Newly appointed Justices of the Peace frequently ask about the use of the letters 'JP' and where these letters should be positioned in relation to honours, academic and professional qualifications.

Recently, the Office of the Lord Chancellor of England issued re-written instructions on the use of the letters 'JP' which should answer those questions.

"Justices are entitled to use the letters 'JP' after their name and it is proper for the letters to be inserted after Royal Honours at all times but preceding academic, professional and other qualifications, eg. John Smith, OBE, JP, MEc, AASA, AFAIM.

Although it is customary for the letters 'JP' to be placed after the name of a Justice of the Peace, the proprietary of doing so in personal correspondence, and in connection with social functions is acceptable provided that the principle referred to below of not using or appearing to use the status of justice to advance trade, professional or business interests, is not violated.

It is also proper for the suffix 'JP', or the description 'Justice of the Peace', to be used where the justice is acting or signing as such. Exception would not be taken to the letters appearing after the names of directors of public companies on a public prospectus or in any annual report to shareholders.

On the other hand these letters should not appear on business cards, business or professional notepaper, or in commercial advertisements, as the principle behind the restrictions is that no-one should be given the impression, however unintentionally, that the office of Justice of the Peace is being used for furtherance of trade, profession or business interests.

It is also improper for the letters to appear on cheques, driving licences or other personal documents, and the magisterial status of an officer of a local authority should not be referred to upon its official notepaper.

Lastly the fact that a person is a Justice of the Peace must not be mentioned in, or on, any papers which relate to the candidature of the justice in parliamentary or local government elections, and such justices should ensure that their agents are aware of this."

For some time there has been some uncertainty as to the proprietary of electoral candidates permitting publicity material to record their appointments as justices. The rewritten instructions now make it quite clear that such is not permitted.

"The general policy adopted in New South Wales, is not to permit the use of the letters for the same reasons as outlined in the above article."

The Honourable John Hannaford MLC
Attorney General and Minister for Justice
27 September 1993

The above article is reprinted here from the NSW Justices Association Journal, 'The Justice of the Peace', November 1993, (page 30). It is reproduced here for the benefit and information of J'sP and the public at large.


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