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A handbook for

Justices of the Peace


in New South Wales
2 A handbook for Justices of the Peace in New South Wales
State of New South Wales through the Department of Attorney General & Justice 2011.
You may copy, distribute, display, download and otherwise freely deal with this work for any
purpose, provided that you attribute the Department of Attorney General & Justice as the
owner. However, you must obtain permission if you wish to (a) charge others for access to
the work (other than at cost), (b) include the work in advertising or a product for sale, or (c)
modify the work.
This document has been prepared by the Department of Attorney General & Justice for
general information purposes. While every care has been taken in relation to its accuracy, no
warranty is given or implied. Further, recipients should obtain their own independent advice
before making any decisions that rely on this information.
This information is available on the website www.jp.nsw.gov.au and can be provided in
alternative formats such as Braille, audiotape, large print or computer disk.
For alternative formats, contact:
Community Relations Unit
Phone: (02) 8688 7586
TTY: (02) 8688 7733 (for people who are deaf or have a speech impairment)
Email: communityrelations@agd.nsw.gov.au
Published Sydney October 2009 Fourth Edition
Reprinted with amendments June 2011
ISBN 978-1-921301-80-3
"... I will do right to all manner of people, after the laws and
usages of the State of New South Wales, without fear or
favour, affection, or ill-will."
Extract from the Oaths of Ofce for appointment
as a Justice of the Peace in NSW
1
Contents
Section 1 Introduction ............................................................................................................................ 3
1.1 Your role as a Justice of the Peace .........................................................................................4
1.2 Your obligations as a Justice of the Peace ..........................................................................4

Section 2 Performing your duties as a Justice of the Peace .............................. 5
2.1 Witnessing the signing of a document ..................................................................................6
2.2 Witnessing a statutory declaration ..........................................................................................9
2.3 Witnessing an afdavit ................................................................................................................ 16
2.4 Witnessing an afdavit of a person who does not speak English ......................... 21
2.5 Checking or certifying identication requirements ........................................................ 25
2.6 Certifying copies of original documents ............................................................................. 26
2.7 Using the title of Justice of the Peace ................................................................................. 28
2.8 Using a stamp ................................................................................................................................. 28
2.9 Dealing with requests for Justice of the Peace services ............................................ 29
2.10 Checking a person's identity ................................................................................................... 29
Section 3 Important information about your appointment ................................ 31
3.1 Justices of the Peace register ................................................................................................. 32
3.2 Notifying changes in your name, address or contact details ................................... 32
3.3 Your term of appointment ..........................................................................................................33
3.4 Code of Conduct for Justices of the Peace ..................................................................... 34
3.5 Review of appointment and removal from ofce ........................................................... 34
Glossary .......................................................................................................................................................... 37

