How to become a justice of the peace

Contact for Apply to become a Justice of the Peace

Public Records Division in the Secretary of State’s Office

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The Details of Apply to become a Justice of the Peace

What you need for Apply to become a Justice of the Peace

Justices of the Peace are responsible for complying with the laws applicable to their position. Each applicant should be familiar with the relevant regulations set forth in the Massachusetts General Laws.

How to apply Apply to become a Justice of the Peace

By mail

If you want to become a Justice of the Peace with the power to solemnize marriages, please check to make sure there are vacancies in your community by contacting the Secretary of the Commonwealth at 617-727-2836. If there are, submit an application for the Governor’s consideration. Applications are available online.

In addition to your completed application, you will need to present a resume, four signatures from references in the city or town in which you live, and one letter of recommendation, not exceeding one page, written on your behalf.

Completed applications can be mailed to:

Executive Council State House

Boston, MA 02133

More info for Apply to become a Justice of the Peace

A Justice of the Peace is classified as a judicial officer under Chapter III of the Massachusetts Constitution. Pursuant to Chapter II, Article IX of the Constitution, Justices of the Peace are appointed by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Executive Council. The Constitution sets the term for a Justice of the Peace at seven years.

Most individuals seek a commission in order to solemize marriages. The Governor must specifically designate Justices of the Peace with this power. For more information, please see the Summary of Duties.

There is a limit on the number of Justices of the Peace whom the governor can specifically designate to perform marriages. The limit is 1 per municipality plus 1 for every 5,000 residents. Town Clerks who are also Justices of the Peace do not count towards this limit.

Justices of the Peace are sworn to uphold the Constitution of the Commonwealth and therefore cannot refuse to perform a marriage ceremony based on a couple’s sexual orientation, race, or other protected status.

Those looking for a one-day marriage designation do not need to be a Justice of the Peace. Learn more about One Day Designations.

Nonresident clergy may also apply to perform marriages in Massachusetts. Learn more about Out of State Nonresident Clergy Petition to Solemnize Marriage.

The Secretary of the Commonwealth maintains the Justice of the Peace records and can tell you whether there is a vacancy in your city or town. You may contact them at 617-727-2836.

A Justice of the Peace is a member of the public who hears less serious criminal cases such as:

  • theft
  • minor assault
  • antisocial behaviour
  • road traffic offences

A Justice of the Peace does not need to be legally qualified. They are ordinary members of the community who volunteer their time.

The Justice of the Peace hears the case and decides whether an accused person is guilty or innocent. They can give punishments such as:

  • fines of up to £2,500
  • prison for up to 2 months
  • disqualifications
  • unpaid work in the community

Justices might sit alone, or with 2 other Justices.. They will also have a legal adviser in court to help with questions about the law.

Who can become a Justice of the Peace

Justices come from a wide range of backgrounds and occupations.

You do not need formal qualifications or legal training. You’ll get full training for the role, and a legal adviser in court will help you with questions about the law.

You cannot become a Justice of the Peace if you:

  • are over 70
  • are a member of a local authority – are a member of the Scottish Parliament
  • are a member of the House of Commons
  • are a members of the House of Lords
  • have been the subject of sequestration or bankruptcy proceedings

Time off work

The role of Justice of the Peace is voluntary and unpaid, although you may get reasonable travel expenses. Most employers will give you time off with pay or let you claim for your loss of earnings.

You can read more about time off work for public duty in Section 50 of the Employment Rights Act 1996.

Apply to become a Justice of the Peace

You do not need specific qualifications but you’ll need to be highly committed and be able to make good, sound judgements.

You must live within 15 miles of the sheriffdom you work in.

Current Vacancies

There are no Justice of the Peace vacancies at the moment.

An individual who would like to become a Justice of the Peace would need to be nominated for the role by a Member of Parliament. The MP nominates them to the Minister of Justice, who will then organise an appointment for the citizen with the Governor-General. The MP must carefully consider the needs of the community before they nominate someone for the role of JP.

The nominated individual needs to obtain a license to operate as a Justice of the Peace. The process of swearing-in as a Justice of the Peace can take up to a year. During this time the nominated individual will have training online and he or she will be tested on their knowledge. Once the Governor-General approves their application for the role the citizen is sworn in as JP.

Who can be a JP?

Anyone can be a Justice of the Peace, with the exception of the following:

Any spouse of a JP
Lawyers
Doctors
Members of Parliament
Any employee of a debt collector company
Anybody with a criminal record.

