Notes and Actions

Reports of actions undertaken by participants between meetings. See also our short notes site.

Notes from Meeting Tue 2 May 2017

posted May 2, 2017, 9:37 PM by Michael Rees   [ updated May 3, 2017, 4:31 PM ]


Tuesday 2 May 2017 at 2.30 pm in the Community Room opposite Gloria Jeans, Emerald Lakes
 
Present: Jenny, Rosa, Michael, Carol J, George, Bruce

Michael is thanked for these notes

Search warrants for bank records

Jenny saw the discussion of whether JPs can sign certain types of applications for Search Warrants in the QJA Journal (Volume 14 number 1, Q6). A fellow JP she was signing with was faced the next day with a Search Warrant application for bank records. Jointly they decided not to witness the warrant and the superior officer was subsequently contacted. That officer referred to the Qld Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000 and determined a JP could witness the warrant. This contradicts the answer from the QJA. Bruce will follow up with JP Branch.

JP Branch lost ID reminder email

On 4 April we received a reminder from JP Branch on how to proceed taking a Stat Dec when the declarant had lost all ID (perhaps in a flood). Michael reminded us that Tech Bulletin 01/13 reminds us to write the words 'Identification was not sighted' on the Stat Dec as well as recording this on our log books.

QJA E-newsletter for April 2017

Michael produced a short report highlighting the main information in the April 2017 newsletter from the QJA. It contains a link to a very useful summary document about the recent changes to the Qld Mental Health Act 2016.

Location on Family Law Documents

Maureen brought up an interesting case of a client not wishing the exact location to appear on an affidavit for the Family Law Court for fear of the spouse being aware of the exact location. After consideration the location was specified as 'Queensland'. This topic sparked intense discussion with the majority view being that the exact location should have been specified. More research is needed on this point.

External assessment invigilators

A message from the JP Branch alerted us to the QCAA calling for external assessment invigilators. This was noted.

Visual ID for women wearing clothing that covers the face

While not a requirement in Qld Bruce raised the issue of how to proceed when photo ID needs to be checked for a women wearing clothing that obscures the face. He will research this further.

Deponent who cannot understand wording of Stat Dec

This raised another lengthy discussion. The outcome was that a JP should refuse to witness a Stat Dec when the declarant was not able to read and understand the statement. If another person is present and claims to translate for the declarant that person should be asked to provide a Stat Dec to that effect to be kept by the JP. This in the absence of a certified interpreter being available.

Other Business

Look out for an upcoming workshop on Affidavits from the QJA.


Next meeting 6 June 2017 at 2.30 pm in the usual location

Notes from meeting 4 April 2017

posted Apr 4, 2017, 1:19 AM by Michael Rees   [ updated May 1, 2017, 7:08 PM ]


Thanks to Michael for these notes

Tuesday 4 April 2017 at 2.30 pm in the Community Room opposite Gloria Jeans, Emerald Lakes.
Present: Linda, Carol, Judy, Maureen, Jenny, Michael

Topics arising from Notes and Actions

Jenny has agreed the establishment of an informal JP signing site in the Community Room to run from 1 pm to 2.30 pm on the first Tuesday of each month prior to the JPToK meeting. She and Rosa will share the signing between them with other JPToK attendees called upon as needed.

AHD with no attorney

Michael mentioned the case of a principal making an AHD without appointing any attorneys, and without having an EPA. Discussion centred on how the principal would lodge or distribute the AHD to parties that would make use of it. No firm conclusion was reached.

QJA Journal Autumn 2017

Michael discussed his summary report. Apart the informative Q&A pages the main discussion concerned the new Mental Health AHD and Nominated Responsible Person guides and forms. All present perused the forms to gain familiarity.

JP Bulletin Issue 14

Michael went through his summary with a few interesting stats.