Appendix ......................................................................................................................................................... 38
Code of Conduct for Justices of the Peace in NSW ................................................................ 38
2 A handbook for Justices of the Peace in New South Wales
About this handbook
This handbook is a guide for Justices of the Peace (JPs) in New South Wales
(NSW). It constitutes the guidelines issued for the purpose of section 8 of the
Justices of the Peace Act 2002 (the Act).
The handbook is written to help you, in your role as a JP, to understand
the duties of a JP and to carry out those duties in a proper and responsible
manner.
The handbook also claries your other obligations, such as informing the
Department of Attorney General & Justice of any change in your contact
details and about matters that might affect your appointment.
Using this handbook
You must read this handbook before starting any duties as a JP. Failure
to follow correct procedures when undertaking JP duties may cause your
appointment to be reviewed.
The latest information and any updates to this handbook will be available at
www.jp.nsw.gov.au.
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This section provides an overview of your appointment,
obligations and role as a Justice of the Peace in
New South Wales.
Section 1
Introduction
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1 Introduction
Congratulations on your appointment as a Justice of the Peace (JP) in New South Wales
(NSW). You have been appointed as a JP by the Governor of NSW under the Justices of the
Peace Act 2002. You can access a copy of the Act by going to the website
www.legislation.nsw.gov.au.
Your appointment is for a term of ve years. You may apply for reappointment if there is a
continuing need for your appointment. An application for reappointment may be lodged from 12
months before the end of your term. The expiry date of your current term is listed on your letter
of appointment.
Other important information about your appointment is in Section 3 of this handbook.
Some JPs carry out their functions as part of the duties of their employment, while other JPs
serve members of the community on a voluntary basis. No matter which type of JP you are,
thank you for becoming a JP and for serving the people of NSW in the years ahead.
1.1 Your role as a Justice of the Peace
As a JP, you play an essential part in the legal system and in the community in NSW.
The two main functions of a JP are to witness the signing of documents such as afdavits and
statutory declarations, and to certify copies of documents. Some of these documents may be
required in court proceedings. Other documents may be needed for people to access benets or
to meet their legal responsibilities.
You must understand how to carry out each function of a JP correctly. To help you in your role as
a JP, read this handbook and keep it near you when you act as a JP.
The functions of a JP are detailed in Section 2 of this handbook.
1.2 Your obligations as a Justice of the Peace
Your appointment as a JP means that you are trusted to be honest and careful, every time you
carry out your functions as a JP.
As a JP, you have a duty of care in relation to the documents you witness or certify. This means
you have a legal obligation to follow correct procedure when acting as a JP, in order to avoid
your actions causing harm to another person. For example, a person who suffers a nancial loss
because a JP did not follow the correct procedure for witnessing the signing of a document may
have cause to take legal action against the JP.
Following the advice in this handbook will help you to meet your duty of care to others in the
community.
Your appointment as a JP is also subject to the Code of Conduct for Justices of the
Peace in NSW. The Code of Conduct explains the acceptable standards of conduct for
JPs. You must understand and comply with the Code of Conduct. Failure to comply may
mean that your appointment as a JP is reviewed.
A copy of the Code of Conduct for JPs in NSW is provided at the back of this
handbook.
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Section 2
Performing your duties as a
Justice of the Peace
This section describes the duties of a Justice of the Peace
and provides recommended step-by-step procedures for
carrying out each duty.
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2 Performing your duties as a Justice of the Peace
It is important that you use a standard procedure when witnessing or certifying documents
as a JP, and that you use the same procedure every time.
This is particularly important if you are asked later about a specic document which you witnessed
or certied. For example, you may be asked to give evidence in court about the signing of a
document. You may not be able to remember every document you have witnessed. However
if you use the same procedure every time, you can truthfully describe how you witness every
document, even if you cannot remember the specic document in question.
2.1 Witnessing the signing of a document
As a JP, you may be asked to act as a witness when a person signs a document. The person who
signs the document is called the signatory.
The purpose of your role as a witness is to provide independent verication that the signatory
signed the document himself or herself. This independent verication may be very important to
a court, a government agency or a business in deciding whether or not to accept the document
as genuine.
For this reason, it is essential that you only witness a document after you have actually seen the
person sign the document in front of you. You must never act as witness to a document which
has already been signed when it is brought to you.
The types of documents you may be asked to witness include:
Seniors Card applications
divorce applications
immigration forms
insurance documents
documents issued by interstate and international authorities.
The above is not an exhaustive list, and there may be other types of documents you may be
asked to witness.
Step-by-step procedure
Step 1: Check if a JP can witness the document
The document will usually list the categories of people who can witness it. You must check if a
JP is included. For example, a document for use overseas may require a Notary Public to witness
it instead of a JP. If a JP is not listed, you should explain to the person who has asked you to
witness it that you cannot do so.
A Notary Public is a public ofcer, usually a practising solicitor or attorney, who is appointed
by a state or territory Supreme Court. A Notary Public has statutory powers to witness
documents, administer oaths, and perform other administrative functions of a national and
international nature. Information about locating a Notary Public is available on the website
www.notarylocator.com.au/NSW.
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If the document is not a statutory declaration (like the ones on pages 13 to 15) or an afdavit (like
the one on pages 19 and 20), the top of the document will usually indicate the law under which
the document is required. If the document is a form required by a government or business agency,
it will have the agencys name and other details on the form. If no such details are stated, or there
is no indication that a JP is required to witness the document, you should ask the signatory to
explain why he or she believes it needs to be witnessed by a JP. Note that some documents only
require the witness to be an independent adult, rather than a JP. If you witness these types of
documents, you should not sign as a JP.
Step 2: Conrm the name and signatory match, and ask for proof of identity if
necessary
The person signing the document must be the same person named in the document. A person
cannot sign a document on behalf of another person.
You must ask for proof of identity:
if you are not satised about the identity of the person intending to be the signatory, or
if proof of identity is a requirement of the document you have been asked to witness.
You can accept any form of photo identication, unless the document requires a particular form
of identication. For example, the document may require you to sight the signatorys passport or
citizenship certicate.
If the signatory has no photo identication, and you are not satised about his or her identity, you
must decline to witness the document.
Step 3: Look for any special requirements
You must check if the document has any special requirements before you witness it. Examples of
special requirements may include that you:
know the signatory personally
check the signatorys identity
conrm the signatorys Australian residency status.
Step 4: Look for any alterations or omissions
While you do not need to read the content of the document in detail, you must check the document
for any irregularities.
Both you and the signatory must write your initials next to any alteration or omission on the
document. If you nd that a part of the document has been left blank, you should suggest the
signatory complete that part, if it is relevant. If it is not relevant, the part of the document left blank
must be crossed out. This can be done by drawing separate straight lines at the top and bottom
ends of the blank space and then drawing a line from the top right hand side to the bottom left
hand side to create a Z over the blank area of the page.
Step 5: Check if the person understands
Before witnessing a persons signature to a document, always ask if he or she has read the
document and fully understands the nature and purpose of the document. You can do this by
asking open-ended questions such as What kind of document is it? or Do you know what it
means? etc.
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Step 6: See the person sign the document in front of you
The signatory must sign the document in front of you. If there is more than one place on the
document that requires signing, you must witness each signature separately. You must never
witness:
a document which was already signed when it was brought to you, or
a blank or partially-completed document, for the signatory to complete or sign later.
Step 7: Sign and print your full name, JP registration number and other details
After you have seen the signatory sign the document, you must immediately sign and add your
full name and your JP registration number in the space provided.
Some documents may ask you also to provide additional information such as your address.
Frequently asked questions
Do I have to read the contents of each document I witness?
You are not required to read the contents of the document in detail. However you will need to look
through the document in order to carry out the procedure outlined above.
Is it necessary for me to keep a copy of documents I have witnessed?
No, you cannot keep a copy. It is not necessary or appropriate for you to do so.
What if I cannot comply with a requirement set out in the document?
If you cannot meet a particular requirement about witnessing the document, you must decline
to witness the document. For example, citizenship applications require you to have known the
signatory for a specied period of time. If you have not known the signatory for the specied
period of time, you must decline to witness the document.
Can I leave out some details required by a document, such as my address?
No, you must provide all the information required by the document. If the document requires
details which you do not have, you should decline to witness the document.
If the document requires your street address, and you hold reasonable fears about the privacy or
security of that information if it were recorded on the document being witnessed, you may decline
to witness the document. However this would be an exceptional circumstance and it is important
to note that the Code of Conduct for JPs requires that you do not unreasonably refuse to provide
JP services.
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2.2 Witnessing a statutory declaration
As a JP, you may be asked to witness another person making a statutory declaration.
A statutory declaration is a written statement declaring that the information provided is true
and correct. The person who makes the statutory declaration is called the declarant. There
are penalties for a declarant who makes a false declaration.
Many government departments, statutory authorities and businesses require information to be
provided by way of a statutory declaration. Some laws specically require that information be
provided by way of a statutory declaration.
Note that it is an offence for a person to take or receive a statutory declaration if he or she is
not authorised to do so. This applies to a JP who has not yet taken the oaths of ofce, whose
appointment has lapsed, who has resigned or who has been removed from ofce.
Step-by-step procedure
Step 1: Check you are satised as to the declarants identity
You must be satised that the person preparing to sign is the same person whose name appears
at the start of the statutory declaration. If you are not satised, you must ask to see an identity
document. You can accept any form of photo identication, unless a particular form of identication
is specied. You should not proceed to witness the statutory declaration if you are not satised
about the person's identity.
Step 2: Check the correct format
You must check that the statutory declaration is in the correct format. The standard wording and
format of a statutory declaration is important because it is set under legislation which provides
that a declarant is liable to a penalty if he or she makes a false declaration.
The standard wording of a NSW statutory declaration is prescribed by the Oaths Act 1900.
The standard wording of the Commonwealth statutory declaration is prescribed by the Statutory
Declarations Act 1959 (Cwth).
You should familiarise yourself with the examples of statutory declaration forms shown
on pages 13 to 15.
Although statutory declarations come in differing forms, they all include similar text at the start
of the statutory declaration and at the end. You must not witness a form that is not correctly set
out or if it is blank. You should note that the Commonwealth statutory declaration requires your
address. This can be a postal or business address but not an email address.
Step 3: Look for any annexures
An annexure is an attachment of additional pages. If an annexure is included it must be referred
to in the statutory declaration.
If there is more than one annexure, they must all be marked in alphabetical order, for example,
Annexure A, Annexure B and Annexure C. The alphabetical marking can be placed in a
conspicuous position on the annexure, for instance at the top of the page.
Changes to the law from 30 April 2012, mean that
NSW JPs must take additional steps to confirm the
identity of a person making a NSW statutory
declaration or affidavit. Please refer to Ruling 003 at
the end of this handbook.
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For an annexure which is only one page, the following statement must be included on the
annexure:
This is the annexure marked [insert A, or B or C etc as appropriate] referred to in the
statutory declaration of [insert name of declarant], declared before me this [insert date] day of
[insert month, year].
[insert your signature, full name and JP registration number]
For an annexure which is more than one page, the following statement must be included on the
rst page of the annexure:
This and the following [insert number of pages] pages is the annexure marked [insert A,
or B or C etc as appropriate] referred to in the statutory declaration of [insert name of
declarant], declared before me this [insert date] day of [insert month, year].
[insert your signature, full name and JP registration number]
The above statement should preferably be placed at the bottom of the rst page of the annexure
if the space allows it. The statement should not deface or obscure the contents of the annexure.
If the above statement has not been included on an annexure to a statutory declaration you have
been asked to witness, it must be placed on the annexure before you witness it. It is sufcient if
the statement is written by hand.
Step 4: Look for any alterations, erasures and blank spaces
You must never sign a blank statutory declaration. You must ensure that the declarant has lled in
the space for the declaration and his or her details.
If there are any alterations on the statutory declaration, both you and the declarant must write
your initials next to each alteration.
Any blank space at the end of the statutory declaration should be crossed out. This may be done
by drawing separate lines at the top and bottom ends of the blank space and then drawing a line
from the top right hand side to the bottom left hand side to create a Z over the blank area of the
page.
Step 5: Warn the declarant
You must warn the declarant that there are penalties for making a false declaration. Under both NSW
and Commonwealth laws, the penalties for making a false declaration include imprisonment.
Step 6: Check the declarant understands
You must ask the declarant if he or she understands the contents of the statutory declaration. If
he or she does not understand, or is not familiar with the contents of the statutory declaration,
you must decline to witness it.
If the declarant has a visual impairment or cannot read, you must read the entire document aloud
to the declarant.
You can explain to the declarant that the contents of the document will remain condential but you
have to read it aloud to be sure that he or she understands and agrees with it.
Step 7: Ask the declarant to declare the contents are true and correct
You must ask the declarant the following question:
Do you declare the contents of this declaration to be true and correct, to the best of your
knowledge and belief?
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Step 8: Watch the declarant sign the statutory declaration in front of you
If the declarant has agreed that the contents are true and correct, ask the declarant to sign the
statutory declaration. He or she must sign it in your presence.
If the declarant is unable to sign because he or she has a visual impairment or is illiterate, ask the
person to make a mark on the document. After the person has made the mark:
insert the following information around the mark
His/Her
[insert the declarants rst name] X [insert the declarants last name]
mark
include the following certication at the end of the document
I have read the contents of the document to [insert name of the declarant] and he/she
appeared to me to understand the contents of the statutory declaration, and he/she placed
his/her signature / mark on the document in my presence.
If the declarant is unable to sign or make a mark on the statutory declaration due to a motor or
physical disability, write the following certication at the end of the document:
I certify that [insert full name of declarant] agrees with the contents of this document but is
physically unable to sign or make a mark.
Step 9: Sign and print your full name, JP registration number and other details
After you have seen the declarant sign or make a mark on the statutory declaration, you must
immediately sign, print your full name, your qualication (JP), and your JP registration number in
the space provided.
You must also include any additional information requested on the form, such as an address.
A Commonwealth statutory declaration requires your address. This can be a postal address or
business address, but not an email address.
Frequently asked questions
Who can witness a NSW statutory declaration?
A NSW statutory declaration in the forms shown on pages 13 and 14 of this handbook can be
witnessed by:
a Justice of the Peace
an Australian legal practitioner
a Notary Public
a commissioner of the court for taking afdavits
any other person authorised by law to administer an oath.
Who can witness a Commonwealth statutory declaration?
The list of people who can witness a Commonwealth statutory declaration is provided with the
Commonwealth statutory declaration form. A NSW JP is included on that list.
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Should I witness a persons statement or claim that is not in the form of a statutory
declaration?
Your role is limited to legal and other ofcial documents that require a JP to act as a witness. You
should not witness documents as a JP which are not correctly set out, or agree to sign personal
statements or claims made by a person, simply because the person asks you to do so.
Can I witness any documents while I am outside of NSW?
No, you must be physically present in NSW to exercise your functions as a JP for NSW. You are
not authorised to act as a JP for NSW while you are in another state, territory or country.
The Oaths Act 1900 provides that an oath declaration or afdavit made outside of NSW may
be taken before any person who has authority to administer an oath or afdavit in that place or
country.
Can I leave out some required details, such as my address?
No, you must provide all the information required by the document. If the document requires
details which you do not have, you should decline to witness the document.
If the document requires a street address, and you hold reasonable fears about the privacy or
security of that information if it were recorded on the document being witnessed, you may decline
to witness the document. However this would be an exceptional circumstance and it is important
to note that the Code of Conduct for JPs requires that you do not unreasonably refuse to provide
JP services.
Can I witness interstate and overseas documents as a NSW JP?
As your appointment as a JP is made under NSW legislation, your role and authority is generally
applicable to NSW and Commonwealth documents. However you may witness a document for
use interstate or overseas if the particular document specically allows it. This means that you
must rst check to see if a NSW JP is permitted to act as a witness for that particular document,
before proceeding to act as witness. When signing a document for use interstate or overseas, you
may sign: Justice of the Peace in and for the State of New South Wales, Australia.
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This is example 1 of the format of a NSW statutory declaration form
Statutory Declaration
OATHS ACT 1900, NSW, EIGHTH SCHEDULE
____________________
I, ..........................................................................................................................
do solemnly and sincerely declare that, ................................................................
.............................................................................................................................
.............................................................................................................................
.............................................................................................................................
.............................................................................................................................
.............................................................................................................................
.............................................................................................................................
.............................................................................................................................
.............................................................................................................................
.............................................................................................................................
.............................................................................................................................
.............................................................................................................................
.............................................................................................................................
and I make this solemn declaration conscientiously believing the same to be true,
and by virtue of the provisions of the Oaths Act 1900.
Declared at: .................................................. on ................................................

