The Judicature

                                                         Part I
                                             The Supreme Court

Section 1. (1) There shall be a Supreme Court for Jamaica which shall have such jurisdiction and powers as may be conferred upon it by this Constitution or any other law.

(2) The Judges of the Supreme Court shall be the Chief Justice, a Senior Puisne Judge and such number of other Puisne Judges as may be prescribed by Parliament.

(3) No office of Judge of the Supreme Court shall be abolished while there is a substantive holder thereof.

(4) The Supreme Court shall be a superior court of record and, save as otherwise provided by Parliament, shall have all the powers of such a court.

Section 2. (1) The Chief Justice shall be appointed by the Governor-General by instrument under the Broad Seal on the recommendation of the Prime Minister after consultation with the Leader of the Opposition.

(2) The Puisne Judges shall be appointed by the Governor-General by instrument under the Broad Seal acting on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission.

(3) The qualifications for appointment as a Judge of the Supreme Court shall be such as may be prescribed by any law for the time being in force:
Provided that a person who has been appointed as a Judge of the Supreme Court may continue in office notwithstanding any subsequent variations in the qualifications so prescribed.

Section 3. (1) If the office of Chief Justice is vacant or if the Chief Justice is for any reason unable to perform the functions of his office, then, until a person has been appointed to that office and assumed its functions or, as the case may be, until the Chief Justice has resumed those functions, they shall be performed by such other person, qualified under subsection (3) of section 98 of this Constitution for appointment as a Judge, as the Governor-General, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister may appoint for that purpose by instrument under the Broad Seal.

(2) If the office of a Puisne Judge of the Supreme Court is vacant, or if any such Judge is appointed to act as Chief Justice or as a Judge of the Court of Appeal, or is for any reason unable to perform the functions of his office, the Governor-General, acting on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission, may by instrument under the Broad Seal appoint a person qualified under subsection (3) of section 98 of this Constitution for appointment as a Judge to act as a Judge of the Supreme Court, and any person so appointed shall, subject to the provisions of subsection (3) of section 100 of this Constitution, continue to act for the period of his appointment or, if no such period is specified, until his appointment is revoked by the Governor-General acting on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission:
Provided that he may, at any time, resign his acting office.

(3) Any person appointed to act as a Judge under the provisions of this section may, notwithstanding that the period of his appointment has expired or his appointment has been revoked, sit as a Judge for the purpose of delivering judgment or doing any other thing in relation to proceedings which were commenced before him while he was so acting.

Section 4. (1) Subject to the provisions of subsections (4) to (7) (inclusive) of this section, a Judge of the Supreme Court shall hold office until he attains the age of seventy years:
Provided that he may at any time resign his office

(2) Notwithstanding that he has attained the age at which he is required by or under the provisions of this section to vacate his office a person holding the office of Judge of the Supreme Court may, with the permission of the Governor-General, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister, continue in office for such period after attaining that age as may be necessary to enable him to deliver judgment or to do any other thing in relation to proceedings that were commenced before him before he attained that age.

(3) Nothing done by a Judge of the Supreme Court shall be invalid by reason only that he has attained the age at which he is required by this section to vacate his office.

(4) A Judge of the Supreme Court may be removed from office only for inability to discharge the functions of his office (whether arising from infirmity of body or mind or any other cause) or for misbehaviour, and shall not be so removed except in accordance with the provisions of subsection (5) of this section.

(5) A Judge of the Supreme Court shall be removed from office by the Governor-General by instrument under the Broad Seal if the question of the removal of that Judge from office has, at the request of the Governor-General, made in pursuance of subsection (6) of this section, been referred by Her Majesty to the Judicial Committee of Her Majesty's Privy Council under section 4 of the Judicial Committee Act, 1833, or any other enactment enabling Her Majesty in that behalf, and the Judicial Committee has advised Her Majesty that the Judge ought to be removed from office for inability as aforesaid or for misbehaviour.

