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Keeping the peace


Keeping the peace

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									Keeping the peace

Did you know that Justices of the Peace have a lineage that can be traced back to
12th century England?

That was when it is said that King Richard the Lion Heart commissioned certain
knights to keep the peace in various trouble spots.

In later years, around 1360, the title Justice of the Peace was coined and the powers
of JPs were increased to hear cases involving trespass and to punish offenders.

South Australia’s first Justices of the Peace were appointed in 1836, soon after the
first ships arrived at the new colony.

Today, there are around 8300 JPs in SA, with around 300 appointed each year.

The Attorney-General’s Department is responsible for the administration of the
appointment and removal of Justices of the Peace.

Once, JPs were appointed for life and would sit together to hear a wide range of
summary matters in Magistrates Courts. Since 2006, this has changed and JPs are
appointed for terms up to 10 years. But they still hear a range of cases.

JPs also have an important role within the community taking declarations and
attesting documents.

The job of a JP is an important one and the penalty for pretending to be one is up to
two years in prison!

It is easy to find a JP in your local area online by going to

Other places providing the services of JPs include your local Council
(www.lga.sa.gov.au), your local electorate office, the Courts (www.courts.sa.gov.au)
and SA Police.

Another good place to start is the Justice of Peace Services office in the Attorney-
General’s Department, on ph 8207 1725, or by e-mail jpservices@agd.sa.gov.au

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