Thinking about becoming a JP?
Our Justice of the Peace (Qualified) Trainer, Adrian provides some insight into what it’s really like undertaking the role, the course and what new JP’s should be wary of!
How long have you been a JP and what made you decide to become one?
I became a JP in 2007. I was a Funeral Director and with the families I was dealing with, and the number of documents they needed witnessed, it made sense to become a JP. I was then able to sign all documents the families required rather than sending them away to find someone on their own before coming back to me.
Once I was able to do this, it was very rewarding and it made the process so much smoother for the families who were already having a really tough time.
So, we decided that everyone at the funeral home should also become JP’s!
Why types of people make good JP’s?
People that are attentive, cheerful and good listeners. The people who are coming to you to sign documents are likely either at a really great point in their life (getting married, buying a house) or a really terrible one (deaths, divorce) – so it is important to be able to understand how to respond to people who are in many different emotional states.
It is also so important to have attention to detail! If a client goes away and you have missed a part of a document you were supposed to witness, that is going to be very inconvenient for them!
Have you ever had to tell someone you can’t help them with their documents? What was the situation?
No, so far I have been able to help everyone! One particular client, I spent 2.5hrs with them! It was a large sale of a business and there were many associated legal requirements.
What’s the hardest part about being a JP?
There is no hard part really, there are so many avenues available for help. It’s important to keep abreast of all the updates from the Justice Department.
And what’s the best part about being a JP?
The best part is being able to send a client away, having all their needs met. I again, liken it to a Funeral Director. A family comes to you not knowing what to do and when they go away, everything is sorted for them.
Have you ever been called upon in a police situation to issue a search or arrest warrant?
No, I would actually decline. I would not want any chance of a warrant being questioned for “nepotism” as I was a policeman for 27 years.
People are surprised about how much fun they have in a JP face to face workshop. Can you give us a sneak peak of the types of issues that are discussed?
My main objective when I teach is to have fun. I do a lot of role playing with me as the “client”.
I am a policeman for a warrant, a man selling his house after a “messy” divorce, a deaf and mute person wanting a stat dec signed, and many others.
We discuss current topics e.g. witnessing the document for a marriage of a minor, “what if??” it is an arranged marriage, a same sex marriage, a very large age gap marriage. All of these discussions makes the class think. What about the bible on the phone app instead of a hard copy bible for oaths? Certified copies of a document in Arabic? All of these situations need to be discussed.
We have a lot of fun. I have students sit at a table and I have all other students line up with documents I have prepared as if in a shopping centre. It really prepares the students for their role as a JP.
What should new JP’s be wary of when carrying out their duties?
When first starting out, new JP’s should be very aware of their legal requirements.
- Can they sign the document?
- Is it a proper form?
- Is there a special oath?
- Is the Quran to be used? If so, how is it used and who holds same?
Each client presents with a unique situation that you need to be prepared for. Most importantly, as soon as a JP has finished with a client, they need to fill in their logbook! That’s very important.
For students thinking about becoming a JP but haven’t yet, what would you say to them?
Sign up! What do you have to lose? It is a very rewarding community role that gives you and others great satisfaction.
Ready to start your JP journey? Complete your exam entirely from home or come along to one of Adrian’s face to face workshops! Find out more.