(6) If the Prime Minister (in the case of the Chief Justice) or the Chief Justice after consultation with the Prime Minister (in the case of any other Judge) represents to the Governor-General the question of removing a Judge from of the Supreme Court from office for inability as aforesaid or for misbehaviour ought to be investigated, then -
  1. the Governor-General shall appoint a tribunal, which shall consist of a Chairman and not less than two other members, selected by the Governor-General on the advice of the Prime Minister (in the case of the Chief Justice) or of the Chief Justice (in the case of any other Judge) from among persons who hold or have held office as a judge of a court having unlimited jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters in some part of the Commonwealth or a court having jurisdiction in appeals from any such court;
  2. that tribunal shall enquire into the matter and report on the facts thereof to the Governor-General and recommend to the Governor-General whether he should request that the question of the removal of that Judge should be referred by Her Majesty to the Judicial Committee; and
  3. if the tribunal so recommends, the Governor-General shall request that the question should be referred accordingly.
(7) The provisions of the Commissions of Enquiry Act as in force immediately before the appointed day shall, subject to the provisions of this section and of the Third Schedule to this Constitution, apply as nearly as may be in relation to tribunals appointed under subsection (6) of this section or, as the context may require, to the members thereof as they apply in relation to Commissions or Commissioners appointed under that Act, and for that purpose shall have effect as if they formed part of this Constitution.

(8) If the question of removing a Judge of the Supreme Court from office has been referred to a tribunal appointed under subsection (6) of this section, the Governor-General, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister (in the case of the Chief Justice) or of the Chief Justice after the Chief Justice has consulted with the Prime Minister (in the case of any other Judge), may suspend the Judge from performing the functions of his office.

(9) Any such suspension may at any time be revoked by the Governor-General, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister or the Chief Justice (as the case may be), and shall in any case cease to have effect -
  1. if the tribunal recommends to the Governor-General that he should not request that the question of the removal of the Judge from office should be referred by Her Majesty to the Judicial Committee; or
  2. the Judicial Committee advises Her Majesty that the Judge ought not to be removed from office.
(10) The provisions of this section shall be without prejudice to the provisions of subsection (2) of section 99 of this Constitution.

Section 5. (1) The Judges of the Supreme Court shall receive such emoluments and be subject to such other terms and conditions of service as may from time to time be prescribed by or under any law:
Provided that the emoluments and terms and conditions of service of such a Judge, other than allowances that are not taken into account in computing pensions, shall not be altered to his disadvantage during his continuance in office.

(2) The salaries for the time being payable to the Judges of the Supreme Court under this Constitution shall be charged on and paid out of the Consolidated Fund.

Section 6. A Judge of the Supreme Court shall not enter upon the duties of his office unless he has taken and subscribed the oath of allegiance and the judicial oath in the forms set out in the First Schedule to this Constitution.

                                                       Part II
                                                Court of Appeal

Section 7. (1) There shall be a Court of Appeal for Jamaica which shall have such jurisdiction and powers as may be conferred upon it by this Constitution or any other law.

(2) The Judges of the Court of Appeal shall be-
  1. a President;
  2. the Chief Justice by virtue of his office as head of the Judiciary but who, however, shall not sit in the Court of Appeal unless there are at least four other Judges sitting and unless he has been invited so to sit by the President of the Court;
  3. three other Judges; and
  4. such number, if any, of other Judges as may be prescribed by Parliament.
(3) The President of the Court of Appeal shall be responsible for the arrangement of the work of the Court and shall preside whenever he is sitting in that Court.

(4) No office of Judge of the Court of Appeal shall be abolished while there is a substantive holder thereof.

(5) The Court of Appeal shall be a superior court of record and, save as otherwise provided by Parliament, shall have all the powers of such a court.

Section 8. (1) The President of the Court of Appeal shall be appointed by the Governor-General by instrument under the Broad Seal on the recommendation of the Prime Minister after consultation with the Leader of the Opposition.

(2) The other Judges of the Court of Appeal shall be appointed by the Governor-General by instrument under the Broad Seal acting on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission.

(3) The qualifications for appointment as a Judge of the Court of Appeal shall be such as may be prescribed by any law for the time being in force:
Provided that a person who has been appointed as a Judge of the Court of Appeal may continue in office notwithstanding any subsequent variations in the qualifications so prescribed.

Section 9. (1) If the office of President of the Court of Appeal is vacant or if the President of the Court of Appeal is for any reason unable to perform the functions of his office, then, until a person has been appointed to that office and assumed its functions or, as the case may be, until the President of the Court of Appeal has resumed those functions, they shall be performed by such other person, qualified under subsection (3) of section 104 of this Constitution for appointment as a Judge of the Court of Appeal, as the Governor-General, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister, may appoint for that purpose by instrument under the Broad Seal.

