Justices of the Peace (JPs) also have the authority to sign and/or witness a variety of legal and other general documents. Usually the document concerned will indicate if a JP’s signature is required but these may include:
- affidavits (statements sworn under oath). These documents are often witnessed by JPs as part of the simplified divorce procedure.
- certified true copies of documents, for example, for passport or visa applications (but not the passport application itself as that has to be signed by someone who has known you for over 2 years). Note that JPs may limit the number of documents that may be certified on any one occasion. You must bring the principal documents and the photocopies to be certified.
- pension documents
- various forms of statutory declarations eg for changing your name, for when a pawn ticket has been lost,etc.
You will need to make an appointment to get a document signed or witnessed by a JP. Contact your local JP Court for more information. The signing service by JPs is currently free of charge. You will require to bring documents with you for identification purposes
eg driving licence, passport and the forms you require signed or witnessed
. Note: JPs do not compose or supply the forms. If that is required you should consult a solicitor. Most are also Notaries Public. For that service they may charge a fee.
Documents are usually signed in the JP court building but not in the formal courtroom setting. The JP will be there, often along with a legal adviser to give the JP legal advice if required, and to make sure that legal procedures are followed. If you want a JP to sign a document, you will be asked to take an oath or to affirm that you will tell the truth.
Councillors / members of local authorities can also sign certain documents – mainly statutory declarations, but not affidavits. You should be able to make an appointment to see a councillor at local authority offices
or at councillors’ surgeries.