Justices of the Peace of Belize
All Justices of the Peace of Belize are appointed by the Attorney General of Belize and have all such powers, privileges, rights and jurisdiction to act throughout Belize as empowered on them by the Justice of the Peace Act Chapter 119:01 of the Substantive Laws of Belize, Revised Edition 2011.
Justices of the Peace serve the public voluntarily, without fear or favour, affection or ill-will and are not allowed to solicit remuneration for any of the services they provide unless allowed under the laws of Belize.
All Justices of the Peace of Belize are expected to exemplify high standards of integrity and honesty at all times while performing the duties of a Justice of the Peace. A Justice of the Peace who does not comply with the ethics set out in the Justice of the Peace Act can have his appointment revoked.
Jurisdiction and Functions
Every Justice of the Peace and Senior Justice of the Peace shall have concurrent jurisdiction with Magistrates with respect to the following core functions and duties;
- Issuance of summons and warrants of arrest and other process of the Court;
- The granting of bail;
- The taking of recognizances;
- Remanding of defendants in custody and those charged with offences;
- The Binding over of parties and witnesses;
- Witnessing the execution of deeds and other documents;
- Administering oaths and affirmations in cases allowed by law;
- Issuing of warrants of apprehension and commitment for safe custody of persons charged with an offence; and
- Preservation of the peace, and dispersion of all disorderly, unlawful, riotous or tumultuous assemblages.
In addition to the above, all Justices of the Peace of Belize are able to authenticate the written statements of accused persons and ensure that the accused is volunteering the information and not under duress. Lastly Justices of the Peace can witness the performing of identification parades and any other functions expected of them by any other law.
Justice of the Peace Association and District Chapters
Belize has one National Association of Justices of the Peace and Commissioners of the Supreme Court with an elected president and executive officers. In addition, the Association has formed district chapters in every district of Belize.