How much does it cost to visit a Justice of the Peace?
Justice of the Peace Services are free. JPs are not paid and are volunteers.
Can I take copies of someone else’s documents to a JP to get certified?
That will depend upon the purpose of the document that is being certified. If the documents are being used to support a financial transaction including purchasing or selling a house, withdrawal of KiwiSaver or applying for a loan, then the person whose identity is being verified will need to be present. The JP should be told the purpose of the document so they can apply the appropriate wording or stamps.
Do I have to make an appointment?
You do not need to make an appointment to see a JP at a Service Desk, but you do need to make an appointment if you want to see an individual JP. Please txt or phone individual JPs to make an appointment. When you contact a JP to make an appointment, bear in mind that Justices are volunteers and may have other responsibilities or commitments (including employment). If you are having trouble finding a JP to see you, you can go to a Service Desk where you know that a JP will be present during the scheduled hours of the Service Desk.
What does the JP need to know when you make an appointment?
The JP should know what service(s) they are being asked to perform. It is also polite to confirm contact details in case the client or the Justice becomes unexpectedly unavailable. When you see the JP, in addition to your documents, please bring some form of ID with you such as passport or driver’s licence.
Do not sign any document prior to visiting the JP.
What does it mean for a JP to certify a document?
When a document is certified by a JP, the JP is saying that they have been presented with an original document and that the copy appears to be an exact duplicate of this original.
Are there documents a JP cannot certify?
Many documents that JPs certify are destined to go overseas and the client needs to confirm with the receiving agency that a NZ JP can certify the document. Some documents require a notary to certify them and the client would need to confirm with the receiving agency that a NZ JP was acceptable instead of a notary. A Justice of the Peace for New Zealand cannot certify a copy of an Apostille.
Can I have my document certified by video link?
It would be best to discuss this with the Justice of the Peace. Some documents may be processed by video link if the receiving agency (the one the document will be sent to) agrees. It would be up to the client to determine if this is the case. This does not apply to documents which are covered by the Oaths and Declarations Act 1957 such as Statutory Declarations and Affidavits. However, the Covid Order enacted by the Government at the beginning of the pandemic does allow for these Statutory Declarations and Affidavits to be done by video link while this Order is in place.
Can I use an Electronic Signature if I am seeing the JP by video link?
Electronic signatures are not permitted on Statutory Declarations, Affidavits and Authority and Instruction Authorisation documents.
Will the JP sign my statutory declaration, even though I haven’t completed it?
No. The Statutory Declaration needs to be completed in all respects other than the signature which must be signed in front of the Justice.
How long does a certified copy stay valid for?
This depends on the organisation which will receive the certified copy. Some organisations require the certified copy not to be older than 3 months.
Can a JP certify a printed copy when the original is online?
Yes. The JP can certify it as a copy of the document as long as it can be viewed using the Client’s electronic device (such as a smart phone) on the original website, through an App or as an attachment to the original email.
Can the JP certify a copy when the original cannot be located?
Yes. The JP can ask the client to make a Statutory Declaration stating the copy is an exact copy of the original.
Will JPs certify copies of a document that are not in English?
Yes, as long as the JP can ensure the copy is exactly the same as the document presented as an original.
Can I get photos of myself certified by a JP?
Yes, if the JP can identify the client using other means including other suitable photographic ID, a Statutory Declaration or similar.
Can a JP perform a marriage ceremony?
No. A Justice of the Peace does not have the authority to be a Marriage Celebrant. They are two completely separate activities and require different skills and qualifications.
Where can I download sample Statutory Declarations/Affidavits?
Samples are generally available on the web and available using a search engine such as Google. Make sure you use a template that meets the requirements of New Zealand legislation. Information about making a Statutory Declaration, including a form to download can be found here: https://www.govt.nz/browse/law-crime-and-justice/making-a-statutory-declaration/. For other documents such as Affidavits you may require specialist legal advice.
How do I raise a concern or complaint about a Justice of the Peace?
You will need to put your complaint in writing. You can email the Registrar with the details, or use the “Contact Us” form on this website.
Is a JP the same as a Notary Public?
No. In New Zealand a Notary Public is a lawyer authorised to officially witness signatures on legal documents, collect sworn statements, administer oaths and certify the authenticity of legal documents. A Notary Public will typically charge for their services. Only a Notary Public can notarise a document – a JP cannot do this. However, in some countries a Notary Public is the same as a JP. If you have a document from another country and it asks for a Notary Public to certify it, you will need to find out if a New Zealand Justice of the Peace is authorised to do this.
I need to make an Affidavit but I don’t want to swear on a bible?
You are able to take your affidavit by Affirming in lieu of swearing.
I need to make an Affidavit and I want to swear on the Bible or other Holy Book – do I need to supply my own?
Normally the JP will have a Bible but if you wish to swear your affidavit on a different religious book then you should take a copy with you. A copy on your phone will be acceptable.
Can the JP help me complete my form?
No. The JP cannot assist you in the completion of documentation. Citizens Advice Bureaux (CAB) may be able to help in this regard.
Can I take my partner’s Statutory Declaration (or Affidavit) to the JP for signing?
No. The Statutory Declaration or Affidavit belongs to your partner and therefore she/he will need to be present.
Can I get advice from the JP?
No. JPs are not legally able to provide advice.