(2) If the office of a Judge of the Court of Appeal (other than the President) is vacant, or if any such Judge is appointed to act as President of the Court of Appeal, or is for any reason unable to perform the functions of his office, the Governor-General, acting on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission, may by instrument under the Broad Seal appoint a person qualified under subsection.
(3) of section 104 of this Constitution for appointment as a Judge of the Court of Appeal to act as a Judge of the Court of Appeal, and any person so appointed shall, subject to the provisions of subsection (3) of section 106 of this Constitution, continue to act for the period of his appointment or, if no such period is specified, until his appointment is revoked by the Governor-General acting on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission.

(3) Any person appointed to act as a Judge of the Court of Appeal under the provisions of this section may, notwithstanding that the period of his appointment has expired or his appointment has been revoked, sit as a Judge for the purpose of delivering judgment or doing any other thing in relation to proceedings which were commenced before him while he was so acting.

Section 10. (1) Subject to the provisions of subsections (4) to (7) (inclusive) of this section, a Judge of the Court of Appeal shall hold office until he attains the age of seventy years:
Provided that he may at any time resign his office.

(2) Notwithstanding that he has attained the age at which he is required by or under the provisions of this section to vacate his office a person holding the office of Judge of the Court of Appeal may, with the permission of the Governor-General, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister, continue in office for such period after attaining that age as may be necessary to enable him to deliver judgment or to do any other thing in relation to proceedings that were commenced before him before he attained that age.

(3) Nothing done by a Judge of the Court of Appeal shall be invalid by reason only that he has attained the age at which he is required by this section to vacate his office.

(4) A Judge of the Court of Appeal may be removed from office only for inability to discharge the functions of his office (whether arising from infirmity of body or mind or any other cause) or for misbehaviour, and shall not be so removed except in accordance with the provisions of subsection (5) of this section.

(5) A Judge of the Court of Appeal shall be removed from office by the Governor-General by instrument under the Broad Seal if the question of the removal of that Judge from office has, at the request of the Governor-General made in pursuance of subsection.
(6) of this section, been referred by Her Majesty to the Judicial Committee of Her Majesty's Privy Council under section 4 of the Judicial Committee Act, 1833, or any other enactment enabling Her Majesty in that behalf, and the Judicial Committee has advised Her Majesty that the Judge ought to be removed from office for inability as aforesaid or for misbehaviour.

(6) If the Prime Minister (in the case of the President of the Court of Appeal) or the President of the Court of Appeal after consultation with the Prime Minister (in the case of any other Judge) represents to the Governor-General that the question of removing a Judge of the Court of Appeal from office for inability as aforesaid or for misbehaviour ought to be investigated, then -
  1. the Governor-General shall appoint a tribunal, which shall consist of a Chairman and not less than two other members, selected by the Governor-General on the advice of the Prime Minister (in the case of the President of the Court of Appeal) or of the President of the Court of Appeal (in the case of any other Judge) from among persons who hold or have held office as a Judge of a court having unlimited jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters in some part of the Commonwealth or a court having jurisdiction in appeals from any such court;
  2. that tribunal shall inquire into the matter and report on the facts thereof to the Governor-General and recommend to the Governor-General whether he should request that the question of the removal of that Judge should be referred by Her Majesty to the Judicial Committee; and
  3. if the tribunal so recommends, the Governor-General shall request that the question should be referred accordingly.
(7) The provisions of the Commissions of Enquiry Act as in force immediately before the appointed day shall, subject to the provisions of this section and of the Third Schedule to this Constitution, apply as nearly as may be in relation to tribunals appointed under subsection (6) of this section or, as the context may require, to the members thereof as they apply in relation to Commissions or Commissioners appointed under that Act, and for that purpose shall have effect as if they formed part of this Constitution.

(8) If the question of removing a Judge of the Court of Appeal from office has been referred to a tribunal appointed under subsection (6) of this section, the Governor-General acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister (in the case of the President of the Court of Appeal) or of the President of the Court of Appeal after the President of the Court of Appeal has consulted with the Prime Minister (in the case of any other Judge), may suspend the Judge from performing the functions of his office.

(9) Any such suspension may at any time be revoked by the Governor-General, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister or the President of the Court of Appeal (as the case may be), and shall in any case cease to have effect if -
  1. the tribunal recommends to the Governor-General that he should not request that the question of the removal of the Judge from office should be referred by Her Majesty to the Judicial Committee; or
  2. the Judicial Committee advises Her Majesty that the Judge ought not to be removed from office.
(10) The provisions of this section shall be without prejudice to the provisions of subsection (2) of section 105 of this Constitution.