QJA Search Warrants Workshop

Carol and Michael had attended the QJA Gold Coast branch meeting on 14 March where the president Keith Revell gave a detailed workshop on search warrants. Michael produced a summary report. Not all points raised by Keith achieved general agreement especially the suggestion that search warrants must only be sworn rather than affirmed.

Signing Sites

With Karina taking over officially as coordinator at Australia Fair there were a number of comments and discussion about her message laying down strict guidelines. We were reminded of the Burleigh team meeting the next day.

Notes from meeting 7 March 2017

posted Mar 10, 2017, 7:06 PM by Michael Rees   [ updated Mar 10, 2017, 7:09 PM ]


Thanks to Kay for these notes

Topics arising from Notes and Actions 17 January 2017

  • Discussion of validity of signing of Stat Decs when signature is above the 'I do solemnly and sincerely...' declaration. Consensus that signature should be placed below declaration.
  • Witnessing identification certificates for money loans. Some JPs are using the disclaimer stamp suggested at January meeting.  It is understood that under the Anti-money Laundering legislation online lending institutions are not able to provide witness identification, hence the onus on JPs.

Abolition of JEO

 Michael provided a summary and the change was seen as positive for JPs.

QJA Gold coast Workshop

In Judy’s absence Michael referred to her notes.
  • EPA The suggestion from the President QJA was that all blank spaces including the blank pages should be z out. 
  • EPA  Kay 
    • Practice has been for Principal and JP to initial changes made prior to signing.  However one bank refused to accept this and insisted on full signatures by the principal and JP, with seal.
    • An attorney who had changed address, removed the pages referring to the attorney and replaced them with the new address.  
  • Discussion whether signatures should be placed on all pages which have been filled out, as per an affidavit to prevent changes after the signing.

From a recent Traffic Infringement Workshop

  • For a notice to a company, the address should be the company address.
  • A new form is being used which states that only an Executive of a company can sign.
  • Certifying copies of passports. Discussion re accepting a copy if some of the round edges were cut off but all printed/image information is present. Consensus that if all information was present then it could be certified.

Signing sites news

Discussion from Pacific Fair, Burleigh, Australia Fair, Griffith Uni and GCUH.

Emerald Lakes Signing site

Emerald Lakes residents would like to have an informal site established. Suggestion that this could be linked to the JPToK for an hour or so prior to meeting.  Jenny to follow up.

Next meeting Tuesday 4 April 2.30 emerald Lakes Community Centre.

Witness certificates

posted Jan 18, 2017, 11:39 PM by Michael Rees   [ updated Jan 18, 2017, 11:41 PM ]


Discussed at our January 2017 meeting, Jenny sent in the following query to Greg at JP Branch:

I have a query regarding certifying identity.
 
As you are aware Banks ask us to certify that we confirm the identity of their mortgage customers which we now do via the JAG produced "Witness Certificate" forms.
 
Lately I have been asked to provide this same type of identity confirmation for online Finance companies on a form produced by that company.  My question is:  Are we as JP's covered legally if we sign these forms or should we have something similar to the Witness Certificate that covers a loan rather than a mortgage?
 
Look forward to your reply

As usual we had a swift response from Greg:

Many thanks for your email.
 
Under the Land Titles Act 1994 (the Act), lender obligations are quite distinct from, and separate to, the obligations on witnesses (including JPs and Cdecs) which come under section 162 of the Act. 
 
With respect to other types of lending (e.g., vehicle finance or unsecured personal loans), again, there is no statutory obligation on a JPQ or Cdec to complete a witness certificate or ID certificate for the lender. JP branch cannot comment on the potential legal liability to which a JPQ or Cdec might be exposed if they do complete such an ID certificate without reviewing the actual document (as these may vary from lender to lender).
 
Accordingly, as it is not a statutory obligation, neither the Justices of the Peace Branch (JP Branch) nor the lender can direct or compel a JP or Cdec to complete a witness certificate/ID certificate on behalf of a lender; this is a decision for the individual JP or Cdec. 
 
