Address by the Chief Justice Hon. Justice Kamal Kumar at the Swearing-In of Justices of the Peace on 7 December 2021
Thank you for coming forward to serve members of our community as Justice of Peace.
You as JPs play a vital role in our legal system and that is not to be taken lightly. As JPs you will:
- Witness signatures to Statutory Declarations: which will be used to obtain certain legal documents like passports.
- Certify documents as true copy.
It is very encouraging to note your commitment and willingness to provide voluntary service to our community.
You being selected as JPs indicate that you have been considered by the Honourable Attorney-General of Fiji and Ministry of Justice to be a person with integrity and dignity who commands respect in your community.
You may not get the rewards for voluntary service you provide here but you will be rewarded where it matters most.
Please make yourself accessible to members of the community when they require your services. It has been brought to the attention of our office that in certain instance members of the public are turned away for no good reason.
As stated earlier your action reflects on the whole legal system and as such you are required to act professionally, diligently and with care.
Some dos and dont’s which I wish to share are:
- Do not let your political affiliation and commitment interfere with performance of your duty as JPs;
- Do not certify the truth of the content of the Declaration as they remain the responsibility of person signing the Declarations.
- Do not take money for witnessing signature to Declarations or certifying documents as true copy irrespective of the size of the Declaration or number of documents you need to certify.
- Ensure that any comments you post on social media is not considered as immoral.
- You have to possess a good character and standing in the community.
- Verify the identity of the person with valid identification cards or passports.
- Keep a record of the documents you witnessed with details of person’s name, address and ID.
I am told that some of the reasons, the appointment of JPs was revoked or not renewed are that they charged fees for witnessing document, asked for favours, disclosed confidential information and for failure to update log book for services provided.
If you do not remember anything I said so far, please do not forget the Oath you took on the Holy Book and that is to well and truly serve the people of Fiji and do right to all manner of people in accordance with the law without fear, favour, affection or ill-will.
Thank you once again for coming forward and taking up the role of JP.
God bless you all.