[place] [date]
in the presence of:
........................................................... ..........................................................
[Signature of witness] [Signature of declarant]
...........................................................
[Name of witness]
...........................................................
[Qualication of witness] Justice of the Peace, Australian legal practitioner, other
(specify)
JPs must include
their full name and
registration number in
this section
The declarant must
enter his or her name
and address here
The declarant must
enter his or her
statements here
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This is example 2 of the format of a NSW statutory declaration form
Statutory Declaration
OATHS ACT 1900, NSW, NINTH SCHEDULE
____________________
I, ..........................................................................................................................
do hereby solemnly declare and afrm that, .........................................................
.............................................................................................................................
.............................................................................................................................
.............................................................................................................................
.............................................................................................................................
.............................................................................................................................
.............................................................................................................................
.............................................................................................................................
.............................................................................................................................
.............................................................................................................................
.............................................................................................................................
.............................................................................................................................
And I make this solemn declaration, as to the matter (or matters) aforesaid,
according to the law in this behalf madeand subject to the punishment by law
provided for any wilfully false statement in any such declaration.
Declared at: .................................................. on ................................................

[place] [date]
in the presence of:
........................................................... ..........................................................
[Signature of witness] [Signature of declarant]
...........................................................
[Name of witness]
...........................................................
[Qualication of witness] Justice of the Peace, Australian legal practitioner, other
(specify)
JPs must include
their full name and
registration number in
this section
The declarant must
enter his or her name
and address here
The declarant must
enter his or her
statements here
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This is an example of the format of a Commonwealth statutory declaration
Commonwealth of Australia
STATUTORY DECLARATION
Statutory Declarations Act 1959
1 Insert the name,
address and occupation
of person making the
declaration
I,
1
make the following declaration under the Statutory Declarations
Act 1959:
2 Set out matter declared
to in numbered
paragraphs
2
I understand that a person who intentionally makes a false
statement in a statutory declaration is guilty of an offence under
section 11 of the Statutory Declarations Act 1959, and I believe that
the statements in this declaration are true in every particular.
3 Signature of person
making the declaration
3
4 Place
5 Day
6 Month and year
Declared at
4
on
5
of
6

Before me,
7 Signature of person
before whom the
declaration is made (see
over)
7
8 Full name, qualication
and address of person
before whom the
declaration is made (in
printed letters)
8
Note 1 A person who intentionally makes a false statement in a statutory declaration
is guilty of an offence, the punishment for which is imprisonment for a term of
4 years see section 11 of the Statutory Declarations Act 1959.
Note 2 Chapter 2 of the Criminal Code applies to all offences against the Statutory
Declarations Act 1959 see section 5A of the Statutory Declarations Act 1959.
JPs must include
their full name and
registration number in
this section
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2.3 Witnessing an afdavit
An afdavit is a written statement for use as evidence in court proceedings. The person who
makes an afdavit is called the deponent. When witnessing an afdavit, a JP must hear the
deponent take an oath or afrmation.
An oath is a form of words spoken by a person to promise that he or she is telling the truth.
An oath refers to the God recognised by the religion of the person swearing the oath.
An afrmation has the same legal effect as an oath, but does not refer to God. Any person may
choose to take an afrmation instead of an oath.
After the deponent takes the oath or afrmation, the deponent and the JP complete the section
at the end of the afdavit. This section is called the jurat.
Step-by-step procedure
Step 1: Check you are satised as to the deponents identity
You must be satised that the person preparing to sign is the same person whose name appears at
the start of the afdavit. If you are not satised, you must ask to see an identity document. You can
accept any form of photo identication, unless a particular form of identication is specied. You
should not proceed to witness the afdavit if you are not satised about the person's identity.
Step 2: Ask the deponent to choose either an oath or afrmation
When a person contacts you about witnessing an afdavit, it is a good idea to ask if he or she
chooses to take an oath or an afrmation. If the deponent wants to take an oath, the deponent
may wish to bring the holy book appropriate to his/her religion and beliefs. However it is not
necessary for a holy book or religious text to be used in taking an oath.
Step 3: Check the correct format of the afdavit
You must check that the afdavit is in the correct format. You should become familiar with the
example on pages 19 to 20 of this handbook.
An afdavit usually has the court details at the top and the ling details at the bottom of the rst
page. The deponents statement also starts on the rst page and may continue on second and
subsequent pages.
Step 4: Look for any alterations, erasures and blank spaces
While you do not need to read the content of the afdavit in detail, you must check it for
completeness and for any alterations or erasures. You must never sign an afdavit that does not
contain the deponent's statements, in other words, that is blank.
If there are alterations or erasures on the afdavit, both you and the deponent must place your
initials next to the alterations or erasures.
If there is any blank space left at the end of the deponent's statements, you must place a line
through the blank space, to ensure that additional words cannot be inserted after you have
witnessed the afdavit. This can be done by drawing separate straight lines at the top and bottom
ends of the blank space and then drawing a line from the top right hand side to the bottom left
hand side to create a Z over the blank area of the page.
Changes to the law from 30 April 2012, mean that
NSW JPs must take additional steps to confirm the
identity of a person making a NSW statutory
declaration or affidavit. Please refer to Ruling 003 at
the end of this handbook.
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Step 5: Look for any annexures
An annexure is an attachment of additional pages. If an annexure is included it must be referred to
in the afdavit. If there is more than one annexure, they must all be marked in alphabetical order,
for example, Annexure A, Annexure B and Annexure C. The alphabetical marking can be
placed in a conspicuous position on the annexure, for instance at the top of the page.
For an annexure which is only one page, the following statement must be included on the
annexure:
This is the annexure marked [insert A, or B or C etc as appropriate] referred to in the afdavit
of [insert name of deponent], declared before me this [insert date] day of [insert month, year].
[insert your signature, full name and JP registration number]
For an annexure which is more than one page, the following statement must be included on the
rst page of the annexure:
This and the following [insert number of pages] pages is the annexure marked
[insert A, or B or C etc as appropriate] referred to in the afdavit of [insert name
of deponent], declared before me this [insert date] day of [insert month, year].
[insert your signature, full name and JP registration number]
The above statement should preferably be placed at the bottom of the rst page of the annexure
if the space allows it. The statement should not deface or obscure the contents of the annexure.
Step 6: Check if the deponent understands
Ask the deponent if he or she understands the contents of the afdavit. You must be satised that
the deponent understands the nature and purpose of the document before the deponent takes
the oath or afrmation.
Step 7: Warn the deponent
You must warn the deponent that it is an offence to swear or afrm a false afdavit.
Step 8: Ask the deponent to swear the oath or make an afrmation
The deponent may take the oath by holding a holy book or other religious text in his or her hand.
In this case he or she may hold the holy book or religious text in either hand while swearing the
oath. If the deponent chooses to take an oath, whether by using a holy book/religious text, or
without it, you must ask:
Do you swear that the contents of this your afdavit are true and correct to the best of your
knowledge and belief?
The deponent should then swear to the truth of the contents of the document by saying:
I swear that the afdavit is true, so help me [God, or the name of the god recognised by the
deponents religion]
If the deponent chooses to make an afrmation, you must ask:
Do you solemnly and sincerely declare and afrm that the contents of this your afdavit are
true and correct to the best of your knowledge and belief?
The deponent should then swear to the truth of the contents of the document by saying:
I do.
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Step 9: Watch the deponent sign the afdavit in front of you
After the deponent has sworn an oath or made an afrmation, ask him or her to sign in the space
provided for the deponent in the jurat. The deponent must sign the afdavit in your presence.
Step 10: Sign each page of the afdavit with the deponent
After you have witnessed the deponent sign the jurat of the afdavit, both you and the deponent
should sign each preceding page of the afdavit. If there are annexures to the afdavit, you must
complete and sign the statements contained on the rst page of each annexure to the afdavit. It
is not necessary for you to sign and date every page of each annexure, unless a particular afdavit
requires you to.
Step 11: Sign and print your full name, JP registration number and other details
After you have seen the deponent sign the afdavit, you must complete the jurat by signing and
adding your full name, qualication (JP), and JP registration number in the space provided. You
and the deponent must also sign at the foot of each preceding page of the afdavit.
Some afdavits may ask you also to provide additional information such as your address.
Frequently asked questions
Who can witness an afdavit?
If the afdavit is made in NSW, it can be witnessed by a NSW JP, or an Australian legal practitioner.
If the afdavit is made outside NSW, then it may be witnessed by:
a Notary Public or Public Notary
any person who has authority to administer an oath or afdavit in that place or country
a British Consular Ofcer or an Australian Consular Ofcer exercising his or her functions in
that place or country.
Where should we sign if the afdavit is more than one page long?
The deponent, and the JP as witness, must sign each page of the afdavit. The signatures may
be placed at the bottom of each page. If there is insufcient space at the bottom, then it may be
placed on the top of the page or at another appropriate place on the page.
Where is the jurat located on a multiple page afdavit with annexures?
If the afdavit is more than one page, the jurat will be on the last page of the afdavit, but before
any annexures. You must place your signature, your full name, your qualication (JP), and your JP
registration number in the space provided in the jurat.
How should I witness an afdavit by multiple deponents?
Where an afdavit is made by two or more deponents, the names of the persons making the
afdavit should be inserted in the jurat. You must only witness the afdavit of the person or people
present before you at the time of signing. However, if the afdavit is sworn by both or all the
deponents at the same time before you, it is sufcient for you to state the following on the afdavit:
the afdavit has been sworn by each of the abovenamed deponents.
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This is an example of the format of an afdavit
Page 1 of 2
COURT DETAILS

