Justices of the Peace Branch – Witnessing statutory declarations about traffic offences

Justices of the Peace Branch – Witnessing statutory declarations about traffic offences

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At the justice of the peace branch we
recently identified the need to improve professional development resources for
JPs and Cdecs. The following professional development webinar is the first of a
suite of training modules we’ll be rolling out over the coming months
to make it easier for you to update your skills and access up-to-date resources
to further assist you in your role as a JP or Cdec. I hope you enjoy the webinar.
Welcome everyone and thank you for viewing our webinar hosted by Justice
the Peace Branch my name is Lisa Shaw and I’m the team leader for the
Community Engagement Team and hello everyone my name is Belinda Cronau
and I’m the senior community engagement officer in Lisa’s team. Today’s webinar
is on witnessing statutory declarations for traffic infringement notices issued
by the Queensland Police Service and the Traffic Camera Office. So just a
little bit about the camera detected offence program. It’s a road safety
initiative aiming at reducing road trauma on Queensland’s roads. It’s a joint
partnership between the Department of Transport and Main Roads and the
Queensland Police Service. Speed and red light offences are recognised in this
program as life-endangering and a major cause of road incidents. Aside from
the tragedy of road deaths the crashes can place a high cost on the community
each year and that’s through hospital and health care costs. Loss of
productivity in the workplace and also the cost that emergency services incur
such as the police service. Speeding also reduces reaction time and the distance
which increases the likelihood of road crashes involving other road users. Just
a little bit of extra information there’s several different types of
cameras used in Queensland by the Queensland Police Service and the
program includes a number of speed and red-light cameras such as mobile speed
cameras, fixed speed cameras and different areas in the state, red-light
cameras, there’s also a combination of red light and speed cameras and there is
also Road Safety camera trailers which can move around in different
locations and I’ve seen those in my local area recently as well and finally
there’s point-to-point speed cameras. So decisions that need to be made about
where these cameras are placed from time to time particularly the mobile ones and
it’s assessed against some criteria. The number of crashes on a section of road
in the last five years, the severity and causes of the crashes that have occurred
and how common high risk speeding behavior is in a particular area. So when
a driver of the vehicle commits a camera detected offence, the person who the
vehicle is registered to will receive the traffic infringement notice and
let’s take a look at that traffic infringement notice. On your screen now
is a sample or the top half sample of any camera detected offence notice
courtesy of the Queensland Police Service. This infringement notice does
include a number of details including an image of the vehicle the date and time
of the offence, or the alleged offence, the location and if it was a speeding
offence, this location of speed limit and the alleged speed of the vehicle. The
final amount in the number of demerit points for the actual offence. It is
important to note that the image generated by other devices is designed
to identify the vehicle and not the driver so you can’t rely on the image on
this notice to identify who is actually in charge of the vehicle. Next is the
reverse side of the infringement notice and when you turn that over you’ll see
there’s a blank statutory declaration and it provides a number of information
and options available to the recipient on the notice and when a person receives
a traffic infringement notice they have three options okay, so they can even pay
they can pay the fine and if they’d like to pay the fine that means that will
form part of their traffic history because it’s deemed that they did
actually commit the offence. They can elect to have the matter heard in court or
they can nominate another person who was actually driving the vehicle at the time
of the offence and the legislation that allows this to occur is called the
Transport Operations Road Use Management Act TORUMs if you like your acronyms
and this allows for a person to transfer liability of the offense, but for this to
occur, a statutory declaration must be completed and there are a number of
people who can complete this declaration and we’re going to take a look at who
those people are now. Ok, so there’s several different categories of people
who may approach you to have one of these declarations witnessed. So the first
one, the most obvious one, is a recipient. So that’s the person who’s named on the
front of the declaration. They may come to you and they could do nominate
themselves, or they could nominate another person. The other person that
might come to you is the driver of the of the vehicle at the time. This is
called what they call a self nomination So the person standing in front of you
would declare that they were driving the vehicle and again another person is an executive
officer of a company or an organisation. So these are these are referred to as
corporate infringement notices. One of the things that’s vital in this
particular instance is that the person making the declaration must include
their position within the company or the organisation. So people often ask us what
is an executive officer? How do I know who they are? Well, this particular person
