Our FAQs are here to answer questions you might have about Justices of the Peace and the services JPs provide. Here you’ll find information about statutory declarations, certified copies, powers of attorney, affidavits and much more.
Can’t find what you’re looking for? Contact us if you can’t find what you’re looking for below.
The authorised person is certifying that the copy and the original document are identical, not that the document presented as an original is authentic or that the content of the original is accurate or that the original was correctly and validly issued.
- review the original document
- compare the copy with the original to ensure there are no alterations or amendments and that it is a complete and accurate copy
- stamp or write a certification on the copy and sign and date it.
You can help us help you if you:
- bring the original document and the copy
- bring photographic identification such as drivers’ licence, Proof of Identity/Proof of Age card or passport
- review the document to ensure it is in the proper form and does not contain any blank spaces or alterations;
- warn the declarant (you) of the consequences of making a false statement;
- witness the declarant (you) sign the statutory declaration;
- if required on the form, complete a statement describing how the JP confirmed your identity;
- complete a statement that sets out the place the declaration is made and the date on which it was made.
You can help us help you if you:
- bring the completed, but unsigned, Statutory Declaration, including any attachments that may be referred to in the statement
- bring photographic identity such as drivers’ licence, Proof of Identity/Proof of Age card or passport
- sign the statutory declaration in the presence of the JP. (The JP must witness you signing the statutory declaration.)
An affidavit is sworn or affirmed by the deponent before an authorised person. A Justice of the Peace is an authorised person.
- review the affidavit to ensure it is in the proper form (including any annexures referred to in the affidavit) and does not contain any blank spaces that could be filled in after swearing or affirming
- confirm the deponent understands the nature of the oath/affirmation and warn the deponent of the consequences of making a false statement
- witness the deponent sign the affidavit
- administer an oath or affirmation
- endorse any exhibits attached to the affidavit
- complete a statement (termed a jurat) at the end of the document that sets out the place the affidavit is made and the date on which it was made.
You can help us help you if you:
- bring the completed, but unsigned, affidavit
- bring photographic identification such as drivers’ licence, Proof of Age card or passport
- sign the affidavit in the presence of the JP. (The JP must witness you signing the affidavit)
If you wish to swear an oath on a holy text, you should also bring the text. However, since April 2018, it is no longer necessary to use a religious text in taking an oath (Section 21(2) Oaths and Affirmations Act 1984).
Powers of Attorney
General Power of Attorney
A General Power of Attorney is a legal document made by one person, ‘the principal’, authorising another person, an attorney’, to act on behalf of the principal in relation to the principal’s property (including financial) matters. It operates while the principle has decision making capacity. It generally commences at the time it is signed and the attorney can start acting straight away. A principal may limit the power in a power of attorney and specify when and how the power under the power of attorney may be exercised.
A general power of attorney ceases to have effect and cannot be used once the principal no longer has decision-making capacity.
Enduring Power of Attorney
An Enduring Power of Attorney (EPOA) is a legal document appointing one or more attorneys to act on behalf of the principal if the principal has impaired decision-making capacity.
In the ACT, an Enduring Power can nominate someone to make decisions on behalf of the principal in property (including financial), personal care, health care or medical research matters.
NOTE: Legislation concerning Enduring Powers of Attorney differs across Australia. A JP in the ACT may not be able to witness an Enduring Power of Attorney prepared under legislation of another state or territory.
You can also download blank Power of Attorney forms (Enduring and General Powers of Attorney) from the ACT Government Legislation Register.
- review the document to ensure it is in the proper form and that all required sections have been completed
- take reasonable steps to ensure the principal has a full understanding of the nature and effect of the Power of Attorney and is signing the document voluntarily. This may mean asking questions of the principal in private
- witness the principal sign the document
- sign and date the document and complete the witness certificate.
You can help us to help you if you:
- ask a second witness to attend
- bring photographic identification
- bring the completed, but unsigned, document(s)
You may use the services of qualified interpreter who is registered with the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI).
You cannot use a family member or friend to translate or interpret.
'Proof of Life' documents
Note: Some authorities allow the proof of life document to be completed by an agent under certain circumstances. This should be explained in any notes accompanying the document.
Documents in a language other than English
A JP is not concerned with the content – it matters only that the copy is a true copy of the original. If the JP is confident that this is so (for example, because the JP witnessed the copy being made or carefully compared the two documents), they can proceed as normal.
Some Justices of the Peace have indicated on the public JP Register that they speak a language other than English. Search the Justice of the Peace Register to find a JP proficient in the appropriate language.
- search the Justice of the Peace Register to find a JP proficient in the appropriate language. Some Justices of the Peace have indicated on the public JP Register that they can speak a language other than English or
- bring an interpreter to the appointment, who is prepared to certify they will be accurate in their translation. Depending on the nature of the service and any accompanying instructions, it may be necessary to use a qualified interpreter/translator, registered with the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters.