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<   No. 1339   2006-09-26   >

Comic #1339

1 Haken: The Honourable Herr Schliemannian Chair Professor Doktor Doktor Jones, CBE, DCM. Are you ready for die firing squad?
2 Minnesota Jones: Of course the achievement I'm most proud of is being elected Fellow of the Royal Society.
3 Haken: <sigh> The Honourable Herr Schliemannian Chair Professor Doktor Doktor Jones, CBE, DCM, FRS.
4 Minnesota Jones: Did I forget to mention I'm a Justice of the Peace?

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I decided Minnesota Jones would be a Justice of the Peace based on my own experience with the title here in Australia, where it's a fairly low-key office that pretty much anyone can hold, and basically makes you entitled to legally witness certain sorts of documents. Then I discovered that in England JPs apparently have significantly more power and stricter qualification conditions.

Oh well. If anything, we know Minnesota Jones is multi-talented.

2016-04-05 Rerun commentary: In Australia, many workplaces with dozens of employees or more will have someone on the staff who is registered as a Justice of the Peace, for the convenience of witnessing documents as required by employees from time to time. It can basically be anyone who volunteers to do it and obtains the required registration.

It seems from a bit of reading on the different roles of JPs in various countries that Australia is by far the most relaxed jurisdiction where you can qualify to be a Justice of the Peace.

EDIT: A few readers wrote to say that what I describe as the role of a Justice of the Peace in Australia sounds like what is called a Notary Public in the USA. Interestingly, we also have notary publics in Australia - and they are much rarer, more specialised, and have greater powers than a Justice of the Peace. A notary public in Australia has to be a practising lawyer and then appointed by the Supreme Court of one of the States to be a notary public. This gives them certain legal powers related to witnessing documents and certifying documents for various international transactions.

So somewhere along the way it seems the two titles effectively got swapped between different dialects of English.

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