needs to be involved in the day-to-day running and management of the company or
organisation that they’re working for. Having said that, it is not necessary for
them to bring any supporting documentation to prove who they are
within that organisation because there’s many different titles and categories and
positions of people who could be classified as an executive officer. But when they’re with you they will be making a declaration under the
Oaths Act that the information is true and correct, but they must include their
position within the organisation. Lisa, can I just add something there? If
it is a corporate infringement notice it is important to note that it can be
completed by what we call that self- nomination. So if they are an employee or
even another person they can complete a self nomination on the declaration if
they were driving at the time of the offence. So in that situation, it wouldn’t be
necessary to have an executive officer to complete it. And finally, there
are people who are conducting business on behalf of another person so as you
can see there, we were referring to an executor estate or somebody who’s an
attorney for another person. Again with this one however, you would want to see
some evidence that they are entitled I suppose or have the power to actually
complete this transaction on behalf of another person or a person’s estate. So
as well as citing identification for this person you’d be wanting to see the power of attorney document or the the Will that
actually gives that person a power to complete this transaction, so okay, so now
we’ve got an idea about who can complete these we’re going to take a
look at the different sections of the declaration. Thanks Lisa. And on your
screen now is the first part of the statutory declaration and this is the
section that the declarant must insert their full name and address of, obviously
themselves and the particulars of the person being nominated. It is
important to note that PO boxes are not acceptable for the person being
nominated. An address for this person must be a residential or business
address. If the declarant is an executive officer of a company or business
they must also include that position within the organisation and you can see
that they’re up in the top line over on to the right hand side. For self
nomination, the person will actually duplicate their details in both of these
sections if the vehicle is stolen the declarant must complete this
section.This section can be left blank if it’s not relevant or if it has been
crossed out. Don’t forget to initial it and have also the declarant
initial the amendments. This section is when you will be witnessing the
declarant’s signature and also inserting your details. Information on witnessing
statutory declarations can be found in Chapter 4.2 in both the
JP and Cdec handbooks and prior to witnessing you have to ensure that the
statutory declaration is legible and completed in black or blue ink and at
least to and Lisa I don’t think we really need to say this but pencil will definitely not
be accepted by the traffic camera office. Also remember if there have been any
alterations or amendments, make sure that both parties have initialed these changes.
If if it is needed, the declarant can obtain a blank statutory declaration
from the Queensland Police website. So on your screen now
is a quick guide from chapter 4.3 of your handbook. So it’s a
really good practice to follow these steps and we’re just going to take a
moment to go through them. So step one is check that the person in
front of you is the declarant and also the person signing the form you want to
make sure that they are the registered owner of the vehicle but were not
driving at the time of the offence. They represent the company that owns a
vehicle and can give you their company position or they were driving the
vehicle at the time of the offence. That’s that self-nomination. So once
you’ve confirmed that information of the declarant you can move on to the
particulars of the person’s section. Do make sure that the details about the
person who was driving the vehicle at the time of the offence is fully
completed as for the address. License and date of birth would be nice information
and assists the traffic camera office to locate and transfer the liability of the
offence to the correct person. Then the residential address is mentioned, make
sure it’s a full residential street address of the person who is driving the vehicle
however if it is a corporation and remembering these statutory declarations
can be issued to a corporation, an address for the corporation can be
placed in there. The signature of the declarant, making sure that the person
named in the declarant. So the first section signs the declaration in your
presence, okay and then when you witness their signature after issuing your
warning and your declaration insert your signature, title and registration number.
This is known as your prescribed mark of office and the traffic camera office
also requests that you print your full name including any middle names you
have, not your initials. If you do choose to apply your seal of office, please make
sure it doesn’t cover any handwritten information as it will be rejected by
the traffic camera office and last but not least and very important, enter all of these details into your logbook including any
actions that you took during the witnessing. Now that we’ve looked at the
steps and witnessing we’re going to have a look at a couple of examples now of a
completed statutory declaration and I’m going to hand you over to Lisa. Thanks
Belinda. So this particular example is a self nomination so in this
case we’ve got Jane Mary citizen who is completing nomination.
