Learn all the FAQ's on the functions and qualities of a Justice of the Peace
What is a Justice of the Peace?
A Justice of the Peace is a person of unquestionable integrity who seeks to promote and protect the rights of the individual and helps to ensure justice for those persons in a particular community.
Functions of the Justice of the Peace
Issues Summons - this is done to compel persons to attend court.
A Justice of the Peace may have to issue a warrant for the search of premises believed to contain illegal goods or persons.
A Justice of the Peace may also issue a warrant for the arrest of any person who on reasonable grounds is believed to have committed a criminal offense.
Attends at Police Stations
This is done in order to ensure that the proper procedures are followed where arrested persons, who are in police custody, make statements under caution. The Justice of the Peace will also ensure that proper procedures are followed with respect to those persons who are placed in identification parades.
Explains and signs document
Persons often seek the help of a Justice of the Peace with regards to wills, transfer of property, common law titles and other kinds of legal documents.
A Justice of the Peace is often required to listen to persons and where possible, help those who experience various kinds of problems and seek the advice of a leader in the community.
In order to realize these objectives he/she seeks to demonstrate a commitment to promoting harmony in the community.
Who Can Become a Justice of the Peace?
Any Saint Lucian citizen between the ages of 25 and 75, who is able to speak and write English fluently. Any person wanting to become a Justice of the Peace is expected to:
(a) Be a mature individual who commands the respect and confidence of his/her community members
(b) Holds a record of having given good service and leadership to his/ her community or the country and shows the potential for further good service
(c) Be able to communicate and interact at all levels and with all types of individuals in his/ her community.
Benefits to you and your community by becoming a Justice of Peace
Being a Justice of the Peace is a worthwhile and very rewarding experience. The skills which you develop can be used in your personal working life. These benefits include:
Being part of the community and giving something back to the community
Having a better awareness of the diversity and social needs of the community
Further developing existing personal skills such as communication, objectivity, decision making and self management
Gaining an understanding of the law.
An introductory Training Programme will help the individual to develop further the skills and knowledge that will be needed to carry out the duties of a Justice of the Peace The training will include:
understanding the framework of justice within which Justices of the Peace operate
understanding basic law and procedures
Sharpening the skills of thinking and acting judicially, and maintaining independence in all areas of decision-making
Working effectively as a Chairperson or as a team member
To be a Justice of the Peace you do not need to be legally qualified. You will, however, be asked to demonstrate that you have four necessary qualities:
Capacity for Fairness
Management of Self and others.
Think logically, weigh arguments and make objective and impartial decisions
1.understand complex documents and identify relevant facts
2.distinguish between relevant and irrelevant material
3.Follow arguments without prejudging their merits
4.Make decisions in accordance with rules or procedures while taking account of individual circumstances
Capacity for Fairness
Respect for and understanding of the needs of the diverse range of the population
The ability to reorganize and set aside prejudice and to challenge prejudice in others
The ability to understand and explain different points of view ensuring all who have a right to be heard are heard
Commitment to ensuring equality to treatment.
You should be able to show that you can communicate effectively by:
Listening sometimes for long periods
using all methods of communication effectively
Being able to explain the reasoning for your decision
Appropriate, effective and clear questioning
Seeking and listening to advice
Demonstrate That's You
Have sufficient self-awareness to be able to assess the impact of your own behavior or others and to modify your behavior
Have the ability to manage a workload in a business like manner while demonstrating sound judgment
Are open to different view-points and value others' contributions
Have the understanding and ability to articulate the differing views and needs of others
Are resilient and able to handle stress.
Justices of the Peace must be respected members of the community and as such are expected to be of good character.
They must exhibit:
Your conduct must be fitting to hold judicial office
You must have no criminal conviction.