Justices of the peace are appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council. The Lieutenant Governor in Council may also appoint a supervising justice of the peace. The Chief Judge of the Provincial Court has general direction and supervision over the duties and sittings of justices of the peace.
There are two categories of justices of the peace:
- Justices of the peace who perform judicial functions are called presiding justices of the peace. Government employees, members or employees of a police force, and members of the Corps of Commissionaires cannot be designated as presiding justices of the peace. The only exception are court officials, but they can perform only a limited number of duties normally performed by a presiding justice of the peace. Presiding justices of the peace may hold office until they reach retirement age as specified in the Act.
- Non-presiding justices of the peace perform only administrative duties. Non-presiding justices of the peace hold office at the pleasure of the Lieutenant Governor in Council.
Practicing lawyers cannot be appointed presiding or non-presiding justices of the peace.
The Act establishes the Justices of the Peace Review Council. The Council is composed of the Chief Judge of the Provincial Court, a Provincial Court judge appointed by the Chief Judge, and a member of the public appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council. The Council:
- reviews the conduct and performance of duties by justices of the peace;
- receives complaints against a justice of the peace with respect to any misconduct, neglect of duty, or inability to perform his or her duties; and
- takes any action to investigate complaints that the Council considers advisable, including holding an inquiry to determine if a justice of the peace should be removed from office.
If the Council makes a finding of misconduct or incapacity, the Act gives the Council the authority to impose a wide range of disciplinary orders, including:
- recommending to the Lieutenant Governor in Council that the person's appointment as a justice of the peace be cancelled;
- suspending the person for a specified period of time; or
- reprimanding the person.