’s interesting to dissect the Registrar’s summary of one month’s input into the training aspect of our activities.

Statistics for March reveal the dedication and hours JPs spent on training to better serve the community. All up, trainers and members invested some 350 hours in organised training, both Judicial and Ministerial. This includes the one-day training for 11 nominees. On top of these sessions other JPs will have put in additional hours training with their local Support Groups.

Aside from training, Judicial JPs sat for 155 hours in the 4 Auckland courts while JPs attending to Ministerial duties at Service Desks, at home and at the workplace, will have clocked up hundreds more hours during the month.

Volunteers, all.  

Ministerial Memoire

Ric Carlyon - Wednesday, April 09, 2014

60 JPs from Hibiscus Coast gathered recently to share morning tea with Associate Justice Minister Chester Borrows and local MP Mark Mitchell.
Discussion turned to a topic often talked over by JPs lately - why are there so many inactive JPs and why aren't they coming forward to help those who are providing services, particularly now there are Support Groups, Service Desks and organised training sessions.
Auckland Association supports MPs who have said they will write to JPs reminding them of the responsibilities they undertook when appointed.
The Minister agrees with this approach saying JPs should be given an option: serve their community or stand down, becoming a JP Retired.

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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