The following is a summary of the steps required for accessing remote witnessing services from an Authorised Witness. This information is based on the updated Miscellaneous Legislation 2021 and associated Regulations provided by the Department of Justice and Community Safety and Honorary Justice Service Support.
The remote witnessing service provided by the Royal Victorian Association of Honorary Justices (RVAHJ) are provided at not cost to the Community of Victoria. Honorary Justices do not charge for their time as they are volunteers. This service is funded by the RVAHJ which is a registered Charity and we would like to expand this service.
Changes have been made to allow for some documents to be witnessed remotely to maintain physical distancing to help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), i.e:
- Common Documents for Justices of the Peace & Bail Justices (called Honorary Justices)
- statutory declarations
- powers of attorney documents
- It is not possible to remotely certify copies of original documents
- Regulations do not include Advance Care Directives or appointments of Medical Treatment Decision Makers.
2. Limited Documents for Honorary Justices
- deeds and mortgages
- wills, codicils and other testamentary instruments.
To book your remote session with a Honorary Justice (JP / BJ) please click the button below to go to an online booking calendar…
- You will receive a confirmation email with a Zoom meeting invitation for the session
- Please make sure you have all paperwork ready prior to the session, all documents filled out before hand but not signed.
- Additional information on the remote process is listed below for your information.
- Please make sure that you have the necessary equipment to scan and send documents by email as needed. If you are using a Smart Phone only, then we suggest using the free App – ADOBE SCAN
- General information on the face to face general process and preparation of documents is also listed below for reference. It provides a checklist and several videos to help understand what to expect when visiting a Honorary Justice.
General Principles for Remote Witnessing & Electronic Signatures
In practice, conducting remote transactions involves having access to appropriate technology and comfort using that technology (both hardware and software) to conduct remote transactions in a safe and appropriate way. Legislation provides a new method of viewing a document, but does not change the purpose of viewing a document. However, to undertake remote transactions you will need appropriate electronic equipment with an internet connection.
Type of equipment needed to run a remote witnessing session could be:
- A personal computer, a tablet device such as iPad or tablet
- a mobile device such as a smart phone
Any of these devices should have at least a microphone (for audio-only communication), or with a microphone and camera (for audio-visual communication). This is for both you as well as the authorised witness so as to complete the remote witnessing procedure.
Process for ‘signing and transmitting’
Simplest method using an example of remote witnessing a Statutory Declaration
The following steps must occur on the same day:
- Declarant (member of general public who needs the document) prepares the statutory declaration prior to meeting the authorised witness online
- Sign the statutory declaration, this must happen once the AV (Audio Visual) link is connected.
- sign or initial page(s)
- say the declaration out loud as indicated by the Authorised Person
- sign and date the final page
- sign and date each certificate (if any) for attachments
- Send electronically the signed declaration and certificates and documents (if any) to the witness.
- Witness then:
- signs the statutory declaration and certificates (if any);
An example of a valid statementis:
Witnessed by AV per COVID-19Omnibus Regs 2020.
- writes a statement that the document was witnessed via audio-visual link for both the statutory declaration and for each certificate (if any)
- Send electronically the signed declaration and certificates and documents (if any) to the declarant
- Declarant then adds:
- at the end of the statutory declaration and bottom of every certificate (if any) that gets back from the witness the statement(s):
True copy of statutory declaration made by me [your full name]. Witnessed by AV per COVID-19 Omnibus Regs 2020.
The declarant must sign underneath the statement and provide the date.
The statutory declaration is now complete.
Face-to-Face Witnessing Overview
To assist in preparing for your visit to an honorary justice, you may find watching the videos below helpful in ensuring you have everything prepared to enable your documents to be signed by the honorary justice.
MAKE YOUR VISIT TO A JP QUICK AND EASY
* Check that a JP can complete your documentation
* Remember to take the original and copy to be certified
* Take photo identification just in case
* Do not sign anything beforehand
* There is no charge for JP services
* << Check out the full checklist here >>
If you are a JP and a member of RVAHJ, you may change your details online in the members’ area. If you are not a member of RVAHJ and you would like to join please contact our administrator. JPs are also available at many police stations and community centres across the state. Click here for your nearest signing centre.
Thank you to RVAHJ Training Team and the Honorary Justice Office for producing and making available the videos below.