Code of Conduct Date Updated: Oct 2022 


All Honorary Justices are required to operate under the Code of Conduct as specified in the Honorary Justices Act 2014. This act is administered by the Department of Justice and Community Safety and the Code of Conduct can be found at justices

Members of the Royal Victorian Association of Honorary Justices (RVAHJ) are expected to conduct themselves in a manner appropriate to their office and within the guidelines of the Honorary Justices Act 2014.


The purpose of this policy is to ensure all members of RVAHJ are aware of the requirements of the Honorary Justices Act and adhere to the guidelines set down in that Code of Conduct. Our policy is also binding for members, employees and volunteers of RVAHJ.


3.1. Personal Propriety and Behaviour.
3.1.1.All members, employees and volunteers of RVAHJ will at all times act in a manner which will not bring the RVAHJ into disrepute. As Honorary Justices not only should we ensure honesty, integrity and impartiality but should display the traits of courtesy, punctuality, empathy, transparency and respect. Members should also comply with the law and conduct themselves in a manner to promote public confidence in the role of RVAHJ. They are to avoid behaviour, which might negatively reflect on or undermine the impartiality, fairness or character of the honorary justice system.
3.1.2.Members of RVAHJ are to always act impartially, not allowing judicial conduct or decisions to be influenced by their family, social or other circumstances.
3.1.3.Members of RVAHJ are not to convey, or permit others to convey, the impression that they are in a special position of influence.

3.2. Judicial Responsibilities
3.2.1.Members of RVAHJ are to give due precedence to their judicial and administrative duties, without undue detriment to their personal or business life, unswayed by partisan interests, public clamour, fear of criticism or appeal.
3.2.2.Members of RVAHJ are to perform judicial duties without bias or prejudice.
3.2.3 Members of RVAHJ are to comply with the requirements of the law and be faithful to that law.
3.2.4. Honorary Justices are to maintain order and decorum in proceedings before them and accord to every person who is legally interested in a proceeding, full right to be heard according to law.
3.2.5. Honorary Justices should abstain from public comment about any matters or proceedings subject to their jurisdiction.

3.3. Disqualification
3.3.1. Honorary Justices are to disqualify themselves from any proceedings in which their impartiality might reasonably be questioned.
3.3.2. Where a Conflict of Interest may occur, this must be declared, and the person act accordingly with the policies of the RVAHJ.

3.4. Administrative Responsibilities
3.4.1. Honorary Justices are to diligently discharge their administrative responsibilities and remain professionally competent through ongoing training.

3.5. Financial Dealings and Gifts
3.5.1. Honorary Justices must not accept or receive any monies or goods in kind for performing judicial or administrative duties.
3.5.2. Honorary Justices will refrain from financial and business dealings that tend to reflect adversely on their impartiality, interfere with the proper performance of their judicial duties, or exploit their judicial position and information acquired by Honorary Justices in their capacity as an Honorary Justice will not be used or disclosed by them in any way.

3.6. Legal Advice
3.6.1. Honorary Justices must not give any legal advice to any person whatsoever, unless they are also a qualified legal practitioner.

3.7. Public Activity
3.7.1. When acting in their capacity as an Honorary Justice, or when using their title, they are to refrain from public comment or activity in relation to politics.

3.8. Relationship with Informant & Accused
3.8.1. Honorary Justices are to act impartially between the informant and accused.
3.8.2. Honorary Justices must, as far as possible, refrain from personal relationships with people with whom, an association would bring Honorary Justices into disrepute.

3.9. Relationship with the Media
3.9.1. Honorary Justices are expected to avoid identification (in the media) in relation to their judicial duties.

3.10. Misconduct by other Justices
3.10.1. Honorary Justices, having knowledge, based upon reasonable and sustained grounds, that another member has acted in a manner detrimental to the integrity and/or independence of the Judiciary, both administrative or judicial, should report the matter to the DoJCS and the RVAHJ, in writing.

3.11. Ethics
3.11.1. RVAHJ members must respect and comply with all issues raised in this Code of Conduct. The RVAHJ Ethics Committee will consider any alleged issue of misconduct of a member submitted in writing. Honorary Justices so named will make themselves available to address any such allegation and accept the resultant decision.

Professional standards Overview: Oct 2022 

Introduction :

Appointees to the offices of Justice of the Peace and Bail Justice come from various and representative sectors of our community and consequently from a variety of vocations, educational and cultural backgrounds and achievements. This could be regarded as influencing the manner in which they might carry out their duties.

This overview provides basic guidelines for the performance of duties by Honorary Justices to ensure that a high and consistent standard of behaviour is maintained.

In addition to what is set out in this overview, regard should be given to the law and to policy documents prepared by the Department of Justice and Community Safety and the Royal Victorian Association of Honorary Justices.