AFFIDAVIT

On ............................... (insert date and year), I,.........................................................
(insert name, address and occupation)
of...............................................................................................................................
..............................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................................
say on oath/declare and afrm (delete whichever is inapplicable) -
1. .................................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................................
Filing Details
Name: DX:
Address for service: Telephone:

Facsimile: Ref:
______________________________________________________________________
Filing and court details
of the deponent used
to send/deliver letters
and documents. Note
this should not be a
post ofce (PO) box.
Facts or statements
made by deponent
Details of deponent
(person making
afdavit)
This section lists the
name of the court,
case number, title
of proceedings and
the name of the
applicants
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Page 2 of 2
..............................................................................................................................
2. .................................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................................
3. .................................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................................
4. .................................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................................
SWORN/AFFIRMED (delete whichever is inapplicable) at (insert name of place):
..
..
Before me: (witness signs here) (deponent signs here)
(Justice of the Peace)
JPs must include
their full name and
registration number in
this section
Deponents
statement continued
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2.4 Witnessing an afdavit of a person who does not speak
English
If a deponent does not understand or speak English adequately, he or she may take the oath or
afrmation in relation to an afdavit through an interpreter. When an interpreter is used, both the
interpreter and the non-English speaking deponent must each swear a separate afdavit, which
must contain certain statements which are additional to those ordinarily found in afdavits. The
following process is therefore required.
Step-by-step procedure
Step 1: Check the identity of the deponent and the interpreter
You must be satised as to the identity of both the deponent and the interpreter. If you are not
satised, you must ask to see identity documents. You can accept any form of photo identication,
unless a particular form of identication is specied.
Step 2: Check the interpreter is independent and preferably accredited
The interpreter should be independent. It is not advisable for a deponent to rely on an interpreter
who is not independent, such as a friend or relative. It is also recommended that the interpreter is
accredited, such as through the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters
(NAATI).
Step 3: Ask the interpreter to take the interpreters oath
Interpreters must take an oath in which they undertake to interpret for the deponent to the best of
their ability and in accordance with the law. The interpreters oath may take the following effect:
I swear that I well and truly understand the English language and [name of other] language,
and I will truly interpret the contents of the afdavit to the deponent [name of deponent] and
also the oath/afrmation about to be administered to him/her and all other matters and things
required of me in connection with this afdavit, according to the best of my skill and ability.
Step 4: Follow the usual steps for witnessing an afdavit
You must follow the usual steps for witnessing an afdavit, as set out in steps two to ve of the
procedure on pages 16 and 17, including:
asking the deponent to choose either an oath or afrmation
checking both afdavits are in the correct format
looking for any alterations, erasures and blank spaces
looking for any annexures.
Step 5: Check for the additional wording required in both afdavits
The afdavit of the non-English speaking deponent should contain additional text in the jurat,
conrming that the contents of the afdavit have been interpreted. The following words, or words
to the effect, may be used:
Sworn/afrmed through the interpretation of [name, address and occupation of interpreter],
he/she having rst sworn/afrmed that he/she had truly interpreted the contents of this afdavit
and the oath/afrmation to [name of deponent].
The afdavit of the interpreter also requires additional wording. An example of the wording of the
interpreters afdavit is shown on page 23.
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Step 6: Read the afdavit to the deponent
You must read the afdavit aloud to the deponent, allowing the interpreter to repeat your words
in the deponents language. It is important that you make sure the deponent understands and
agrees with the contents of the deponents afdavit. Through the interpreter, you should answer
any questions the deponent may have about the content of the afdavit.
Step 7: Warn the deponent
You must warn the deponent that it is an offence to swear or afrm a false afdavit, and allow the
interpreter to repeat your words in the deponent's language.
Step 8: Administer the oath or afrmation to the deponent
If it is clear the deponent understands and agrees with the content of the afdavit, you must
administer the oath or afrmation to the deponent by using the wording specied in the procedure
for witnessing an afdavit on page 17. The deponent must repeat the oath or afrmation in his or
her own language, and the interpreter must interpret the deponent's response for you.
Step 9: Ask the interpreter to sign his/her afdavit rst
The interpreter must rst sign his/her separate afdavit, conrming that he/she has interpreted the
contents of the deponents afdavit and oath/afrmation.
Step 10: Ask the deponent to sign his/her afdavit next
After the interpreter has signed his/her afdavit, the non-English speaking deponent may sign his/
her own afdavit.
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This is an example of the format of an afdavit of a person who has interpreted
the contents of an afdavit sworn by a non-English speaking deponent
Page 1 of 2
COURT DETAILS

AFFIDAVIT

On .(insert date and year), I, ..................................................
(insert name, address and occupation)
of ..........................................................................................................................
say on oath/afrm -
1. I understand the English language and the [ ] language well.
Filing Details
Name: DX:
Address for service: Telephone:
Facsimile: Ref:
______________________________________________________________________
This section lists the
name of the court,
case number, title
of proceedings and
the name of the
applicants
Details of the
interpreter who
is making this
interpreter's afdavit
Filing and court details
of the deponent used
to send/deliver letters
and documents. Note
this should not be a
post ofce (PO) box.
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Page 2 of 2
2. I truly interpreted the contents of the afdavit annexed and marked A to
the deponent (name) and the form of oath/
afrmation administered to him/her before he/she swore/afrmed the afdavit,
according to the best of my skill and ability.
3. The deponent (name) appeared to me to understand
the contents of the afdavit and the oath/afrmation.
Sworn/afrmed at ..............................................

before me:.............................................. .............................................
(Justice of the Peace) (Interpreters signature)


