Justices of the Peace for the Falkland Islands

What is a Justice of the Peace?

The office of Justice of the Peace or JP has existed for hundreds of years. People holding the office perform an essential public service by dispensing justice within the criminal justice system and hearing a range of non-criminal cases.

The summary court is the first tier within the Falkland Islands' justice system. It comprises :

  • The Adult Court – for criminal cases involving people over 18.
  • The Youth Court – for cases involving young people aged from 10-17.
  • The Family Proceedings Court – where some family disputes are settled.
  • The hearing of employment matters - for individuals asserting their rights relating to their employment

Defendants who are found guilty in the summary court can appeal against the verdict or sentence to a more senior court. The prosecution has a more limited right to appeal, but only if the Justices have made an error of law. In practice, very few decisions are ever appealed.

Individual Justices do not hear cases on their own. They usually sit as one of a bench of three JPs, together with a qualified Legal Adviser who is there to advise on points of law and procedure.

The Falkland Islands currently has 16 active Justices of the Peace who sit regularly with their Legal Adviser to dispense justice in all manner of cases before the court. Below is some explanation of the categories of cases that they regularly deal with.