The office of Honorary Justice has been in existence for eight hundred years, but will only survive in the future through beneficial and necessary service to the community. It is therefore necessary to maintain a positive community perception of the office and to make appropriate changes to the manner in which officers carry out their duties.

Although the office is honorary, Justices of the Peace and Bail Justices must carry out their duties in a professional manner and fulfil all lawful obligations.

Factors to be considered in detail


The oath of office includes the obligation to administer the law ‘without fear or favour.’ It is vital that justice is done and is seen to be done. A perception of bias for or against any person is not acceptable.


The oath of allegiance obliges Bail Justices and Justices of the Peace to uphold the common law and law made by Parliament.


This area is covered by publications and documents of both the Department of Justice and Community Safety and the Royal Victorian Association of Honorary Justices. They set standards that are perceived as necessary to maintain appropriate respect for the office of Honorary Justice.

From time to time breaches of these codes of behaviour may occur which require investigation and subsequent action. Any member aware of such breaches or allegations of such breaches is duty bound initially to bring the matter before the DJCS and or RVAHJs ethics committee.

The actions and conduct of individual Justices not only reflects on themselves, but also on others holding such offices. This is why it is essential to act in accordance with proper standards.

A courteous, knowledgeable and fair approach is most effective in establishing and Professional standards for maintaining the necessary authority for carrying out the duties of an Honorary Justice with appropriate dignity.


It is essential that Honorary Justices receive constant education and development training, both formally and informally. This will ensure that the service that Honoray Justices offer to the wider community is undertaken by properly trained people. Unless this is done, there is the danger that Honorary Justices will cease to relate to community needs and become part of history.

It is the responsibility of Honorary Justices to be involved in the formal development training sessions that are offered from time to time.

Informal development training is made available through special interest groups and peer group discussions as well as through seminars on related issues.

Honorary Justices are informed of the details of legislative change by both the Department of Justice and Community Safety and the RVAHJ. 


The publicity given to Honorary Justices through media coverage is often adverse or, at best negative. Because of this it becomes all the more important that the manner, bearing and attitude displayed by Honorary Justices should correct any misconceptions by the general community and leave a positive impression of the office.

This public perception is formed from all the experiences people have of Honorary Justices in both their official and private capacities.

The service required of an Honorary Justice usually relates to a serious and important event in which the community member is involved. This includes even the more straightforward witnessing of documents. The environment, therefore, as well as the process of dealing with the matter, must reflect the professionalism and dignity necessary to leave the community member with a feeling of satisfaction and understanding. Failure to achieve this may jeopardise the perception of the relevance of the office and contribute to the introduction of alternative methods of dealing with matters that are now the concern of Honorary Justices.

Even in the more serious case of dealing with the removal of a person’s liberty, it is generally possible to have the defendant understand the reasons for the decision and reluctantly accept it as just. The adoption of appropriate professional standards will ensure a maximisation of positive results.

Where the service is provided in the Honorary Justice’s work or home environment, special attention should be given to ensure that the facilities are private and away from members of the family, pets and other distracting influences. The highest dignity should be afforded the situation.

In the case of remand hearings similar principles should be applied to ensure that both the Honorary Justice and the facilities are clean, neat and tidy and afforded the dignity and respect of any other Court.

The impression left on the participants as a result of the appearance, conduct and knowledge of the Honorary Justice will be lasting and should be as positive as possible.


Though it is essential to maintain control of proceedings in order to deliver the desired level and quality of service, it is also vital that the participants in any process are left with the impression that they have been dealt with justly. As has been mentioned earlier, justice must not only be done, but be seen to be done.

Consequently the excessive use of authority by the Honorary Justice is as potentially harmful to a positive response as the exercising of too little or no authority when the situation calls for the opposite.

Authority is most effectively exercised through the practice of professional standards in a courteous, knowledgeable and efficient manner as has been outlined in this paper.


For the purposes of the Bail Act the hearing is regarded as the procedure of a Court. The location must therefore be suitable for a Court, with consideration being given to factors such as noise, human traffic, the possibility of interruption, security, and the cleanliness and comfort of the facilities used for the conduct of the hearing. The conduct of the court is vested in the Honorary Justice; security is a police responsibility; the physical and mental condition of the participants is a Forensic Medical Officer responsibility.

It is important that all matters to be considered in the hearing be given only in the presence of all the participants. It should thus be established as soon as possible who the interested parties are and that they are all present.

Either sworn or unsworn evidence may be given. Taking sworn evidence may assist in ensuring a balance for participants.

The Honorary Justice should ensure that any documents that should be filled in by them are done by him or herself, or prepared under the Honorary Justice’s direction and not completed previously by the police.


