First look at the 2017 JP Handbook

The Winter Solstice 2017 brought us the electronic versions of the long-awaited 2017 Handbooks for JPs and Cdecs. As large numbers of the 87,000 JPs attempted to download the handbook documents the Qld Govt publications web-site was unable to meet the demand. Within 24 hours though the new manuals were downloadable and in our hands.

The main links for direct downloading of the handbooks and chapters are on a page in my JP Qual resource site.

On first inspection there are a number of improvements over the previous handbooks:

  • simple language is used everywhere
  • divided into numbered sections, chapters within sections then page number in chapter — 5.1/10 is page 10 in chapter 1 of section 5
  • each section and chapter has a simple informative title as well
  • where sensible each witnessing process is summarised in a Quick guide, each step carefully numbered, on a separate page. Printed copies of quick guides form a useful aide memoire for JPs to carry at all times
  • consistent structure for each chapter, 1) What — giving a definition of the subject, 2) Why — explaining the reason or purpose, 3) How — explaining the procedure
  • each chapter also contains things to bear in mind, FAQs, and further information sources
  • a new collection of fairly easily remembered short links such as www.qld.gov.au/jpprofessionaldevelopment for workshops, www.qld.gov.au/JPBulletin for JP Bulletins, and www.justice.qld.gov.au/jpapp for the JP Mobile app. A full list appears on pages 1.2/1–2
  • each chapter carries a date of last update, and the handbook structure allows individual chapters to be updated independently. Each chapter can also be downloaded separately to allow a printed copy of the handbook to be kept up to date
  • at last we have definitive abbreviations for the different grades of JPs, Cdec, JP (Qual), JP (Mag Ct) and JP Cdec, see page 2.1/2. A full list of acronyms and abbreviations appears on page 7.2/4 preceded by a useful Glossary of terms from page 7.2/1

While the detailed content of the JP Handbook remains to be tested over time, the new structure and naming conventions are a significant improvement and the JP Branch and other contributors are to be congratulated.

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