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Royal Association of Justices
of South Australia Inc.

The state body for South Australia representing Justices of the Peace.

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Patron: His Excellency the Honourable Hieu Van Le AC, Governor of South Australia.
Vice Patrons: The Right Honourable The Lord Mayor; The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court

History of JPs

The origin of Justices of the Peace has been traced back to Britain when in 1195, King Richard the Lionheart commissioned certain knights to preserve the peace in unruly areas. They were responsible to the King for ensuring that the law was upheld and were known as Custodes Pacis (Keepers of the Peace). The Custodes Pacis were the forefathers of Justices of the Peace.

During the early 1320s, Keepers of the Peace were appointed in each county, and by the 1340s these keepers had powers to hear and determine trespasses and punish offenders. The title, Justice of the Peace, derives from 1361 during the reign of Edward III, making the office one of the oldest in the common law system.

Over time, Justices of the Peace in Britain were authorised to perform functions ranging from hearing and determining offences to licensing public houses. Justices of the Peace in Australia today play a more limited role and have little in common with their earlier British counterparts.

Justices of the Peace were recognised in the Australian colonies from 1788, and the first Justice of the Peace was appointed after the settlement of South Australia in 1836. 

There are no national Justices of the Peace in Australia. Each state and territory has its own legislation to regulate the appointment and powers of Justices of the Peace. The functions of the office are different from state to state and witnessing requirements also differ between jurisdictions.

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In South Australia, the formation of a Justices Association was first suggested about the year 1897 and assumed practical shape on Aug 8th 1898 when, at a large meeting of Justices held in the Town Hall Reception Room and presided over by the Mayor of Adelaide, Mr Chas Tucker MP, it was resolved on the motion of Mr J B Champion, that a Justices’ Association be formed, to be worked upon the lines of the Municipal Association and other local institutions for the purpose, inter alia, of assisting Justices to acquire a more correct knowledge of their duties. 

The formal inauguration of the Justices’ Association was held on May 24th 1899 in the Banqueting Room of the Adelaide Town Hall where the President, Alderman Mr Chas. Tucker MP, presided over a large attendance. The Chief Justice, the Right Honourable Sir Samuel Way PC, DCL,LlD, kindly delivered a most interesting address.
He said the objects of the Association necessarily appealed to him as it appealed to his learned colleagues. He willingly bore testimony from his own judicial experience to the conscientiousness and intelligence with which the duties of Justices are generally discharged and hoped the Association would tend to a still more satisfactory administration of Justice by setting its members higher ideals, inspiring a deeper sense of responsibility and promoting knowledge and efficiency.

The Chief Justice concluded his lengthy address by stating that he had pleasure in declaring the Association duly constituted. Thus the Association was born. Subscriptions were set at 10/- per member per year.


Business Hours

Mon - Frid  
10am to 4pm
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Ph: 08 8297 4044 
Address: Blg 8, 300 Richmond Rd Netley. South Australia 
Postal Address:  
PO Box 219 Adelaide Airport SA 5950
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