JPs must include
their full name and
registration number in
this section
Standard wording
used on an
interpreters afdavit
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2.5 Checking or certifying identication requirements
In your role as JP, you may be asked to check or certify identication documents for people who
are making applications under specic Commonwealth and NSW laws. These may include an
application for benet payments from a superannuation fund or for the purposes of the statutory
declaration on a Seniors Card application.
The requirements may differ from application to application. You must check the instructions in
each application, to ensure that you comply with the specic requirements.
Step-by-step procedure
Step 1: Check the purpose of the application
It is helpful to understand the purpose of the application and its requirement for checking or
certication of identication by a JP.
Step 2: Check if a JP can check or certify the identication
Look at the information on the application to see if a JP can check or certify the person's
identication. In addition, you must ensure that you are able to comply with other requirements
stated on the application before deciding to check or certify it.
Step 3: Look for the identication requirements of the application
You must check the application and any accompanying information to establish which identication
documents you are required to check. For example, the application may ask you to conrm a
persons:
identity
age
Australian residency
NSW address.
Depending on the requirements, you should ask to see the persons passport, driver licence or
birth card.
You must always sight the original identity documents.
Step 4: Check if there are any specic requirements
Examples of special requirements may include that you:
use specic words when certifying, such as This is a true and correct copy of the original
include your name, address and other details in the certication
have known the person for 12 months or more.
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2.6 Certifying copies of original documents
As a JP, you may be asked to certify a copy of an original document. This requires you to
check that the copy is identical to the original, as made by a photocopying machine. If you are
satised, you sign a statement on the copy, certifying that it is a true copy of the original.
A government department, business or other organisation may often accept a certied copy
instead of the original document. This allows the person to keep his or her original of an important
document, such as a passport, birth certicate or educational qualication.
Step-by-step procedure
Step 1: Check you have a true copy of the original
You must have in front of you both the original document, and the copy which you are being
asked to certify.
You must also be satised that the copy you certify is a true copy of the original document. You
can do this by watching the original being copied by a photocopier machine. Alternatively you can
carefully check the copy against the original. If you cannot be satised that it is a true copy, you
must decline to certify it.
Step 2: Add your certication and sign
If you are satised that the copy is a true copy of the original document, you may add your
certication to the copy. An appropriate wording for certifying a single page document is:
I certify this to be a true copy of the document shown and reported to me as the original
[insert your handwritten signature and the date]
[insert your full name]
JP for NSW
[insert your JP registration number]
You may use a stamp to place the above words on the copy, but your signature must be
handwritten.
For a document that is more than one page, you may add your certication to the rst page only,
and then simply sign or initial each subsequent page. In this case, the certication should read:
I certify this and the following [insert number of pages] pages (each of which I have signed /
initialled) to be a true copy of the document shown and reported to me as the original
[insert your handwritten signature and the date]
[insert your full name]
JP for NSW
[insert your JP registration number]
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Frequently asked questions
How do I know if a document is an original?
An original document is usually clearly different from a photocopy or other reproduction. An
original may often contain an ofcial logo, seal, stamp or watermark, or may include a handwritten
signature.
However if you are concerned that the document presented to you as an original may have been
forged or fraudulently amended, you should decline to certify the copy.
What if I cannot be certain that the copy is a true copy?
You must never certify a copy if you are not satised that it is an exact and true copy of the
original. For example, if you do not have the original in front of you, or if the original or the copy is
not clear, you must decline to certify the copy.
Can I certify an electronic document?
No, because an electronic document cannot be considered an original document. This includes
a scanned image, a word processing le or any electronic le format, including les in Portable
Document Format (PDF). If a person asks you to certify a copy of a document sent to you by
email, fax or other electronic means, you must decline to certify the copy.
Can I certify a document if it is in a language I dont understand?
If you cannot read the language, it may not be possible for you to check that a document is a true
copy of the original document. However you may observe a copy of the original being made by a
photocopier machine, in order to satisfy yourself that the copy is a true copy.
Can I use a printed label or sticker (instead of a stamp) for the purpose of certifying
documents?
No, you must either write the certication words in handwriting or use a stamp. Your signature
must be handwritten. If you use the appropriate words to certify a multiple-page document (as
shown in the procedure on the previous page), you can write the certication words on the rst
page only, provided you sign or initial the other pages.
What if I get a request to certify multiple copies of documents?
When a person contacts you for the purpose of certifying copies of documents, it is a good idea
to ask how many pages you will be required to certify. If there are many, you may wish to make
more than one appointment to certify the documents in batches. Alternatively, you can ask the
person to make copies of the multiple documents in your presence.
This information has been updated. Please refer to
Ruling 002 at the end of this handbook.
This information has been updated. Please refer to
Ruling 001 at the end of this handbook.
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2.7 Using the title of Justice of the Peace
You can only use the title of Justice of the Peace, the post-nominal initials JP, or your
JP registration number in relation to your functions as a JP.
It is not appropriate to use them in situations which do not relate to your functions as a JP. This is
because the Code of Conduct prohibits use of the JP title to advance, or to appear to advance, a
JPs business, commercial or personal interests. Examples of prohibited use would include:
promoting your own business by using the availability of your JP services to attract new
clients
writing a character reference in support of a relative, friend or business associate and signing
the reference using the post-nominal initials JP after your name
writing a letter or statement about a matter which concerns your own interests, and signing
using the title of JP and your JP registration number.
Such use of the JP title is inappropriate because the JP is not acting impartially and is not acting
in his or her capacity as JP.
However the Code of Conduct does provide a limited exception to this rule. The exception allows
you to include the post-nominal initials JP after your name on a business card or letterhead. This
will assist members of the public to identify you as a JP.
When using the post-nominal initials of JP, they should be placed after any National and
Royal honours and academic qualications.

