JUSTICES OF THE PEACE
The Ministry through its Public Law Restorative and Preventative Justice Unit provides for the administration of Justices of the Peace services.
A Justice of the Peace (JP) is a person of unquestionable integrity, who seeks to promote and protect the rights of individuals. The position of a JP originated in England in 1361. The "peace" to be guarded was the "King's (Sovereign's) peace".
A JP is constituted, empowered and governed by The Justices of the Peace Act, 2018.
- Other critical Legislation that empowers a JP: The Justices of the Peace Jurisdiction Act; The Spirit Licence Act; The Bail Act and The Law Reform (Zones of Special Operations) (Special Security and Community Development Measures) Act.
Functions of a Justice of the Peace
In addition to upholding the rights of citizens, the JP is required to:
- serve the public in attesting and authenticating documents under the official seal, for example; passport forms, passport size pictures and banking applications
- perform Judicial functions (in Parish Courts or a Lay Magistrates’ Courts, preside in Children’s Courts)
- attend the Children’s Courts and Drug Court
- consider applications for bail
- visit Prisons/Lock ups, Children Homes and Homes for the Aged
- serve on the Licensing Authority for Spirit Licence other than Wholesale and Occasional Licences
- give counsel and advice
Justice of the Peace is a Voluntary Service
The office of a JP is voluntary and accordingly request and/or acceptance of reward and/or payment for any service performed by a Justice of the Peace is not allowed.
Apply to become a Justice of the Peace
Download the Application Form and submit the completed form to the Custos of your parish.
Criteria for appointment as a Justice of the Peace
To be appointed a Justice of the Peace, the applicant must fulfil the following criteria:
- be a Jamaican citizen who is resident in Jamaica at the time of appointment, and is able to read and write in the English Language
- attain the age of twenty-three (23) years
- is an individual whom the Governor General is satisfied that:
- is of unquestionable integrity
- commands the respect and confidence of the individual’s community; and
- has given good service to the community or the wider Jamaica, and who demonstrates the potential for continuing to give such service.
How is a Justice of the Peace Selected?
- Any citizen, club, organisation or other such body or enterprise, may apply in writing in the prescribed form to the Custos Rotulorum (the “Custos”) of the parish for which the applicant resides or work.
- Upon receipt of an application, the Custos may cause a member of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, the rank of an inspector or above, to inquire into the background of the applicant. Thereafter the Custos submits the application for the consideration of the Advisory Committee to ensure applicant is eligible for appointment as a Justice of the Peace. The Advisory Committee constitutes: the Custos; the most senior Parish Court Judge or a nominee of that Judge; a Senior Police Officer, the rank of a Deputy Superintendent or above; and such other person(s) approved by the Minister
- The Advisory Committee through the Custos submits to the Minister the name(s) of the applicant(s) who are considered suitable for appointment.
- The Minister, upon receipt of the Advisory Committee’s submission of names of applicants suitable for appointment:
- ensures the named applicant(s) undergoes a qualifying training for Justices of the Peace at the Justice Training Institute (JTI); thereafter,
- recommends to the Governor-General the constituted name(s) of the applicant(s) for appointment as Justice(s) of the Peace.
- Each appointment is by Commission under the auspice of the Custos of that parish; the JP is issued with the Instruments of Office and entrusted with an official seal authorizing the discharge of the functions of the Office.
- By virtue of the Oath of Office taken at commissioning, a JP undertakes to ‘well and truly serve the Office of Justice of the Peace’
Conduct of a Justice of the Peace
A JP is governed by a Code of Conduct as set out under the First Schedule of the Justices of the Peace Act, 2018.
Reporting obligation of a Justice of the Peace
A JP is required to submit at the end of the calendar year a report to the Custos. This report is provided in a prescribed form. Download the Annual Report Form.
Number of Justices of the Peace Islandwide
Over nine thousand (9,000) Justices of the Peace have been appointed to serve in Jamaica.