An ideal nominee for a JP is someone who is a prominent member of their community and offers their services in a volunteer capacity regularly. The ideal nominee will also be a citizen of New Zealand and fluent in English. The nominated individual must also be proficient on a computer and it’s essential that they have never been declared bankrupt.

If you are a public servant, local authority figure or part of the Prisoners Rehabilitation Society, you may be appointed, but you may not sit in Court.

To be a Justice of the Peace is not considered an honorary position. Its purpose is purely to provide a service to the community and is meant to serve and help others.

  • Annual Report
  • About us
  • Commissioners for Declarations
  • Justices of the Peace
    • Find a Justice of the Peace
    • How to become a Justice of the Peace
    • How to change your details
    • Reappointment as a Justice of the Peace
    • Resign as Justice of the Peace
    • Resources for Justices of the Peace
  • Tribunals
  • Legal assistance
  • Mediation and dispute resolution
  • National Redress Scheme
  • Witness Intermediary Scheme Pilot

Please note that new Justices of the Peace will only be appointed if there is an identified need in a particular suburb and surrounding area or where an applicant is employed in an area of need and can provide Justice of the Peace services at their place of employment, e.g. in a Service Tasmania branch.

There are currently over 800 Justices of the Peace in Tasmania. Prior to applying, please refer to our “Find a Justice of the Peace” page to help identify if there is a need for Justices of the Peace in your area.

To become a Justice of the Peace, applicants must meet the following criteria

  • Be an Australian citizen by birth, descent or naturalisation.
  • Consent to confidential enquiries being made to determine suitability for appointment (this may include an interview by Tasmania Police).
  • Be enrolled as an elector for the State of Tasmania.
  • Be 18 years of age or over.
  • Not be an undischarged bankrupt.
  • Be able to competently carry out the duties of the office.
  • Not be convicted of any offences beyond minor traffic offences (an applicant should not have more than four minor traffic offences in the past ten years or more than one drink driving offence in the past five years – for any such offence the reading must not exceed 0.1%).
  • Not be a person engaged in any occupation or employment which could cause a conflict between their business or other interests and their duties and responsibilities as a Justice of the Peace.
  • Be willing to complete the Justice of the Peace Introductory Course delivered by the Justices of the Peace Association of Tasmania.
  • Be willing to undertake and complete any future training or professional development prescribed by regulations or required by the Secretary of the Department of Justice.
  • Be readily available to witness documents.
  • Be located in an area which does not already have a sufficient number of Justices of the Peace appointed.

What happens next if I apply?

If you choose to apply, your application will be acknowledged and assessed by the Department of Justice.

Appointments are supported where they meet the needs criteria as established by Government, and the person is suitably qualified. Factors determining whether a request for appointment will be supported include

  • The existing number of Justices of the Peace in the community and their accessibility (please refer to our “Find a Justice of the Peace” page for more information about Justices of the Peace in your suburb and surrounding area).
  • The applicants availability to witness documents.
  • The type of documents required to be regularly witnessed.

Should you wish to proceed with an application, please complete the online Expression of Interest form

How will I know if my application was successful?

The Department of Justice will advise you of the outcome of your application.

Unsuccessful applicants will be provided with an explanation as to why their application was not supported.

If your application proceeds, the process for appointment may take some time while criminal history checks and other administrative processes are undertaken.

Role purpose

Justice of the Peace (JP) volunteers play an important role in the Justice system and provide a valuable and accessible service to all members of the community.

JPs are volunteers appointed by the Governor-in-Council on the recommendation of the Attorney-General in accordance with section 7 of the Honorary Justices Act 2014. In Victoria, JPs have the power to witness a range of legal documents, including statutory declarations and affidavits, and to certify true copies of documents.

Key accountabilities

JP volunteers are part of a collective group known as Honorary Justices and as such, there is an expectation that all JP volunteers will respect, observe and adhere to the highest levels of personal, social and community standards of integrity and professionalism to ensure that all Victorians are provided with an independent, fair and impartial service.

They have a responsibility to provide a free and timely service that is accessible to all members of the community, making themselves reasonably available to act as an independent witness to documents that are used for official or legal purposes.

In Victoria, the role of a JP volunteer is largely administrative. The primary role is focused on:

  • attesting to the execution of a document
  • witnessing a statutory declaration
  • witnessing an affidavit for use in court
  • certifying true copies of an original document
  • certifying a person’s identity.