She’s completed all the relevant information and you can see as Belinda
said before the self nominator just needs to include the information but
in both sections. This is one and as Belinda said now that’s your prescribed
mark of office. So Jane has signed that it’s on the document and Justine
Pearce the Commissioner for Declaration has included their signature, their
full name, their qualification and their registration number. The following one is
Jane’s nominating another person. Jane Citizen is nominating John Citizen so if
she’s been able to provide the information in relation to his driver’s
license, date of birth, and a street address. You can see that the
witnessing is still the same. Can I just add here too, it is important it’s not the witnessing officers but I think declarants and
people completing these forms do find this section confusing. So do
make sure that Jane is in front of you and not John. We get that quite often. And the last one is in relation to an
organisation, so John David Citizen who is a manager for JD Consulting is
nominating another person. And in this instance it is Jane again. And again, the information in relation the Cdec is complete. Full name, qualification and
registration number. Paying attention to also knowing what the date is is also
very important when when you’re completing these documents and assisting
somebody and the last step is and as I said before in the quick guide section,
do remember to keep records It is an important last step and Chapter 2.4 of
your handbook provides information on record-keeping and logbooks. We also do
have a technical bulletin on the recording of personal information. So, I
do recommend you read that one as well. it is important that you make and retain
thorough and consistent records of all the documents you witness and any action
taken. For example, noting if you declined to witness the
statutory declaration. On your screen now there’s an example of a completed logbook page. And if you don’t have one of our logbooks, you can purchase one from
our JP shop or in person if you’re visiting with South Brisbane or you can
download a free copy as well from our website. So in this example on the screen
here, there are so many different documents that the JP or Commissioner
for Declarations has witnessed. So there’s some Land Titles forms.
The name of the person or the signatory who presented the form, the type of
identification cited so it’s very important here, not to record any
personal identifying or identification numbers, such as driver’s licenses or
passports. Best practice would be to do, as in this example, is abbreviate it or
even just put driver’s license Queensland. Another section is to also
insert the location of signing that is important if you are one of their
valued volunteers in the program because some of them do volunteer at multiple
signing sites and it may help you recall the situation if you are ever asked to
answer some queries about a witnessing transaction. In the comment section
mention any additional action that you might have taken. So if you have happened
to witness a statutory declaration, and it was an attorney who was signing on
behalf of somebody else. They provided you the copy of the enduring power of
attorney and you’ve made note of that. Now on your screen is the contact
details for the Traffic Camera Office. It is a good idea to note these details
down, because if you are ever asked a question about what the next steps are
or, why did I get this fine? And I wasn’t driving. How can I be identified? We can’t
answer those questions. Our role is to simply witness their Statutory
Declaration. Any queries should be directed to the Traffic Camera Office and they
more than welcome these phone calls to clarify any queries that a person might
have about the notice. So you might want to take note of these details if you
haven’t already. If it’s a bit late and you’ve missed this information, you can
always go online to the Queensland Police Service and you can search for
the Traffic Camera Office there. At the JP branch we receive a
lot of enquiries about these documents and about these declaration so I’ve got
a couple of questions here Belinda that I think we should share with
everybody. Are you going to test my knowledge? I think I might. Belinda what if the declaration is already signed so I
approached you with a with one of these Well Lisa, obviously making sure that the document is
always signed in front of you, not just this statutory declaration and yes, if
someone has approached me with the document, I would definitely ask them to
sign it again and me and then crossing out the signature
and having both people initial that amendment. That’s best practice. Not only is this best, it is actually a
requirement of the Traffic Camera Office. So if there’s been changes made on one
of these documents and they can’t see that there’s been two clear sets of
initials beside the changes, they may actually return the document back to the
registered owner and get them to start the process again. Well, I might ask you a
question now Lisa. Okay. So what do you do if someone presents you a notice and
you’ve turned it over before you’re witnessing the declaration. You
notice it’s past the 28-day due day due date. That’s a really good question.
