Attorney General Peter Foss commended the services of more than 240 Justices of the Peace at a special ceremony held at Government House today.
The ceremony honoured Justices of the Peace who have completed 25 years in the role and also recognised the service of those aged over 75 years who have retired from certain duties.
“In the International Year of the Volunteer, it is particularly appropriate to acknowledge the commitment and service to the community of these generous citizens,” Mr Foss said.
“As volunteers to the position, Justices of the Peace spend a good deal of personal time assisting members of the community on a range of statutory and judicial matters.”
There are now more than 3,530 Justices of the Peace commissioned in Western Australia.
“Justices of the Peace are not only necessary to the administration of justice in WA, but they provide an invaluable community input into the justice process” Mr Foss said.
“With a State the size of WA, we rely heavily on justices to preside over the Courts of Petty Sessions in rural areas, and without this service, many courts customers would be disadvantaged and face lengthy delays.”
Justices of the Peace also sit regularly on traffic lists and restraining order applications, issue search warrants, determine cases of prison offences in regional areas and deal with bail matters.
According to Mr Foss, an extensive 15-week, university-based course provided for new Justices through Murdoch University, and the support of the Royal Association of Justices, have seen the State’s Justices performing to a very high standard.
Any member of the community can be nominated to become a Justice of the Peace by their local Member of Parliament or a Stipendiary Magistrate in regional areas.
Many Justices of the Peace are from Aboriginal and ethnic backgrounds and nearly a quarter are women.
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