For a mortgage matter, if a JP or Cdec does decides not to complete a lender’s Witness Certificate then JP Branch recommends (as you note in your email) they complete the Department of Justice and Attorney-General’s (DJAG) Witness certificate for a mortgagor in Queensland. This certificate contains a disclaimer confirming the JP or Cdec has witnessed the Titles Registry form (and completed an ID check) in line with their section 162 obligations and not as an agent for the lender under section 11A; that is, they are not performing any due diligence role on behalf of the lender. However, again, JP Branch cannot require or compel a JP or Cdec witness to complete the DJAG certificate.
 
If I can be of further assistance, please contact me.
 
Regards & best wishes, Greg.

Jenny and I agreed it would seem beneficial to use a modified form of the Disclaimer stamp for mortgagor ID certificates as it applies to online finance companies who send borrowers our way. A suggested wording might be:

I identified the named borrower from the documents shown. I do not act as agent for the lender and do not relieve the lender from its legal obligations.

Michael R

Notes from meeting 17 January 2017

posted Jan 17, 2017, 3:30 PM by Michael Rees   [ updated Jan 19, 2017, 8:13 PM ]


Topics

Present: Jenny, Rosa, Karen, Carol J, George, Linda, Michael
  • We welcomed Rosa as a new attendee
  • Search all Tech Bulletins and JP Bulletins, merged collections - Michael 
  • Summary of the QJA Journal for Summer 2016 - Michael
  • Report and snippets from the JP Bulletin for December 2016 - Michael
  • JPs needed to adjudicate world record - Carol
  • Witnessing financial ID forms - Jenny
    • I have recently been asked to compete proof of identity for online finance companies for personal loans. As these are not mortgages the JAG Witness Certificate does not cover this request. Should I be certifying proof of identity on finance company forms?
    • Discussion centred on the similarity to the Witness ID Certificate forms from JP Branch. Michael and Linda are using the disclaimer stamp when clients insist on using the ID Certificate forms from the lending institutions. It was suggested a similar stamp with generic wording for loans of all types could be used. Jenny will contact JP Branch to seek advice. Update: See the outcome in a separate note.
  • QJA Refresher JP Workshop and Domestic Violence Forum - Carol J
  • Position of signature on Stat Dec forms - Linda
    • At Burleigh contractors are bringing preprinted Stat Dec forms with the signature line immediately following the declaration and before the standard concluding sentence 'I understand that a person who intentionally makes a false statement in a statutory declaration is guilty of an offence under section 11 of the Statutory Declarations Act 1959, and I believe that the statements in this declaration are true in every particular.' When signed above this text it would appear to make the Stat Dec invalid by the exclusion of the understanding. 
    • Further input quoting printed sources from all interested JPToK participants is welcomed.
  • Future of JPToK - Michael
    • The schedule for future meetings was discussed in depth. Various options were canvassed but consensus settled on continuing with monthly meetings from March on the first Tuesday of the month at 2.30 pm in the current location.
  • Next meeting: Tuesday 7 March 2017 2.30 pm at the Community Meeting Room, Emerald Lakes

Notes from meeting 8 November 2016

posted Nov 10, 2016, 6:56 PM by Michael Rees   [ updated Nov 10, 2016, 6:57 PM ]


Emerald Lakes Community Room, 2.30 pm – Helen, Carol, Mark, George, Linda, Michael R, Kay

1. Matters arising from Notes and Actions

  • Early Inheritance Program was mentioned in the notes of the last meeting. Subsequently Bruce had emphasised the need for a national register of EPAs. All agreed it was necessary but foresaw practical and cost issues.
  • Commonwealth Attorney-Generals Dept, FAQs on Statutory Declarations page:
    • Q&A Minors and retirees[!!!] can make a SD
    • A SD can be in another language

2. News from signing sites

Christmas holiday operating times. Michael noted some sites believe they alone are open during the holidays (excluding public holidays). Collectively we noted Robina, Australia Fair, The Pines, and possibly Burleigh are open. Southport Park is closed 19 Dec to 14 Jan.

