Articles > Litigation

Where would I find a Justice of peace or a Notary Public?

June 20, 2022   Maria MubeenPhilip Evangelou

Chances are if you need to sign a legally binding document a Justice of Peace (JP) or  notary public may be needed. A JP or a Notary public is someone who is authorised to witness the signing of a statutory declaration or affidavit. 

Justice of Peace 

The primary role of a Justice of peace is to:

  • Witness statutory declarations, oaths or affidavits
  • Certify copies of original documents

 A JP is appointed by the governor of their state and works in a voluntary position. They are an independent witness that oversees the execution of signing official legally binding documents. Due to the importance of their role they are restricted from doing the following:

  • Charging a fees 
  • Refusal of service unreasonably 
  • Assist in the creation of statutory documents 
  • Provide any legal advice during their role as a JP 

Where do I find a justice of peace?

The NSW government provides citizens with a JP public register that can be easily accessed online. The website allows you to customise your search for a JP by selecting your preferred suburb, day, time and language. The NSW government website can be accessed through this link: 

Notary Public 

A Notary public is able to execute all roles that a JP is able to do however they are not restricted by Australian jurisdiction. A Notary Public is recognised both within Australia and internationally. They also have an official seal that is recognised in Australian, foreign and international courts. A notary public primary role is to:

  • Witness documents 
  • Administer oaths
  • Certify copies of original documents.

Where do I find a notary public?

The Notary Locator website is the primary source of finding a Notary across Australia. Like the JP register it also allows you to customise your search by suburb and language. The website can be accessed through this link: 

Main differences of JP and Notary Public 

Justice of PeaceNotary Public 
Recognised throughout Australia Yes Yes 
Recognised overseasNo Yes 
Certify identity YesYes
Have there own official sealNoYes
Witness affidavits and statutory declaration Yes Yes 
Provide international recognised documents No Yes 

Key takeaways

Both a JP and Notary Public are able to witness statutory declarations and affidavits. If you require international recognition then a Notary Public would be of better assistance for such a matter. There are hundreds of JPs and Notary Publics available depending on your preferences and are all easily found through the locator websites.

About Maria Mubeen

Avatar photoMaria is a legal intern at Openlegal and is currently in her third year studying Law and Business at UTS. Her interests are commercial law, contract law, and litigation.

About Philip Evangelou

phillipPhil is a director at OpenLegal. He has over 16 years experience working in private practice and in-house counsel in Sydney and London, giving him expertise in employment law, IP, finance, leases, dispute resolution, insurance and contracts.