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18. Interstate and Overseas Documents

Justice of the Peace Handbook

In Victoria, JPs are appointed under the Honorary Justices Act 2014. As JPs ordinarily reside in Victoria, your main function is to witness documents in Victoria.

18.1 Other States and Territories of Australia

When the documents are to be used in Australia, you can witness many documents created under the laws of the Commonwealth, including documents made under the following Commonwealth acts:

Most organisations will provide instructions or guidelines as to who can witness a document and by what method.

If a person requires a document to be witnessed for use interstate, and the document does not expressly state that a Victorian JP may act as a witness, you or the person requiring the document should enquire directly with the organisation that requires the document.

Other Countries

You should be cautious about witnessing documents for use in other countries. Whilst some overseas countries accept JPs as witnesses, others are not familiar with the concept of a JP. Unless you can establish that you have authority to witness, you should refer the person to a Notary Public or to the embassy or consulate office of the document issuing country.  

Check before you witness

Although it is the responsibility of the person making the document to ensure a JP is authorised to witness a document, it is worth checking. It is an inconvenience if an interstate or overseas document has been witnessed by a JP and an interstate or overseas authority has not accepted it.