Stemming from an incident at Australia Fair there was a general discussion about dealing with children’s disruptive behaviour at signing sites.

3. Qld Handbook for Practitioners on Legal Capacity

Judy H had several copies made of the Qld Handbook for Practitioners on Legal Capacity from the Qld Law Society. Michael R has further summarised the Executive Summary. The handbook includes a useful flowchart which could form the basis of one JPs might use to establish capacity when witnessing EPAs and AHDs.

4. Latest QJA E-newsletter

QJA has their latest version of their EPA and AHD checklists available on its site.

5. Justice of the Peace in Practice

Michael R and Kay have competed their JP in Practice Guide for Mentors and are requesting feedback from all JPs.

6. Sending photos to prisoners

Although there are guidelines for the content of the Statutory Declaration there is confusion about what, if anything, should be written on the back of the photos. A useful summary of this process and some example wording was prepared by the Stocklands Burleigh justices.

7. Next meeting

Tuesday 6 December 2.30 at Emerald Lakes Community Room. Those attending are asked to bring a small plate of Christmas fair for afternoon tea.

Notes from meeting 4 October 2016

posted Oct 9, 2016, 8:19 PM by Michael Rees   [ updated Oct 9, 2016, 8:20 PM ]


2.30 pm Tuesday 4 October 2016, Emerald Village Community Room, Emerald Lakes, Judy H, Judy P, Karen, Bruce, MR, K.

Thanks to Kay for these notes.

1. Signing sites update

Australia Fair: Now has three people allocated to each two person shift and they are rotated over a two month period. This means that each person has a break every fourth week. The site is consistently busy, averaging 50 – 60 client per shift.

Robina: Numbers had dropped off but seem to be slowly increasing.

Pacific Fair: The location of the JP desk is not optimum, due to noise and lack of privacy.

2. Minimum age to sign an affidavit 

Advice obtained by Bruce and appearing in a previous JPToK note is that there is no age minimum, only that the person/child signing must understand the content.

3. Early Inheritance Syndrome

Karen reported that Radio National recently presented a program about Early Inheritance Syndrome on “Background Briefing” regarding EPAs, calling them the “Early Inheritance” as attorneys are accessing the principal’s funds. In Queensland only EPAs on the approved forms are accepted. Other States may differ. As well as the audio podcast the show transcript is available and makes easier reference.

4. Family Law Workshop

MichaelR reported on the recent Family Law Workshop he attended. His online report is available and the main points were:

  • Divorce Application Kits are no longer printed. Online e-filing is alwats preferred. Only if an applicant is unable to complete an e-file application will a hard copy be made available.
  • It is not necessary for the JP to view the complete application, only the two-page affidavit will need to be presented to the JP for witnessing.
  • The importance of ensuring that the couple have been separated for a year and a day is emphasised.

5. Volunteer Information Pack Version 8

The VIP Kit version 8 was published earlier in the year. From the brief note by Michael R it is the same as version 7 with a minor change to the contents page.

6. Inaugural QJA Friday Discussion Group

Michael R reported on the inaugural QJA Gold Coast Branch Discussion Group, being on the fourth Friday morning of the month. The topic of the first one was Traffic Infringement Notices. The QPS makes for a provision for an appointed attorney under a PA/EPA to sign the Sat Dec. This led to a discussion as to whether this was a financial matter or a personal one.

7. QJA Spring Journal

Michael R wrote a report on the QJA Journal for Spring 2016. The Q&A section mentions stat decs for sending photos to prisoners. There was discussion about attaching the photos as annexures. Consequently Judy H has sourced a letter and instructions form the Brisbane Correctional Centre on how to prepare the stat dec, which includes giving the name and date of birth of each child in the body of the affidavit. In March 2015 Michael R had written a post about this following the tip in the JP Bulletin for December 2014. He updated his post with the material provided by Judy.

