Our History and Achievements

From the beginning

In 4 April 1990, a handful of ACT JPs met to form a steering committee with the intention of forming a Justices of the Peace association within the ACT. This small group of committed JPs felt there was a need for an organisation that would provide a focal point for JPs in the ACT, provide a collective and representative voice for JPs in dealings with the Government and the wider community, and promote and support best practice in the performance of the JP role.

A Committee was formed from this driving force, and the first item of business was to contact similarly minded JPs.  The inaugural General Meeting of the proposed ACT Justices of the Peace Association was held on 19 June 1990 with 13 JPs attending. The Committee developed a constitution and in 1992 the Association was formally incorporated under the Associations Incorporation Act.

From this small beginning the Association has flourished, and we now have around 350 members, representing a significant proportion of the active JPs in the ACT.

Although we are a small body in comparison to equivalent organisations in other jurisdictions, we have become an active contributor to the Australasian Council of Justices Association and successfully hosted the 2007 and 2015 annual meetings of the Council.  We have excellent relations with our colleagues in other Australasian jurisdictions and seek to learn from them, exchange information about good JP practice and keep abreast of developments in other jurisdictions.

Our objective

The goals of the Association, enshrined in our Constitution, are:

to promote, support and protect the status and interests of Justices of the Peace.

Our focus is not just on JPs. We work hard to promote a visible, consistent and professional service to the ACT community.  We support members (and non-members) who regularly provide services to the community at various public venues across Canberra.  We work cooperatively with the ACT Government to clarify practices, offer guidance and promote changes to the law or practice affecting Justices of Peace in the ACT.

Look what we’ve done!

  • The Association was instrumental in developing the training now required before becoming a JP in the ACT, and we continue to provide practical guidance to prospective JPs undertaking the pre-appointment training course.
  • We were influential in the decision to introduce a registration number for all JPs throughout Australia, and to have that number included when providing JP services.
  • We have contributed significantly to the development and introduction of legislated guidelines for the appointment of JPs in the ACT, and for the role of JPs, and continue to do so.
  • We cooperate with government to develop a comprehensive JP Practice Manual and support arrangements for the ongoing professional development of all JPs.
  • We joined the ACT Government in providing services to the community following the devastating Canberra bushfires in 2003.
  • We are a member of the Australasian Council of Justices’ Associations, contributing to the harmonisation of JP duties across Australasia, and have hosted annual meetings, bringing together JPs from across Australia and New Zealand.
  • We were instrumental in encouraging the ACT Government in 2013 to acknowledge the extraordinary commitment of more than 200 JPs who had served the community for more than 20 years.
  • We have an established mentoring program to support new members of the Association as they settle into their role as JPs.
  • We provide professional development to JPs on a range of practices, prompted (in part) by queries from members and the general public.
  • Members of the Association regularly provide services to the community at Signing Centres across Canberra.