Justice of the Peace

Justice of the Peace

Also known as a JP, a Justice of the Peace is a judicial officer who can perform a number of specified judicial duties within the Province of Nova Scotia.

Below are some frequently asked questions about Justices of the Peace:

  1. What can a Justice of the Peace do?
  2. How can I find a Justice of the Peace?
  3. How does a person get appointed as an Administrative Justice of the Peace?
  4. Can a Justice of the Peace perform a marriage ceremony?
  5. How can I make a complaint about a Justice of the Peace?

 


1. What can a Justice of the Peace do?

A Justice of the Peace can administer oaths, perform weddings, and conduct trials, among other duties. In Nova Scotia, there are three different types of JPs:

a) Administrative Justice of the Peace

These are private citizens who have been appointed by the Minister of Justice. Administrative JPs do not have a law degree and are not employed by the Department of Justice. The sole role of an administrative JP is to perform civil weddings in and for the province of Nova Scotia.

b) Presiding Justice of the Peace

Presiding JPs must be practicing, or formerly practicing, lawyers who have a minimum of five years of practice experience. These people may be appointed on a full-time or part-time basis. They are authorized to perform duties related to some criminal law matters. These include issuing warrants and conducting arraignments and trials for some types of cases.

c) Staff Justice of the Peace

These people are employed by the Court Services Division of the Department of Justice and work primarily in Justice Centres. They are appointed by the Minister of Justice to serve as a JP while they are employed with Court Services or until their appointment is revoked. Staff JPs have many of the same powers as presiding JPs with some qualifications and exceptions. Some Staff JPs are also authorized to perform civil weddings.

2. How can I find a Justice of the Peace?

Click here to find a JP.

3. How does a person get appointed as an Administrative Justice of the Peace?

If you wish to preside over a civil wedding, please email civilweddings@novascotia.ca. Applications for single wedding appointments will be accepted and processed. Please submit applications at least four months in advance of the wedding date as the application process involves completion of the application form, provision of a criminal record check, two letters of reference, a current resume, an interview, and an application fee. Once interviews are completed, recommendation is made to the Minister of Justice with respect to appointment.

Applications for term appointments will no longer be processed

4. Can a Justice of the Peace perform a marriage ceremony?

Yes, a JP who has the proper training may be authorized to perform civil wedding ceremonies. Contact your local Justice Centre to find out more information about being married by a JP.

For more information about civil weddings, click here.

5. How can I make a complaint about a Justice of the Peace?

There is a different complaints process for each of the JP categories. See below for more details on each.

a) Administrative Justices of the Peace

Complaints should be made in writing and directed to the court administrator at your local Justice Centre. The court administrator may be able to resolve your complaint or may forward it to a director in the Court Services Division of the Department of Justice. For contact information, click here.

b) Presiding Justices of the Peace

Complaints should be made in writing and directed to the Chief Judge of the Provincial and Family Courts of Nova Scotia at
277 Pleasant Street, Suite, Suite 200
Dartmouth, NS B2Y 4B7

c) Staff Justices of the Peace

Complaints may be made in writing and directed to the court administrator at your local Justice Centre. The court administrator may be able to resolve your complaint or they may forward it to a director in the Court Services Division of the Department of Justice.

Click here to download our Public Complaints Brochure which includes a form you must fill out in order to lodge a complaint.

Click here to locate Justice Centres.