A Peace Commissioner is a role is an honorary position in Ireland with special powers and whose role is to primarily taking statutory declarations, witnessing signatures on documents required by various authorities, signing certificates and orders under various Acts of the Oireachtas.
The Courts of Justice Act 1924 gives Peace Commissioners the power to issue summons and warrants. The title replaced Justice of the Peace in 1923. Peace commissioners are primarily used to witness signatures on documents, take statutory declarations and sign certificates and orders. Peace commissioners can also issue search warrants to the Gardaí.
Some of the more extensive powers that were initially given to Peace Commissioners are less frequently used today. For example, applications for search warrants are normally made to the local District Court.
As of 2012 there were 5,733 serving Peace Commissioners operating throughout the state.
There is no special application form. An application for appointment may be made by a person on their own behalf or a nomination for appointment may be made by a third party in respect of a person considered suitable for appointment. Nominations are generally received from public representatives, and a Garda superintendent may sometimes request an appointment in his or her district as the need arises in the public interest. Persons seeking appointment to the Office of Peace Commissioner can apply to the Minister for Justice and Equality and should set out the reason for the application or nomination and provide some background information about the person proposed for appointment.
There is no qualifying examination, but appointees are required to be of good character and they are usually well established in the local community. People convicted of serious offences are considered unsuitable. Civil servants are usually only appointed where the performance of their official duties requires an appointment (i.e. ex-officio). Solicitors, people employed in legal offices, and members of the clergy are, as a matter of practice, not appointed because of their occupation. The fact that an applicant or nominee may be suitable for appointment does not, in itself, provide any entitlement to appointment as a peace commissioner because other factors, such as the need for appointments in particular areas, are taken into account.
Finding a Peace Commissioner
The Department of Justice and Equality maintains the Roll of Peace Commissioners, however this is not accessible online. The Department will usually provide the name and address of a Peace Commissioner on request. Local Garda stations, who use the services of a Peace Commissioner in the course of their duties are usually in a position to give you the name and address of a Peace Commissioner in a particular area.
Costs and rates
Peace Commissioners is an honorary role and there is no remuneration or financial compensation by way of fees or expenses for their services whatsoever.
As mentioned above; the title "Peace Commissioner" is an Irish invention, it replaced "Justice of the Peace". However in other English speaking countries which later gained independence from then UK the "Justice of the Peace" title was kept.
This means the office of "Peace Commissioner" is unheard of outside of Ireland. So, a document signed by a "Peace Commissioner" will be de facto worthless for use outside of Ireland because whoever receives it will not recognise the authority by which it was signed. Accordingly if a document is - or even might - be sent abroad it is wiser to have it signed instead by an Irish "Commissioner for Oaths".
- "The Courts of Justice Act, 1924". Irishstatutebook.ie. 1924-04-12. Retrieved 2013-07-27.
- "Dáil Éireann - 24/May/2012 Written Answers - Ministerial Appointments". Oireachtasdebates.oireachtas.ie. 2012-05-24. Retrieved 2013-07-27.
- "The Department of Justice and Equality: Peace Commissioners". Justice.ie. Retrieved 2013-07-27.