2.8 Using a stamp
You may use a stamp to insert your full name, title of JP, and JP registration number. An appropriate
form of a stamp is as follows:
[Full name of the Justice of the Peace]
A Justice of the Peace in and for the State of New South Wales
[JP registration number]
However your signature on documents must always be handwritten in ink. You must never use
a stamp to insert your signature. Similarly you must never insert your signature by afxing a label
with your signature on it.
A JP is not authorised to use the State Arms, a State symbol, the Commonwealth Coat
of Arms or any other unauthorised insignia on his or her stamp.
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2.9 Dealing with requests for Justice of the Peace services
The Code of Conduct for JPs requires you to deal with requests for JP services in a timely manner.
However if a person requests your services at very short notice, and you are unable to assist in
that timeframe, you may suggest an alternative time which is convenient to you.
You are not expected to provide your address details to callers, or to invite people into your home
for the purpose of providing the service. You can provide the service at a mutually agreed time
and place.
If the document you are witnessing requires your street address, and you hold reasonable fears
about the privacy or security of that information if it were recorded on the document being
witnessed, you may decline to witness the document. However this would be an exceptional
circumstance and it is important to note that the Code of Conduct for JPs requires that you do
not unreasonably refuse to provide JP services.
2.10 Checking a persons identity
When acting as a JP, it is important that you are satised about the identity of the person asking
you to witness his or her signature. If you already know the person, or have sighted his or her
proof of identity on a previous occasion, you do not need to ask for identication in order to be
satised about the persons identity.
However if for any reason you are not satised about the identity of the person, or if sighting proof
of identity is a requirement of the document you have been asked to witness, you must ask for
identication.
You can accept any form of photo identication, unless the document requires a particular form
of identication. For example, the document may require you to sight the persons passport or
citizenship certicate.
If the person has no such identication, or if after checking the identication provided you are still
not satised about the persons identity, you must decline to witness the document.
Frequently asked questions
Can a person re-sign a document?
If someone approaches you to witness a document that is already signed, you may ask the
person to cross out the signature and sign it afresh in your presence. However, this must be done
after completing the usual steps for witnessing a document.
Can I help a person to complete a document?
If you wish to help someone complete a document, ask the person to have that document
witnessed by another JP. This is because you must remain an independent and unbiased witness
at all times. You must not ll in the details on a document on a signatorys behalf and then act as
a witness to that document.
Can I witness a document which refers to annexures but the annexures are not with the
document?
If a document refers to an annexure but it is not with the document you are asked to witness, you
must not witness the document.
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What if there are multiple signatories to a document?
If there is more than one person who is required to sign a document, you must only witness the
signature of the person or people who are present with you at the time of signing. In this case it is
appropriate to state on the document that you are witnessing only the signature of the person or
people present. For example, The signature of Peter Williams only witnessed.
Can different signatories sign before different authorised witnesses and on different
dates?
It is acceptable for different signatories to the document to sign it separately and before different
authorised witnesses. The date you record as a witness must be the same date as the date of the
persons signature you are witnessing.
What is a conict of interest and what should I do if I have one?
This refers to a situation where there is a conict between your public duty as a JP and your
personal, family, business or nancial interests. The perception by other people that you have a
conict of interest can be just as problematic as an actual conict of interest.
If you become aware that you have a conict of interest in a matter before you as a JP, the Code
of Conduct requires you to disclose your interest to the person seeking JP services or to decline
to provide JP services in that instance.
However it is strongly recommended that you do not act as a JP in any matter where there may
be an actual or a perceived conict of interest. This is because such a conict of interest may
call into question your capacity to act as a JP without bias and free from inuence by others or
your own interests. The Code of Conduct requires you to remain independent and impartial when
providing JP services.
Can I witness a document for family members or myself?
You cannot witness a document for yourself. It is not advisable for you to witness documents
for your immediate family members as the documents may be rejected on the basis of an actual
or perceived conict of interest, and because JPs must remain independent and impartial when
providing JP services.
31 Section 3 Important information
Section 3
Important information about
your appointment
This section provides important information about your
appointment as a Justice of the Peace, including the
public register and reappointment information.
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3 Important information about your appointment
It is important that you are aware of how the JP public register works, how to be reappointed
and how to notify the Department of Attorney General & Justice if your details change. Read this
section carefully.
3.1 Justices of the Peace register
The Justices of the Peace register (JP register) is an online public listing of all current JPs in NSW.
It is available at the website www.jp.nsw.gov.au.
The JP register allows members of the public to look for a JP in their local area by entering their
postcode. The register can also be used to check if a person is currently appointed as a JP, by
entering the JPs name or registration number.
The Justices of the Peace Regulation 2009 provides that a JPs contact details may be removed
from the JP register if the JP noties the Director General of the Department of Attorney General
& Justice that his or her safety or wellbeing would be affected if the information is included or not
removed and the Director General is satised that the exclusion or removal is necessary for that
reason.
Finding a JP
After entering a postcode, a user of the JP register is provided with a list of the names of JPs
located within that postcode, as well as each JPs nominated contact telephone number and
suburb. The user can then telephone a JP and ask to arrange a suitable time and place to meet.
The JPs address and other private contact details are not available on the public register.
The register includes an Acceptable Usage Policy which explains to users that JPs are volunteers
and may not be available at short notice or at all times of the day. It also prohibits information
on the register from being used for purposes other than locating JP services and conrming a
persons appointment as a JP.
Conrming an appointment
The JP register can be searched by surname or JP registration number to conrm a persons
current appointment as a JP.
If a name does not appear on the register, the persons appointment may have lapsed or been
cancelled, or the person may have resigned from ofce. A user may contact the Department of
Attorney General & Justice to clarify the status of the persons appointment.
It is important that a person does not carry out JP functions if he or she no longer has a current
appointment as a JP.
3.2 Notifying changes in your name, address or contact details
Changing your address or other contact details
If you change your email, postal or residential address, or your home, work or mobile telephone
numbers, you must advise the Department of Attorney General & Justice as soon as possible.
This is a requirement of the Code of Conduct for JPs. It helps to ensure the Department can
contact you if necessary and that you receive a reminder notice before the end of your term of
appointment as a JP.
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If your contact details are listed on the public JP register, you have an additional obligation to keep
those details up-to-date.
You can notify the Department of a change to your address or contact details by completing
the form at the website www.jp.nsw.gov.au. Alternatively you can write to the Department at the
contact details at the back of this handbook.
Changing your name
You are only permitted to provide JP services in the name under which you were appointed as
a JP. Under the Code of Conduct for JPs, you must notify the Department of Attorney General
& Justice if your name has changed. You must not perform JP services in your new name until
you have received written conrmation from the Department of your change of name notication.
A change of name form is available at the website www.jp.nsw.gov.au. Alternatively, you can write
to the Department at the postal address provided at the back of this handbook.
When advising of a change of name, you must include a certied copy of the change of
name document such as a marriage certicate. You must also include another document
which proves that you use the new name, such as a certied copy of your driver licence,
Medicare card or Seniors Card.
Moving interstate or overseas
If you move interstate or overseas permanently, you should resign your appointment as a JP in
NSW. This is because you are not authorised to act as a JP for NSW while you are in another
state, territory or country. You would also cease to satisfy the criteria for appointment as a JP,
relating to an employment or community based need for the appointment. Your appointment is
not transferable to another state, territory or country.
3.3 Your term of appointment
Five-year terms
Lifetime appointment of JPs was abolished in December 2003 with the implementation of the
Justices of the Peace Act 2002. All JP appointments are now for ve-year terms. The start and
end dates of your term are shown in your letter of appointment.
The introduction of ve-year terms assists the Department of Attorney General & Justice to
maintain an accurate public register of JPs and an up-to-date database of condential JP contact
details. Five-year terms also ensure that only JPs who remain eligible and willing to hold the ofce
continue to do so.
JP registration numbers
Each JP in NSW is issued with a six-digit registration number. You must always record your
current JP registration number on documents when providing JP services.
Seven-digit and nine-digit registration numbers which were issued to JPs in the past are no longer
valid and must not be used.
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Applying for reappointment
If you have a continuing need for your appointment as a JP, you must apply for
reappointment before the end of your ve-year term.
You can apply for reappointment from 12 months before the end of your term of appointment. The
Department of Attorney General & Justice will send you a reminder notice about three months
before the end of your term. It is therefore very important that you advise the Department of any
changes to your email address, postal address or telephone numbers.
Your application for reappointment must be received by the Department of Attorney General &
Justice before the end of your term. If it is not received before the expiry date of your term, your
appointment will automatically lapse. This means that you will no longer have authority to carry
out JP functions or use the title of JP. If your appointment lapses, and you wish to continue as a
JP, you will have to submit an application for a new appointment through a NSW State Member
of Parliament. You must not carry out any JP functions until such a new appointment has been
nalised.
Applications for reappointment received before the expiry of a JPs term do not require nomination
by a NSW State Member of Parliament. Application forms and further information about the
reappointment process can be found at the website www.jp.nsw.gov.au.
3.4 Code of Conduct for Justices of the Peace
Your appointment as a JP is subject to the Code of Conduct for Justices of the Peace in NSW.
The Code of Conduct was introduced in August 2008 following a statutory review of the Justices
of the Peace Act 2002. A copy of the Code of Conduct is in the appendix of this handbook.
Additional copies can be downloaded from the website www.jp.nsw.gov.au.
The Code of Conduct establishes acceptable standards of conduct for JPs. It claries standards
for those JPs who may be uncertain of their obligations and is also useful for members of the
public who are unsure about what to expect when seeking the services of a JP.
It is very important that you understand and comply with the Code of Conduct. Failure to comply
with the Code of Conduct may mean that your appointment as a JP is reviewed.
3.5 Review of appointment and removal from ofce
Complaints against a Justice of the Peace
Complaints against a JP can be made to the Department of Attorney General & Justice.
Complaints must be made in writing, lodged within six months of the date of the matters raised
and accompanied by any supporting documents, where applicable. Complaints should be sent
to the Department using the contact details at the back of this handbook.
Review of an appointment
A persons appointment as a JP may be reviewed at any time, if questions arise about his or her
suitability to remain a JP. This may include cases where the JP is alleged to have breached the
Code of Conduct for JPs, no longer satises the criteria for appointment, or meets the grounds
for removal from ofce prescribed by the Justices of the Peace Act 2002 and the Justices of the
Peace Regulation 2009.
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Under section 10(1) of the Act, a JP has an obligation to notify the Minister in writing of any matter
that may cause the JP to cease to satisfy the prescribed criteria for appointment as a JP or if the
JP satises any of the grounds for removal prescribed under the Act.
The notice must be given as soon as practicable after the JP becomes aware of the matter
concerned. A penalty applies for failure to notify.
If a persons appointment as a JP is to be reviewed, he or she will be notied and given the
opportunity to respond to the concerns raised.
Removal from ofce
A person stops holding ofce as a JP if he or she:
fails to apply for reappointment before the end of his or her ve-year term, or is not
reappointed
resigns as JP
is removed from ofce by the Governor of NSW.
The Governor of NSW may at any time, on the recommendation of the Minister, remove a JP from
ofce if the person:
becomes bankrupt or
becomes a mentally incapacitated person or
is convicted in NSW or elsewhere of an offence that is punishable by imprisonment for 12
months or more or
fails to take the oaths of ofce within four months of the date of his or her appointment or
if the Minister is of the opinion that the person has failed to properly carry out his or her
functions as a JP or
if the Minister is of the opinion that the person does not satisfy or no longer satises the criteria
for appointment as a JP.
The criteria for appointment as a JP are that the person:
be at least 18 years of age
must be an Australian citizen or a person who is entitled to vote at a general election for
the Legislative Assembly, unless the Minister exempts the person from having to satisfy this
criterion
must be of good character
must consent in writing to condential enquiries being made as to the persons suitability for
appointment, including a criminal records check
must not be an undischarged bankrupt
must establish that the persons appointment as a JP is required for reasons relating to the
persons employment or to full a community-based need for the appointment.
Resigning from ofce
A JP can resign from his or her appointment as a JP at any time, by writing to the Department of
Attorney General & Justice using the contact details at the back of this handbook.
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Frequently asked questions
Where do I get my authority to perform the role of JP?
The functions and authority of a JP are set out under sections 21 and 26 of the Oaths Act 1900
and section 8 of the Justices of the Peace Act 2002.
Are there any JP associations that I can join?
Yes, there are a number of associations that offer membership, educational and other services
to JPs. However there is no requirement for a JP to join any JP association.
Can I perform marriage ceremonies?
No, marriages are performed by Marriage Celebrants. A JP for NSW does not automatically
become a Marriage Celebrant. If you wish to become a Marriage Celebrant, you should contact
the Commonwealth Attorney Generals Department.
Am I exempt from jury duty?
No, the Jury Act 1977 does not provide an exemption for JPs from jury duty.
Can I obtain a certicate of appointment as a Justice of the Peace?
JPs can apply for an optional certicate of appointment following conrmation of their
appointment. A fee applies. Further information and application forms are available at the
website www.jp.nsw.gov.au.
What if a person asks me for legal advice?
You must never offer legal advice in your capacity as a JP, even if you have legal knowledge. If
people ask you for legal advice you can refer them to LawAccess NSW, which is a free NSW
Government service that provides legal information, advice and referrals for people who have a
legal problem in NSW. The service can be contacted during business hours on telephone 1300
888 529, or at website www.lawaccess.nsw.gov.au.
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Glossary
For a more detailed denition of the terms used, refer to any standard dictionary or law lexicon.
Afdavit

