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Justice of the Peace Duties

Perform Marriages 

Many Justices of the Peace are called upon to perform marriages. The Justice of the Peace should read the marriage license carefully and determine that the following items are in order:

1. Verify that both individuals are the persons who are named on the license and that the license was issued by the registrar of vital statistics for the town in which the marriage is to be celebrated. 13

2. Verify that the signatures of both people to be married and the certification of the registrar are on the marriage license.

3. If either person is under the age of 18, assure that written consent of the parent or guardian has been filed with the registrar and that such consent was signed and acknowledged before a person authorized to take acknowledgments. If there is no parent or guardian who is a resident of the United States than ensure that a written endorsement on the license has been provided by the judge of probate for the district in which the minor resides.

4. If either person is under the age of 16, assure that a written endorsement on the license has been provided by the judge of probate for the district in which the minor resides.

5. If either person is under the supervision or control of a conservatorship, assure that written consent of the conservator has been filed with the registrar and that such consent was signed and acknowledged before a person authorized to take acknowledgments.

6. Verify that the marriage license is still within the valid period of not more than sixty-five days after the date of application. The justice of the peace should complete the certificate in BLACK INK, sign it, and mail it to the registrar of vital records of the town where the marriage was performed. DO NOT give the certificate back to the persons joined in marriage. Filing the license is the justice of the peace's responsibility.


The marriage license should be returned to the town in which the marriage took place as soon as possible. Conn. Gen. Stat.§46b-34 indicates the license must be returned before or during the first week of the month following the marriage. It is the responsibility of the person performing the marriage to return the license - DO NOT give it to the either person joined in marriage to return. However, if any person fails to return the certificate to the registrar, as required, the persons joined in marriage may provide the registrar with a notarized affidavit attesting to the fact that they were joined in marriage and stating the date and place of the marriage. Upon the recording of such affidavit by the registrar, the marriage of the affiants shall be deemed to be valid as of the date of the marriage stated in the affidavit.

Addminstrate Oaths 

A Justice of the Peace may administer an oath in all cases except as otherwise provided by law, pursuant to §1-24 of the Connecticut General Statutes. Black's Law Dictionary defines an oath as "Any form of attestation by which a person signifies that he is bound in conscience to perform an act faithfully and truthfully.... An outward pledge by the person taking it that his attestation or promise is made under an immediate sense of responsibility to God."3 An oath is personal in nature and thus one person may not take an oath for another.


An affidavit is "a written or printed declaration or statement of facts, made voluntarily, and confirmed by the oath or affirmation of the party making it, taken before a person having authority to administer such oath or affirmation."4 Because a Justice of the Peace has general oath giving powers (Conn. Gen. Stat.§1-24), a Justice of the Peace in Connecticut may sign an affidavit after administering an oath (see section on "Oaths").

For More Information about Justice of the Peace, Check out the Justice of the Peace Manual.

Certified Notary

A Notary Public is an official of integrity appointed by state government —typically by the secretary of state — to serve the public as an impartial witness in performing a variety of official fraud-deterrent acts related to the signing of important documents. These official acts are called notarizations, or notarial acts. Notaries are publicly commissioned as “ministerial” officials, meaning that they are expected to follow written rules without the exercise of significant personal discretion, as would otherwise be the case with a “judicial” official.

What Does A Notary Do?

A Notary's duty is to screen the signers of important documents for their true identity, their willingness to sign without duress or intimidation, and their awareness of the contents of the document or transaction. Some notarizations also require the Notary to put the signer under an oath, declaring under penalty of perjury that the information contained in a document is true and correct. Property deeds, wills and powers of attorney are examples of documents that commonly require a Notary.

Impartiality is the foundation of the Notary's public trust. They are duty-bound not to act in situations where they have a personal interest. The public trusts that the Notary’s screening tasks have not been corrupted by self-interest. And impartiality dictates that a Notary never refuse to serve a person due to race, nationality, religion, politics, sexual orientation or status as a non-customer.

As official representatives of the state, Notaries Public certify the proper execution of many of the life-changing documents of private citizens — whether those diverse transactions convey real estate, grant powers of attorney, establish a prenuptial agreement, or perform the multitude of other activities that enable our civil society to function.

Why Are Notaries And Notarizations Necessary?

Through the process of notarization, Notaries deter fraud and establish that the signer knows what document they’re signing, and that they’re a willing participant in the transaction.

How Does A Notary Identify A Signer?

Generally, a Notary will ask to see a current ID that has a photo, physical description and signature. Acceptable IDs usually include a driver’s license or passport.

What A Notary Is Not

Unlike Notaries in foreign countries, a U.S. Notary Public is not an attorney, judge or high-ranking official. A U.S. Notary is not the same as a Notario Publico and these differences can be confusing for immigrants when they approach Notaries in this country. Notaries in the United States should be very clear about what they can or cannot do to serve immigrants the right way and steer clear of notario issues.

Information on Notary Public provided by:

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