20 October 2019
By Mary Bermingham
In other countries, it’s called a Justice of the Peace, but in Ireland – following independence from the United Kingdom in the 1920s – it was renamed as Peace Commissioner. It is one of a variety of names for a person who is authorised to sign legal documents.
A Peace Commissioner is appointed Minister for Justice and Equality. The powers and duties of Peace Commissioners consist primarily of:
- Taking statutory declarations
- Witnessing signatures on documents of required by various authorities
- Signing certificates and orders under various Acts
The Courts of Justice Act 1924 gives Peace Commissioners the power to issue summons and warrants. Search warrants can be issued to Gardai under the Road Traffic Act 1961, Misuse of Drugs Act 1977, Control of Dogs Act 1986, Customs and Excise (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1988, Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act 1989, Video Recordings Act 1989, Firearms and Offensive Weapons Act 1990. However, these powers to issue summons and warrants less frequently used these days following Supreme Court challenges about the Constitutionality of a non-Judicial personage performing quasi-Judicial functions. Applications for warrants are now normally made to the local District Court Judge.