Information on Justices of the Peace

The office of Justice of the Peace was merged into that of Notary Public between 1981 and 1988.

The old-fashioned Justice of the Peace, who hung out a shingle and married people and performed minor judicial duties, no longer exists in Maine. The duties that formerly were attached to this office were transferred to that of Notary Public; the transfer concluded in 1988. That's why Maine Notaries can officiate at marriages and perform certain other duties that would not be allowed in many other states for their Notaries Public.

There is, however, an office called Justice of the Peace in Maine. In 1989, an office formerly called Complaint Justice was renamed Justice of the Peace in response to a constitutional problem. This new JP must be an attorney or another official of the court, and is selected by the Chief Judge of a District Court to perform duties such as receiving complaints, and issuing processes for arrest and search warrants. The core statute that defines this new office is Title 4 section 161.

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