Justices of the Peace celebrate 200 years

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The North Otago association of Justices of the Peace will acknowledge its national federation’s 200th year of serving the public at their annual general meeting tonight.

The national president of the Royal Federation of New Zealand Justices’ Associations Inc. will be attending the meeting.

2014 is The Year of Justices of the Peace in New Zealand, 200 years on from the appointment of Thomas Kendall as the first JP for New Zealand on November 12,1814.

Lewis Gillies, Oamaru, said there are 55 members in the North Otago association but not all are practicing JPs. He said the federation does not distinguish between those who are retired and practicing which can sometimes be confusing for the public.

Mr Gillies said a JP is available every Tuesday at the WINZ building, Oamaru, from 11am-1pm or people can go online at www.justiceof thepeace.co.nz to see who is practicing in this district.

JPs voluntarily make themselves available to identify and certify documents. They also take afadavits and do other judicial work, Mr Gillies said, and this type of work has increased since the closure of the Oamaru Couthouse.

The North Otago association was formed in 1925.

By LINDA MCCARTHY

PHOTO: LINDA MCCARTHY – Lewis Gillies of the North Otago branch of the Royal Federation of New Zealand Justices’ Associations.