Another part of the Q&A gave advice on acting as a support person for a child during a police interview. There was discussion of a list of instructions/suggestions for the JP which appears on pages 12 and 13 of the QJA Journal. The answers should appear in the JP's log book.

8. JP Bulletin Issue 12

JP Bulletin Issue 12 includes info on Land Titles and interesting stats re the JP in the Community Program.

9. White Card stat decs

There was discussion re the completing of the stat dec if the Observer’s section had not been completed. The general consensus was that this was not part of the stat dec, as it comes after the jurat, and therefore it did not affect the stat dec.

Next meeting will be Tuesday 8 November as 1 November is Melbourne Cup Day. Venue Emerald Village Community Room at 2.30.

Notes from meeting 6 September 2016

posted Sep 8, 2016, 5:08 PM by Michael Rees   [ updated Sep 8, 2016, 5:08 PM ]


Thanks to Linda for these notes: 

Attendance: 6

1. Matters arising

  • Employee Assistance Program – This is confidential professional counselling available to JPs and their families.  Judy H reported that we are entitled to four annual consultations with Live and Work Well (liveandworkwell.com).  This counselling service is available 24 hours a day on 1800 604 640.  It can be used for any stressful situation a JP feels the need to talk about.  Judy thought it would be a useful resource to have someone from the service at a future workshop.  Linda was interested to know whether all JPs in the JPs in the Community program had been made aware of this service.  It seems some centre coordinators had been advised, but it wasn’t clear whether everyone was aware of it.  Linda to follow up with Greg Thompson.
  • Pharmacist gold coin donation for stat decs – Greg Thompson’s response to Michael’s query was that pharmacists can witness stat decs and if not a JP, they can ask for a donation.

2. Reports from signing sites

Burleigh – Judy is now the site co-ordinator for Burleigh, taking over from JAG on 1 September.  She sees her role mainly in professional development.  She reported the site now has monthly revision sheets, with stat decs being covered first, to be followed by Affidavits and Annexures and Exhibits.  Some of the team are meeting next week to review how we handle EPAs and what questions should be asked.  Judy has had an information sheet printed to hand to clients explaining what EPAs and AHDs actually are.   (Michael – put Judy’s sheet in here)

Southport Park – Michael W reported he has a consistent team with rosters being no problem.  In October, he is relinquishing his regular spot on a Friday, and will then just sign as a reliever.  He said he is happy to continue as site coordinator. Judy commented that Greg Thompson was trying to make sure the independent sites had a rotating site coordinator each year, so that no-one feels they have to keep doing the role.  

Australia Fair – Michael R commented that they now have a rotating roster at Australia Fair, where the JPs have a week once a month when they are not signing on their regular day to allow others to sign.  General discussion about how this would impact on JPs and most did not think it would be popular at the sites where we sign.  There is some mentoring going on at Australia Fair. Judy is interested to know how this all works, as we have had no contact from anyone wanting to be mentored at Burleigh.

Robina – It was noted that there doesn’t seem to be any overall monitoring of gaps in the roster, though when numbers are down, JPs do fill in.  Otherwise it seems to work well.

3. Workshop reports – Nil

4. Affidavit clarification

Kay had submitted a query to JP Branch about what happens to annexures and exhibits when an Affidavit is resworn. A non-committal reply was received from Greg Thompson (part of the Short Notes collection). After discussion, the general consensus was that every page that was originally signed by the deponent or JP must be re-done with signatures, seals and dates etc. as this will become evidence in Court.

5. Possible social gathering

No-one was in favour of this for now.

6. Other business

Michael W raised a situation that arises at Southport Park where a psychologist sometimes brings Affidavits to be witnessed with confronting child abuse photographs attached.  He has asked her to advise JPs beforehand of the graphic photos so that JPs can decline to witness if they feel uncomfortable with that.  

