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Bills passed to expand justices of the peace functions

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

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THE House of Representatives recently passed two companion Bills to expand the functions of justices of the peace (JPs).

Minister of Justice Delroy Chuck, piloted the Justices of the Peace Bill and the Renaming of the Courts of Petty Sessions (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill.

The Justices of the Peace Bill, which was passed with 27 amendments, provides for codifying the selection, appointment, discipline, regulation, and code of conduct of JPs.

Clause 5 provides guidance on the appointment of JPs, Clause 7 imposes a duty on the JPs to observe the Code of Conduct or face being penalised for misconduct, and Clause 8 removes the restrictions to serve only in the JP's parish of residence.

In terms of the Courts of Petty Sessions (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill, Clause 2 provides for the renaming of the Courts of Petty Sessions to the Lay Magistrates' Courts.

A decision has been taken to rename the Courts of Petty Sessions as 'Lay Magistrates Courts' pursuant to a recommendation made by the Justice Reform Taskforce, and the Bill seeks to give effect to that decision.

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