And that’s one that we get asked a lot. The fact that the document, the
infringement, should have been paid within that 28-day period and it appears
that it hasn’t shouldn’t prevent me from taking the declaration because that’s my
role. My role in this, with the client is to take their declaration regardless of
the due date of infringement. I probably would point it out to the client just in case there’s an oversight by them. And then they might
then you know, then they’ve got the option of whether or not they contact
the camera office to check to see whether they should proceed with
actually take making the declaration. But from time to time people might already be
aware of that and may have made inquiries but they
still want to proceed or they still need to proceed on the advice of the camera
office. All right, another question for you Belinda. What if there’s been changes
made and they’ve used whiteout or correction fluid. So they’ve written down
something. It’s incorrect. They’ve got their whiteout, they’ve covered it over and
they’ve rewritten over the top of it. What would you do there? Well, I know the
answer to that and I think our viewers are probably going to be a little bit
shocked here, but the Traffic Camera Office will accept it as long as both
parties have initialed that correction fluid or the whiteout tape. It is
allowable by the Traffic Camera Office. If you’re presented
with that, you treat it as an amendment or an alteration and again, both
parties must initial that change. Now, this is only for a statutory declaration
for the Traffic Camera Office. If you ever get whiteout or correction fluid on
a document that we’re not talking about today, you really need to check
with the receiving agency whether or not they’ll accept it. How’d I go? That’s great, that’s exactly what they say.
Okay, one more for you Lisa. So what happens, and I’ve had this, but the declarant doesn’t know the current
address of the driver or person they are nominating Yes, that happens from time
to time and it can be unfortunate for some people but the declaration will
only be accepted and processed by the the camera office if there is a full
address, a residential or business address for the person who was driving
the vehicle at the time. If the person who was driving the vehicle does not
have a fixed residential address the camera office suggests that the
declarant provides a residential or business of somebody that they know who
might be able to forward it onto the person. Whether that someone
collects mail from a particular address or place at the time. So can be a little
bit tricky for people sometimes but there must be a residential or a
business address in that section of the person being nominated. But again I
suppose that if they’ve got absolutely no idea, the default is the person needs
to contact the camera office. We can’t provide any advice on what the person
should or shouldn’t be doing there. Really, our role is if someone is in
a situation where they can’t resolve it, they need to go back to the camera
office. We have one last one, and we get asked this one a lot and it is where
do I place my seal of office on this document because there’s not a lot of
room. There’s lots of writing. It’s a very compressed document, again,
if our viewers aren’t aware section 31 of the Justices of the Peace and
Commissioners for Declarations Act does require you on certain documents to
place your seal of office immediately below or adjacent to your signature. But
as you mentioned, Lisa, it’s very compressed this one and the Traffic
Camera Office will accept the correctly witnessed form if you do not place your
seal of office on it. Okay? Use your prescribed mark of office but
yes, if you do want to put your seal on on the form then please try
and place it in an area that does not obscure any information or handwriting
or what we like to call wet ink because a Traffic Camera Office may reject that
because it does obscure the information that may prevent the processing of the
of the form. So just a reminder what would I need to put down for my
prescribed mark of office? That would be after my signature, my qualification so
JP (Qual) and my registration number and, as we mentioned before, the Traffic
Camera Office also wants your full name so that would be my full name, Belinda Cronau. I am not going to give out my middle name here. Alright, well that
brings us to the end of our our session on camera detected infringement notices.
Belinda and I would just like to say thanks for joining us today. If you have
any other questions around witnessing these particular documents.
Please feel free to contact us at the JP Branch. The information is
available on our website and also on that particular slide and we always
welcome inquiries from our JPS and Cdecs. So once again, thanks very much for
joining. It’s been an absolute pleasure and we hope that you might participate in
some other online professional development in the near future. Yes.
Thanks Lisa. And thank you. See you next time. Thanks for tuning in to our first
professional development training webinar I hope you enjoyed the course. We
look forward to bringing you more professional development training in the
near future. Thank you for your continued work in serving the community of
Queensland. We’d love to receive your feedback on this, our first webinar. You
can get in touch at JPS in the community [email protected]

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