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Services of a JP and Cdec

Queensland Justices of the Peace (JPs) and Commissioners for Declarations (Cdecs) volunteer to serve the public by signing documents that need a qualified witness.

Their services range from witnessing and signing formal documents to hearing certain types of court matters. By performing these services, they allow lawyers and the courts to concentrate on complex legal matters.

There are 3 different types of witnessing officer in Queensland, with varying powers and responsibilities.

They are:

Commissioner for Declarations (Cdec)

The role of a Cdec is a purely administrative role.

Cdecs don’t have any judicial function, so they don’t deal with any type of court process.

A Cdec can:

  • witness documents
  • witness statutory declarations
  • witness affidavits
  • witness and administer oaths and affirmations
  • certify a true copy of an original document.

A Cdec cannot:

  • issue search warrants
  • issue arrest warrants
  • grant bail.

Justice of the Peace (Qualified)

A Justice of the Peace (Qualified), or JP (Qual), has all of the responsibilities of Commissioners for Declarations, as well as several judicial duties, both ‘non-bench’ and ‘minor bench’.

Two JPs (Qual)—or a JP (Qual) and a JP (Mag Ct)—can form a magistrates court to deal with specific matters.

A JP (Qual) can:

  • issue search warrants
  • issue arrest warrants
  • grant bail
  • witness documents
  • witness statutory declarations
  • witness affidavits
  • witness and administer oaths and affirmations
  • certify a true copy of an original document.

Justice of the Peace (Magistrates Court)

A Justice of the Peace (Magistrates Court), or JP (Mag Ct), has all of the duties and responsibilities of the previous 2 roles, with an additional power.

Two JPs (Mag Ct) can form a magistrates court to deal with guilty pleas for simple offences.

A JP (Mag Ct) can:

  • issue search warrants
  • issue arrest warrants
  • grant bail
  • witness documents
  • witness statutory declarations
  • witness affidavits
  • witness and administer oaths and affirmations
  • certify a true copy of an original document

Expectations of JPs and Cdecs

It is the role and responsibility of JPs and Cdecs to act as a check and balance on the powers of state authorities, including the Queensland Police Service.

What to expect from a JP or Cdec

  • A fair and indiscriminate experience
  • That their personal beliefs won’t impact their witnessing duties
  • A free witnessing service
  • Respect for your privacy and confidentiality

You won’t receive legal advice—they are not legally qualified to advise you on your legal matter.

You will be questioned—a JP or Cdec will ensure you understand the document you are bringing. They can refuse to sign or witness a document if they are not satisfied you understand it.

What a JP or Cdec expects of you

In return, a JP or Cdec expects that you will:

  • understand the form you are asking them to witness, and its consequences
  • bring all required identification and supporting documents
  • be patient—JPs and Cdecs are volunteers giving their time to assist you
  • respect the time they spend assisting you.

If you need a signature witnessed, do not bring pre-signed documents. The JP or Cdec needs to see the signing take place.

A JP or Cdec will not witness a blank document.