The Honorary Justices’ Association of Tasmania (the HJAT) was formed on the 2 September 1925 at a community meeting held at the Launceston Town Hall.
The HJAT is one of three Tasmanian associations representing the interests of justices of the peace throughout the State, each one centred roughly on the former 02, 03 & 04 regional telephone districts.
The HJAT has approximately 200 justice of the peace members throughout northern Tasmania. Membership is open to all serving justices of the peace and retired members wishing to continue their interest in the Association.
The main objects of the HJAT, expressed in greater detail in the Association’s Constitution (a revised Constitution was adopted in 2019), are:
- To promote and support the interests of all justices of the peace;
- To consider and advise members on matters of practice, usage and responsibilities as they affect justices of the peace;
- To acquire and distribute information on matters of interest to justices of the peace through the Association’s Journal, this website and by holding regular refresher training sessions for members;
- To make recommendations to government via the Attorney General and Department of Justice on matters affecting the operation and administration of justices of the peace in Tasmania.
The environment in which justices of the peace perform their role today is far different to that which existed when the HJAT was first formed in 1925. The duties, responsibilities and knowledge required have expanded and continue to expand considerably. Notwithstanding that a justice of the peace is voluntary and receives no remuneration for the position, it is vital that justices of the peace keep themselves abreast of changes affecting them.
One of the most effective ways to do this is by belonging to one of the three Tasmanian JP organisations.
Recognising this, the HJAT places strong emphasis on professional development for its members. The Association’s quarterly Journal and regular Level One refresher courses are important tools in providing PD. Over time, this new website will also have a similar role in disseminating information and advice.
Like its sister JP organisations in Tasmania, the HJAT has no role in the selection or appointment of justices of peace. Nor will it make any representations to the Attorney General in favour of any applicant. The HJAT is, however, a training provider for the Department of Justice and delivers the Level One to successful applicants as a prerequisite to being sworn in as a JP.
Since 2003 the HJAT has had an office in Launceston, firstly at Henty House, and since August 2019, at the C H Smith Centre in Lower Charles Street. The office is provided by the state government but also serves as the Association’s headquarters and, through a roster of members, provides a regular daily service to those in the community requiring the services of a justice of the peace. It has become an integral part of the Association’s activities with up to 30,000 documents being witnessed or certified each year.