Written statement that is sworn on oath or afrmed, and made
before a person who is authorised to take an oath or afrmation
Afrmation

Verbal, solemn declaration, which is made instead of an oath, if a
person objects to the taking of an oath or if an oath is contrary to a
person's religious beliefs
Agent Person who legally acts on behalf of another person
Attest Bear witness to, afrm the truth of, to testify or certify
Attestation clause Statement in an agreement or other document that it has been duly
signed in the presence of a witness, conrming the signing of the
document
Attest or witness
the execution of a
document (instrument)
Sign a legal document to verify that it has been completed according
to law in your presence
Attorney Person appointed to represent or act on anothers behalf
Australian legal
practitioner
Australian lawyer who holds a current local practising certicate or
a current interstate practising certicate
Australian Consular
Ofcer/British Consular
Ofcer
Person appointed to hold ofce in any of the positions set out under
section 26 of the Oaths Act 1900 (NSW)
Commissioner Person with the power and responsibility to administer laws or rules
that relate to a specic matter
Deponent Person who makes an afdavit or deposition
Instrument Legal document such as a will, a mortgage or power of attorney
JP register Online register of JPs listing all current appointments in New South
Wales
Jurat Memorandum at the end of an afdavit, stating when and where the
afdavit was sworn or afrmed, followed by the signature, title and
other details of the witness before whom the afdavit was sworn or
afrmed
Justice of the Peace
(JP)
A person appointed (or reappointed) to the Ofce of Justice of the
Peace in and for the State of NSW
Signatory Person who signs a document or declaration
Statutory declaration Written statement made in the form prescribed by the Oaths Act
1900 or the Statutory Declarations Act 1959 (Cwth)
Subscribe To write ones name or mark on or at the bottom of a document,
especially as a witness or consenting party
Witness a signature Sign a document to certify that it was signed by another person in
your presence
38 A handbook for Justices of the Peace in New South Wales
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This code establishes acceptable standards of conduct for Justices of the Peace
(JPs) appointed in New South Wales under the Justices of the Peace Act 2002.
Code of Conduct for
Justices of the Peace in NSW
Access to services
1) A JP must not unreasonably refuse to provide
JP services and must treat all persons
seeking JP services with courtesy, dignity
and respect.
2) A JP must deal with requests for JP services
in a timely manner.
Conduct and integrity
3) A JP must not engage in dishonest activities
or conduct themselves in such a way as to
bring the ofce of JP into disrepute.
4) A JP must keep safe and must not reveal
information which is private, condential or
commercially-sensitive and which the JP
has obtained when providing JP services,
unless authorised by law.
5) A JP must remain independent and impartial
when providing JP services.
6) If a JP has a personal, family, nancial or
business interest in a matter before them, the
JP must disclose the interest to the person
seeking JP services or decline to provide JP
services in that matter.
7) If a JPs term of appointment expires and
the JP has not been reappointed or the
appointment has been revoked by the
Governor of NSW, the JP must immediately
cease providing JP services.
Financial and personal benet
8) A JP must not charge a fee or accept a gift
for providing JP services.
9) A JP must not use the title of JP to advance
or appear to advance his/her own business,
commercial or personal interests, but a JP
may use the title of JP after his or her name
on a business card or letterhead.
State of New South Wales through the Department of Attorney General & Justice June 2011. You may freely deal with this work for any
purpose other than for profit. For more information email jp@agd.nsw.gov.au, phone (02) 8688 7487 or visit www.jp.nsw.gov.au. Issued
under the Justices of the Peace Regulation 2009
ISBN 978-1-921301-76-6
Knowledge and competence
10) A JP must be familiar with and follow the
instructions for JP services outlined in the
JP Handbook. The latest version of the
JP Handbook is available at the website
www.jp.nsw.gov.au.
11) When providing JP services, a JP must clearly
record his/her current JP registration number with
his/her full name and signature on the document.
12) A JP must never witness a document unless the
JP is satised as to the identity of the person and
the JP has seen the person sign the document in
the JPs presence.
13) Where an Act of Parliament provides that a
declaration or instrument be signed or attested
by a JP, the JP must do so in accordance with
any instructions under that Act and any
requirements on the declaration or instrument.
14) A JP must not offer legal advice in his or her
capacity as a JP.
Notications
15) A JP must notify the Justice & Department of Attorney
General in writing as soon as practicable of:
a) being convicted of a criminal offence
b) being found to have acted dishonestly by any
court or tribunal
c) becoming bankrupt or applying for relief of a
similar nature
d) being disqualied from being involved in
the management of any company under the
Corporations Act 2001.
16) A JP must provide written notication to the
Justice & Department of Attorney General of a
change of his/her:
a) name
b) postal and/or email address
c) telephone number on which the JP can be
contacted in relation to JP services.
Contacting the Department of Attorney General & Justice
Justice of the Peace Section
Community Relations Unit
Department of Attorney General & Justice
Locked Bag 5111
PARRAMATTA NSW 2124
160 Marsden Street
PARRAMATTA NSW 2150
www.jp.nsw.gov.au
jp@agd.nsw.gov.au
(02) 8688 7487
(02) 8688 9620
Effective from 1 J uly 2011 Page 1 of 2

Ruling 001
Certifying a copy of a document
when the original is in electronic form
Background

Page 27 of the current edition of A Handbook for JPs in NSW states that a J P cannot
certify an electronic document. This ruling modifies that advice. It should be read in
conjunction with Ruling 002, which defines original document for the purposes of
certifying a copy.

This Ruling has been issued by the Attorney General as additional guidelines for the
purpose of section 8(2) of the Justices of the Peace Act 2002.

Ruling

In limited circumstances, a J P may certify - as a true copy - a paper copy of an
original document, even though the original document is in electronic form. The
limited circumstances are:

1. where the J P has observed the paper copy being printed directly from an official
website that is under the control of the documents issuing authority
OR
2. where the J P has observed the paper copy being printed directly from a computer
that is under the control of the documents issuing authority
OR
3. where the issuing authority has endorsed a printout of the original document with
its official stamp in ink.

(In the case of circumstance 3, further certification by a J P may be unnecessary,
unless the organisation which seeks the certified copy requires certification by a J P.)

Apart from the three limited circumstances described above, a J P must not certify a
copy of an original document when the original is in electronic form. This is because
in all other cases there would be some risk the document could have been altered at
a prior stage, using computer editing software.

This prohibition on certifying a copy of an electronic document includes when the
document has been transmitted by email, fax or other electronic communication
(even when that communication appears to have come from the issuing authority).
This is because there would be some risk that the communication was not genuinely
from the issuing authority.
continued over

Effective from 1 J uly 2011 Page 2 of 2


For the purpose of this Ruling and A Handbook for JPs in NSW, the definition of
electronic document is any electronic file format that contains writing, numbers,
images, symbols, marks, drawings, maps or plans, and which can be reproduced on
paper.

Examples

Examples of this ruling in practice include:

A J P observes Ms A print her bank statement directly from the official website of
Ms As bank. The J P may then certify the printout as a true copy of the original.
Mr B prints his electronic payslip, and his employer endorses the printout with the
organisations official stamp. The J P may then certify the printout as a true copy
of the original.

Mrs C asks a J P to certify a copy of her electricity bill. Mrs C opens her own
laptop computer and displays an electronic image of the bill, which she says she
downloaded from the web earlier. The J P must decline to certify the copy,
(because the J P is unable to confirm the electronic image original was sourced
from the issuing authoritys official website or a computer under its control).

Mr D asks a J P to certify a copy of a building certificate issued by Fairfield City
Council. Mr D logs into his own email account and shows the J P the certificate,
which is attached to an email that was sent from the address of
service@fairfieldcity.com.au. The J P must decline to certify the copy (because
the electronic version was transmitted by email, and there is some risk the email
was not genuinely from the issuing authority).