Next meeting Tuesday 4 October 2016 at 2.30 pm

Notes from meeting 2 August 2016

posted Aug 4, 2016, 10:13 PM by Michael Rees   [ updated Aug 4, 2016, 10:14 PM ]


02 August 2016, Emerald Village Community Room, 9 attendees with workmen  

Thanks to Kay for these notes:
  • JP Bulletin Issue 11 2016  Michael R report 
  • Land Title requirements for NSW documentsIt appears that the only requirement is to identify the person. In an email to JH from Greg Thompson, 11/11/15, he sets out the relevant legislation and state that the Real Property Act 1990 “is silent on the witness having to take steps to satisfy themselves as to the entitlement of the individual to execute the dealing form”. Refer to JPToK Notes and Actions 17/11/15Fact Sheet on Witnessing Real Property Act dealings: witness obligations is available at www.lpi.nsw.gov.au.
  • Code phrase when JP wants security alerted. This was discussed. It was felt that it would be preferable just to ask the other JP to call security.
  • Recording Statistics. Some Centres record each signature as a document e.g. one affidavit of 20 pages would be recorded as 20, not 1. Michael R to ask JP Branch what their requirement is.
  • Certifying copies of EPA.  JP Branch is advising at Workshops that if the Principal/Witness/Attorney (wet ink) pages only are presented then they can be certified using the “corresponding page” stamp.  The complete document i.e. 20 pages does not have to be presented.  Note: This is in contradiction of Technical Bulletin 06/09, JP Bulletin Issue 4 August 2014 and QJA Journal Volume 12 Number 1 Autumn 2015. The Powers of Attorney Act 1998 s45 states:
45 Proof of enduring document 
(1) An enduring document may be proved by a copy of the enduring document certified under this section. Note— An enduring power of attorney made under the Property Law Act 1974 and of force and effect before the commencement of section 163 is taken to be an enduring power of attorney made under this Act—section 163. 
(2) Each page, other than the last page, of the copy must be certified to the effect that the copy is a true and complete copy of the corresponding page of the original. 
(3) The last page of the copy must be certified to the effect that the copy is a true and complete copy of the original. 
(4) Certification must be by 1 of the following persons— (a) the principal; (b) a justice; Note— justice means a justice of the peace—see the Acts Interpretation Act 1954, schedule 1. (c) a commissioner for declarations; (d) a notary public; (e) a lawyer; Note— lawyer means an Australian lawyer within the meaning of the Legal Profession Act 2007—see the Acts Interpretation Act 1954, schedule 1. (f) a trustee company under the Trustee Companies Act 1968; [s 46] Powers of Attorney Act 1998 Chapter 3 Enduring documents Current as at 22 March 2016 Page 37 Authorised by the Parliamentary Counsel (g) a stockbroker. 
(5) If a copy of an enduring document has been certified under this section, the enduring document may also be proved by a copy, certified under this section, of the certified copy. 
(6) This section does not prevent an enduring document being proved in another way.
  • Land Title Documents. If there is no real property description they should not be signed.  JP Branch is recommending that Queensland Atlas not be used to verify property descriptions. QJA July Newsletter details processes for witnessing Land Title Documents. See Michael R report.
  • Pharmacists signing documents for a fee of a gold coin for charity.  Michael R checked  with JP Branch as to a pharmacist’s authority to sign and the legitimacy of requiring a gold coin. The JP Branch reply is available in our short notes.
  • Employee Assistance Program. Professional counselling services for volunteers through OPTUM may be available free of charge. Judy H investigated and the JP Branch reply is in our short notes.
Next meeting  Tuesday 6 September 2.30  Emerald Village Community Room.

JP Table of Knowledge Badges

posted Aug 1, 2016, 5:05 PM by Michael Rees   [ updated Aug 1, 2016, 7:30 PM ]

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