Selection criteria

Knowledge and skills

  • Interpersonal skills
  • Communication
  • Conflict management

Personal qualities

  • Initiative and accountability
  • Self confidence
  • Self control and discipline
  • Decisiveness
  • Drive and commitment
  • Empathy and cultural awareness

Qualifications

There are no specific qualifications required to become a JP volunteer in Victoria. However, to be eligible for appointment as a JP, applicants must:

  • be of or over the age of 18 years
  • be an Australian citizen
  • not be an insolvent under administration.

Applicants must also satisfy the Attorney-General that they:

  • have satisfactorily completed the course of training prescribed for appointment as a JP
  • have sufficient proficiency in the English language to perform the duties of a JP
  • ordinarily reside in Victoria
  • are a fit and proper person to be appointed as a JP.

Important information

JP volunteers should be active members of the community who demonstrate a willingness and passion for assisting other members of the community.

JP volunteers for the Department of Justice and Community Safety are required to:

  • adhere to the Honorary Justice Code of Conduct
  • be reasonably available and reasonably active in the performance of his or her duties as a JP
  • undertake and successfully complete training and professional development within identified timeframes.

All appointments are subject to the following checks:

  • National Police Record check
  • Australian Securities and Investment Commission check
  • Insolvency and Trustee Service Australia check.

Expressions of interest are currently not being accepted

Honorary Justice Services Support is not accepting expressions of interest or applications for the volunteer roles of Bail Justices or Justices of the Peace at this time.

We are recruiting in stages across Victoria and a recruitment schedule will be available on our website shortly.

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To become a justice of the peace in a court of law you have to meet a few special requirements. In the government of any area, you will need to fill out an application and pay the fee that is required when submitting an application. This application form is just one of the many steps that need to be taken in order to work in the court of law as a justice of the peace. Justices are generally chosen by what they have in their application, which will typically include some interviews from references who can say something positive for the person and written statements as to why they believe that you would be the right person to act as a justice of the peace.

There are currently no minimums on education that a person needs to have in order to work as a justice of the peace. Having an educational background will help; criminal justice degrees are among the most common, followed by law degrees. If you don’t have a degree or don’t want to attend school for four years just to begin working for the government of you area, you can take a few courses in criminal law or criminal justice.

The work environment for a justice of the peace will vary for person to person. Some will work right in a court of law while others may travel. Those who are not working in the court of law may find themselves traveling to other locations in order to perform marriage ceremonies, swear-in witnesses, and to take statements from people who are participating in some legal proceedings. The amount of money one can expect to earn as a justice of the peace will likewise vary depending on the location that you hold in the government of law. In some states, justices of the peace are salaried employees of the state. In other states, the justices of the peace are to charge their own fees for any duties performed. In such states, the justice of the peace is not an employee but rather a businessperson.

There are many benefits to working as a justice of the peace. It is a profession that is considered honorable. Since people who work in the court of law with this profession can participate in all sorts of legal work, they are automatically considered responsible and trustworthy individuals. Professionals within this field can expect to have a long-lived career, as there is always a need for a justice of the peace.

After researching everything there is to know about the justice of the peace career, you may feel this is the right career for you. Get your application ready and prepare your application fee. Make sure that you are studying criminal law so that you have a better chance at being accepted into the court of law.

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Become a subscriber to LawCrossing’s Job Seeker articles.

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How to become a justice of the peace

  • By Staff Reporter
  • | July 24, 2010
  • By Staff Reporter
  • – July 24, 2010

THE following outlines a proposed nine-step process for the appointment of a new Category of Justices of the Peace & Commissioner of Oaths to Affidavits. Step one:- Persons wishing to apply to become Justices of the Peace must fill out a new application form, and deliver to the Administrative Unit, Ministry of the Attorney General. The following documents must also be attached:

Copy of Passport, Driver’s Permit or Identification Card.

Police Certificate of good character.

Medical Certificate of good health completed within the last six months.

A bank statement showing the average balance in the account for the three previous months.

Recommendations from two referees, as to character and competence.

Step two:- The newly formed administrative unit would compile the application form and all supporting documents and forward these documents to the cabinet appointed committee.

Step three:- The cabinet appointed committee would pursue the application and either deny the application or accept the application to the next stage. The decision would then pass to the administrative unit to communicate the acceptance (or rejection) decision to the applicant in writing.

Step four:- If the cabinet appointed committee short lists the applicant, the process would move to the next stage. The administrative unit would take actions as follows:

Make calls to the referees as well as to places of employment for details on the background of the applicant and to verify sources of income.
Collate this information and share it with the police commissioner requesting an investigation by the police special branch.