Alternatives when a JP is required to decline to certify

When a J P is required by this Ruling to decline to certify a copy of an electronic
original, there may be other alternatives available to the J Ps client. Two such
alternatives are described below. There may be further alternatives, and the client
should discuss those with the person or organisation requesting the certified copy.

Mrs C could instead make a statutory declaration, attaching the copy as an
annexure and declaring that it is a true copy of her original electricity bill that
exists only in electronic form. A J P could witness Mrs C making that declaration
(but would still be prohibited by this Ruling from proceeding to certify the copy).
Mrs C should check first that the relevant organisation will accept her statutory
declaration in place of a certified copy.

Mr D could instead forward the email to the person or organisation that requested
the certified copy of the building certificate. It would then be a matter for that
person or organisation to decide whether or not to accept and rely upon Mr Ds
emailed copy, or to make their own enquiries with the certificates issuing
authority.

(End)
Effective from 1 J uly 2011 Page 1 of 2

Ruling 002
Defining an original document for the purposes of
certifying a copy
Background

Page 27 of the current edition of A Handbook for JPs in NSW contains guidance
about how a J P may determine if a document is an original. This ruling modifies that
advice. It should be read in conjunction with Ruling 001.

This Ruling has been issued by the Attorney General as additional guidelines for the
purpose of section 8(2) of the Justices of the Peace Act 2002.

Ruling

An original document is the actual record of text or images made directly by the
author or issuer of the document, which is later used to make a copy. An original
document can be either printed or in electronic form.

When certifying that a copy is a true copy of the original document, the role of a J P is
limited to ensuring that the copy and the original are identical. The role of a J P does
not involve certifying that:

the document presented as an original is authentic or
the content of the original is accurate or
the original was correctly and validly issued.

A J P may be satisfied that a document is indeed an original, if the client shows the
document to the J P and reports that it is the original. However if it is immediately
and obviously apparent to the J P that the document could not be an original, the J P
should decline to certify the copy. For example, this might occur where the
document presented as the original is very obviously a reproduction, or contains
amendments that are very obviously not made by the issuing authority.

A printed original is usually different from a photocopy or other printed reproduction
(although it may be difficult to tell the difference between an original and a copy if a
J P is shown a high-quality photocopy). Indicators that a printed document is an
original could include that it:

appears on official letterhead or
contains an official logo, seal or watermark or
includes a handwritten signature or inked stamp of the issuing authority.

continued over
Effective from 1 J uly 2011 Page 2 of 2


Where an original exists only in electronic form, it is less likely that a reproduction or
amendment would be very obviously apparent to a J P. For this reason, a J P is
limited to certifying a copy of an electronic document only in certain circumstances
that are detailed in Ruling 001.

For the purpose of this Ruling and A Handbook for JPs in NSW, the definition of
electronic document is any electronic file format that contains writing, numbers,
images, symbols, marks, drawings, maps or plans, and which can be reproduced on
paper.

When certifying a copy of an original, a J P should use the following wording (or
wording to a similar effect):

I certify this to be a true copy of the document shown and reported to me as the
original

and then add the J Ps full name, J P registration number, handwritten signature and
the date. Use of the wording above helps to clarify that the J P is not certifying the
document is authentic. This may be important if someone who relied on the J Ps
certification sought to have a court impose such a duty of care on the J P.

Examples

Examples of this ruling in practice include:

Mr E shows a J P a document and reports that it is his original birth certificate. He
asks the J P to certify a copy. The J P notices very obvious abrasions on the
original, underneath where Mr Es date of birth is printed. The J P also notices
that the printing of the date of birth is very obviously different to any other text on
the certificate. While the functions of a J P do not extend to authenticating
documents, the J P decides to decline to certify the copy.

Mrs F shows a J P a document and reports that it is a replacement of her birth
certificate that she recently obtained from the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and
Marriages. She asks the J P to certify a copy. The J P notes the replacement
certificate is nevertheless an actual record made directly by the issuing authority,
and therefore an original document. The J P checks it is a true copy of the original
and then proceeds to certify the copy.


(End)

Effective from 30 April 2012 Page 1 of 2

Ruling 003
Confirming identity for NSW statutory declarations and affidavits
Background

Changes to the law mean that J Ps must take additional steps to confirm the identity
of a person making a NSW statutory declaration or affidavit. There are no changes
to existing procedures for Commonwealth statutory declarations or affidavits.

This Ruling has been issued by the Attorney General as additional guidelines for the
purpose of section 8(2) of the Justices of the Peace Act 2002.

Ruling

Effective from 30 April 2012, before witnessing a NSW statutory declaration or
affidavit, a J P must follow the instructions in A Handbook for JPs in NSW as well as
these 3 additional steps:

1. see the face of the person making the NSW statutory declaration or affidavit
2. confirm the persons identity, and
3. certify on the document that these requirements have been met.

It is a criminal offence punishable by a fine for a J P to witness a NSW statutory
declaration or affidavit if these requirements have not been satisfied. It is also a
breach of the Code of Conduct for JPs in NSW.

Step 1: See the persons face

A J P must see the face
1
of the person making the NSW statutory declaration or
affidavit. If the person is wearing a face covering
2
, a J P should politely ask the
person to remove as much of the face covering as will allow the J P to see the
persons face.

If a person chooses not to show his/her face to the J P, the J P must decline to
witness the NSW statutory declaration or affidavit. A J P does not have any authority
to make or require a person to remove a face covering.

However a J P does not have to see the persons face if the J P is satisfied that the
person has a special justification for not removing a face covering. A special
justification is any legitimate medical reason. At present, the law does not permit
any other special justification.

continues over the page

1
face means a persons face from the top of the forehead to the bottom of the chin, and between (but not
including) the ears
2
face covering means an item of clothing, helmet, mask or any other thing that is worn by a person and
prevents the persons face from being seen (whether wholly or partly)

Effective from 30 April 2012 Page 2 of 2
Step 2: Confirm the persons identity

A J P must confirm a persons identity. There are two ways to confirm identity, either:

the J P has known the person for at least 12 months, or
the J P has sighted an approved identification document
3
or a certified copy
4
of an
approved identification document.

Step 3: Certify the identity requirements have been met

Once a J P has completed Steps 1 and 2 above, the J P must certify on the NSW
statutory declaration or affidavit that the identity requirements have been met.

Many NSW statutory declarations and affidavits will have the wording of the required
certification pre-printed, so that the J P need only fill in the blanks, cross out text that
does not apply, and sign. In some cases, such as when an old form has been used,
a J P will have to add the wording of the certification, either by hand or with a stamp
(but not with an adhesive label). An appropriate wording is:

I, ................................................................. , a J P for NSW ................................................. , certify:
[full name of JP] [JP registration number]
[* include only the text that applies]
1. *I saw the face of the declarant/deponent OR
*I did not see the face of the declarant/deponent because he/she was wearing a face covering, but I
am satisfied that he/she had a special justification for not removing it, and
2. *I have known the person for at least 12 months OR
*I confirmed the persons identity with ..............................................................................
[describe identification document relied on]
.......................................................................... ............................................................................,
[signature of JP] [date]

When adding the certification by hand or with a stamp, a J P will have to sign the
document twice: once to witness the clients signature, and again for the certification.

(End of Ruling)

3
Any one of these approved identification documents is acceptable, unless it has expired or been cancelled
(however an Australian passport is acceptable if it expired no more than 2 years ago):
a drivers licence or permit with a photograph,
whether issued in Australia or another country
a NSW photo card issued under Photo Card Act 2005
an Australian proof of age card which contains the
persons photograph
an Australian passport (either current or expired less
than 2 years ago)
a passport or similar document with the persons
photograph and signature issued by another country
or by the United Nations
a national identity card with the persons photograph
and signature issued by another country or the United
Nations (with an English language translation if not in
English)
an Australian citizenship certificate
a foreign citizenship certificate (with an English
language translation if not in English)
a birth certificate or birth extract, whether issued in
Australia, another country or by the United Nations
(with an English language translation if not in
English)
a Centrelink pension card
a credit card or passbook
an account from a bank, building society or credit
union, or statement of account up to one year old
a Medicare card, pensioner concession card,
Department of Veterans Affairs entitlement card or
other entitlement card issued by the Federal or any
State Government
an electoral enrolment card or other evidence of
enrolment as an elector up to 2 years old, or
a student identity card, or a certificate or statement
of enrolment up to 2 years old from an educational
institution.

4
A copy of an identification document is acceptable if certified as a true copy by: any justice of the peace, notary
public, commissioner of the court for taking affidavits, Australian legal practitioner authorised to take and
receive any affidavit, the NSW Registrar-General, a Deputy Registrar-General, or other person by law
authorised to administer an oath. The certifier and the witness cannot be the same person.