Honorary Justices should keep accurate records only as indicated by legislation of their duties that they have undertaken, in particular remand hearings, in case such duties need to be referred to in later Court proceedings. To do this it is strongly recommended that Honorary Justices acquire the relevant record forms from the Department of Justice and Community Safety or the RVAHJ.


It is the community perception of the office of Honorary Justice that is the single biggest factor in determining the relevance of the office.

Only as long as the community is satisfied with the service delivered by Honorary Justices, will those in Government continue to provide appropriate roles for Honorary Justices and thus enable an eight hundred year old tradition to continue.

Technology is rapidly changing many of the traditional methods and practices of Honorary Justices. This is why Honorary Justices must continually review their performance and compare this with community needs and expectations. 

Postnominals and the use of the letters “JP”

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.

The position of the RVAHJ reflects the Code of Conduct issued by the Department of Justice and Community Safety, in Victoria which states that titles should not be used to advertise or advance, or appear to advertise or advance, business, commercial or personal interests.

We have seen that this can often be a matter of perception and interpretation and, in the case of municipal elections, the argument has been made that it might be appropriate for a candidate, wishing to demonstrate their community involvement, to include their honorary activities.

It should also be noted that there are also differences between the various states in Australia.  In the end, if in doubt then contact the respective Department of Justice in each State for clarification for a specific situation.


Register Feedback  or Complaints


All Honorary Justices are required to operate under the Code of Conduct as specified in the Honorary Justices Act 2014. This act is administered by the Department of Justice and Community Safety and the Code of Conduct can be found at justices

Members of the Royal Victorian Association of Honorary Justices (RVAHJ) are expected to conduct themselves in a manner appropriate to their office and within the guidelines of the Honorary Justices Act 2014. Any complaints in regards to the service provided as a Authorised Witness according to the Honorary Justices Act 2014 should be lodged with the Department of Justice and Communicty Safety.

The RVAHJ policy for complaints is intended to ensure that we handle complaints fairly, efficiently, and effectively. This provides guidance to our members and people who wish to make a complaint on the key principles and concepts of our complaint management system.


This policy applies to all staff (paid and volunteer), contractors and our Board of Directors Members and Branches receiving or managing complaints from the public and clients made to or about us, regarding our products, services, members and staff, or our complaint handling process.


RVAHJ expects Board Members, Branches, members and staff at all levels to be committed to fair, effective and efficient complaint handling. The following table outlines the nature of the commitment expected from staff and the way that commitment should be implemented.

Who Commitment How
Board of Directors Promote a culture that values complaints and their effective resolution

·         Report to the RVAHJ Board on complaint handling.

·         Provide adequate support and direction to key staff responsible for handling complaints.

·         Regularly review reports about complaint trends and issues arising from complaints.

·         Encourage everyone to be alert to complaints and assist those responsible for handling complaints to resolve them promptly.

·         Encourage staff to make recommendations for system improvements.

·         Support recommendations for service, staff and complaint handling improvements arising from the analysis of complaint data.

Staff whose duties include complaint handling Demonstrate exemplary complaint handling practices

·         Treat all people with respect, including people who make complaints.

·         Assist people to make a complaint, if needed.

·         Comply with our policy and associated procedures.

·         Provide regular feedback to management and/or the governing body on issues arising from complaints.

·         Provide suggestions to management on ways to improve our complaints management system.

·         Implement changes arising from individual complaints and from the analysis of complaint data as directed by management.

All members and staff


Understand and comply with our complaint handling practices.

·         Treat all people with respect, including people who make complaints.

·         Be aware of our complaint handling policies and procedures.

·         Assist people who wish to make complaints access our complaints process.

·         Be alert to complaints and assist staff handling complaints resolve matters promptly.


  • Early resolution
    • Where possible, complaints will be resolved at first contact with us.
    • When appropriate we may offer an explanation or apology to the person making the complaint.
  • Responsiveness
    • We will promptly acknowledge receipt of complaints.
    • We will assess and prioritise complaints in accordance with the urgency and/or seriousness of the issues raised. If a matter concerns an immediate risk to safety or security the response will be immediate and will be escalated appropriately.
    • We are committed to managing people’s expectations, and will inform them as soon as possible, of the following:
      • the complaints process
      • the expected time frames for our actions
      • the progress of the complaint and reasons for any delay
      • their likely involvement in the process, and
      • the possible or likely outcome of their complaint.
    • We will advise people as soon as possible when we are unable to deal with any part of their complaint and provide advice about where such issues and/or complaints may be directed (if known and appropriate).
    • We will also advise people as soon as possible when we are unable to meet our time frames for responding to their complaint and the reason for our delay.


To make a complaint please click on the following link and fill out the details on the page:

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