Make an appointment with applicant for an interview with a panel set up by the Cabinet-appointed Committee and the Association.

Step five:- The interview committee would meet and interview the applicant and give written feedback to the administrative unit.

Step six:- All information would be collated and sent for consideration to the cabinet-appointed committee.

Step seven:- The cabinet-appointed committee would make a decision to either continue the process for appointment or reject the applicant and communicate this to the administrative unit.

Step eight:- The administrative unit would write the applicant informing him or her of the decision. If the decision is favourable, the unit would prepare a letter on behalf of the committee recommending to the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of the Legal Affairs, the person to be appointed as justice of the peace. The Attorney General would then consider the recommendation and advice the President to issue an instrument of appointment to the magisterial district in which the person resides; or the Attorney General would make comments and return it to the cabinet-appointed committee for further investigation.

Step nine:- The administrative unit would inform the applicant of the decision. If the instrument of appointment is to be issued the unit would contact a senior JP residing in the applicant’s district and make arrangements to mentor the individual for a period of one year.

Major concerns have been expressed in the past with respect to the reliance of recommendations of the police in the appointment of justices since this was one of only two reports on which reliance is placed. As such the proposed appointment process is developed to reflect a more thorough understanding of the individual being considered for this important office. There continues to be the involvement of the Association and the police but there would be sufficient information from other sources for a more informed decision.

These systems would allow for transparency in the recruitment and appointment of Justice of the Peace and ensure that adequate research is done to allow for more informed decision making.

Proposed Criteria for Appointment of Justices of the Peace:

==> possess a minimum level of Certification which demonstrates good command of the English language, both oral and written.

==> Has no Criminal record.

==> Must not be bankrupt – have no overhead expense, be meaningfully employed having an established income.

==> Must be a ‘fit and proper’ person. The term “fit and proper” be used in lieu of the term “any persons”. The term “fit and proper” should include “integrity, honesty, ability and knowledge”.

==> Is in a good state of Health as certified by a medical practitioner.

==> Must demonstrate performance of community service, such as a recommendation from two prominent members of the community, for example:- A Member of Parliament, Mayor, an Attorney-at-Law, Medical Practitioner, a Minister of Religion registered under law to perform marriages, Managing Director, Director and Manger of Banks and Companies, Professional , Notary Public/Justices of the Peace/Commissioner Oaths to Affidavit, Senior Public Servants Police Officer , Prison Officer, Fire Sub-Officer and above rank, Member of Defence Force

To become a justice of the peace in a court of law you have to meet a few special requirements. In the government of any area, you will need to fill out an application and pay the fee that is required when submitting an application. This application form is just one of the many steps that need to be taken in order to work in the court of law as a justice of the peace. Justices are generally chosen by what they have in their application, which will typically include some interviews from references who can say something positive for the person and written statements as to why they believe that you would be the right person to act as a justice of the peace.

There are currently no minimums on education that a person needs to have in order to work as a justice of the peace. Having an educational background will help; criminal justice degrees are among the most common, followed by law degrees. If you don’t have a degree or don’t want to attend school for four years just to begin working for the government of you area, you can take a few courses in criminal law or criminal justice.

The work environment for a justice of the peace will vary for person to person. Some will work right in a court of law while others may travel. Those who are not working in the court of law may find themselves traveling to other locations in order to perform marriage ceremonies, swear-in witnesses, and to take statements from people who are participating in some legal proceedings. The amount of money one can expect to earn as a justice of the peace will likewise vary depending on the location that you hold in the government of law. In some states, justices of the peace are salaried employees of the state. In other states, the justices of the peace are to charge their own fees for any duties performed. In such states, the justice of the peace is not an employee but rather a businessperson.

There are many benefits to working as a justice of the peace. It is a profession that is considered honorable. Since people who work in the court of law with this profession can participate in all sorts of legal work, they are automatically considered responsible and trustworthy individuals. Professionals within this field can expect to have a long-lived career, as there is always a need for a justice of the peace.

After researching everything there is to know about the justice of the peace career, you may feel this is the right career for you. Get your application ready and prepare your application fee. Make sure that you are studying criminal law so that you have a better chance at being accepted into the court of law.

Want to continue reading ?

Become a subscriber to LawCrossing’s Job Seeker articles.

Once you become a subscriber you will have unlimited access to all of LawCrossing Job Seeker’s articles.