NEWLY sworn-in Commissioners for Oath and Justices of Peace have been warned against charging for their services to the public.
Chief Justice Anthony Gates made the statement at a swearing-in ceremony of 15 Commissioners for Oath and 19 Justices of Peace (JP) who were sworn in at the Supreme Court in Suva on Thursday.
He said there had been many complaints of JPs and Commissioners for Oath charging for providing services.
"You may not charge for your services. It is not a paid service that people should be charging for," he said.
Justice Gates said being a Commissioner for Oath or a JP was not just a title to use to feel important in society.
"You have been selected in order to serve the people. Be careful you do not become the one who charges. In your work there is a judicial element. You must conduct your duties in a way that shows your neutrality."
Justice Gates said Commissioners for Oaths and JPs needed to be professional and information that should be confidential must be kept as just that.
"It is mighty improper of you to ring up the person for whom you have just signed an arrest warrant," he said.
"What is required of you is honest and reliable service." He acknowledged those who have served before but were not sworn in, and congratulated them.
"I am very pleased to see so many of you coming forward to serve the public," he said. The swearing-in ceremony took place in the presence of various legal eagles including the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, magistrates, and the chief registrar.