(11) The provisions of this section and of sections 107 and 108 of this Constitution shall not apply to the Chief Justice.

Section 11. (1) The Judges of the Court of Appeal shall receive such emoluments and be subject to such other terms and conditions of service as may from time to time be prescribed by or under any law:
Provided that the emoluments and terms and conditions of service of such a Judge, other than allowances that are not taken into account in computing pensions, shall not be altered to his disadvantage during his continuance in office.

(2) The salaries for the time being payable to the Judges of the Court of Appeal under this Constitution shall be charged on and paid out of the Consolidated Fund.

Section 12. A Judge of the Court of Appeal shall not enter upon the duties of his office unless he has taken and subscribed the oath of allegiance and the judicial oath in the forms set out in the First Schedule to this Constitution.

Section 13. The Court of Appeal shall, when determining any matter other than an interlocutory matter, be composed of an uneven number of Judges, not being less than three.

                                                      Part III
                                  Appeals to Her Majesty in Council

Section 14. (1) An appeal shall lie from decisions of the Court of Appeal to Her Majesty in Council as of right in the following cases-
  1. where the matter in dispute on the appeal to Her Majesty in Council is of the value of one thousand dollars or upwards or where the appeal involves directly or indirectly a claim to or question respecting property or a right of the value of one thousand dollars or upwards, final decisions in any civil proceedings;
  2. final decisions in proceedings for dissolution or nullity of marriage;
  3. final decisions in any civil, criminal or other proceedings on questions as to the interpretation of this Constitution; and
  4. such other cases as may be prescribed by Parliament.
(2) An appeal shall lie from decisions of the Court of Appeal to Her Majesty in Council with the leave of the Court of Appeal in the following cases -
  1. where in the opinion of the Court of Appeal the question involved in the appeal is one that, by reason of its great general or public importance or otherwise, ought to be submitted to Her Majesty in Council, decisions in any civil proceedings; and
  2. such other cases as may be prescribed by Parliament.
(3) Nothing in this section shall affect any right of Her Majesty to grant special leave to appeal from decisions of the Court of Appeal to Her Majesty in Council in any civil or criminal matter.

(4) The provisions of this section shall be subject to the provisions of subsection (1) of section 44 of this Constitution.

(5) A decision of the Court of Appeal such as is referred to in this section means a decision of that Court on appeal from a Court of Jamaica.

                                                     Part IV
                                       Judicial Service Commission

Section 15. (1) There shall be a Judicial Service Commission for Jamaica.

(2) The members of the Judicial Service Commission shall be -

  1. the Chief Justice who shall be Chairman;
  2. the President of the Court of Appeal;
  3. the Chairman of the Public Service Commission; and
  4. three other members (hereinafter called "the appointed members") appointed in accordance with the provisions of subsection (3) of this section.
(3) The appointed members shall be appointed by the Governor-General, by instrument under the Broad Seal, acting on the recommendation of the Prime Minister after consultation with the Leader of the Opposition -
  1. one from among persons who hold or have held office as a judge of a court having unlimited jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters in some part of the Commonwealth or a court having jurisdiction in appeals from any such court;
  2. two from a list of six persons, none of whom is an attorney-at-law in active practice, submitted by the General Legal Council:
  3. [Deleted by Act 15 of 1971.]
Provided that no person shall be appointed under this subsection who holds or who is acting in any public office other than the office of member of the Public Service Commission or member of the Police Service Commission.

(4) The office of an appointed member of the Judicial Service Commission shall become vacant -

  1. at the expiration of three years from the date of his appointment or at such earlier time as may be specified in the instrument by which he was appointed;
  2. if he resigns his office;
  3. if he is appointed to the office of President of the Court of Appeal, Chief Justice, Chairman of the Public Service Commission or to any public office except the office of member of the Public Service Commission or member of the Police Service Commission;
  4. if the Governor-General, acting on the recommendation of the Prime Minister after consultation with the Leader of the Opposition, directs that he shall be removed from office to discharge the functions thereof (whether arising from infirmity of body or mind or any other cause) or for misbehaviour:
Provided that if the appointed member is a Judge of the Court of Appeal or a Judge of the Supreme Court, he shall not be so removed unless, in accordance with the provisions of section 106 or section 100 of this Constitution (as the case may be), he is removed from his office as a Judge.

(5) If the office of an appointed member is vacant or an appointed member is for any reason unable to perform the functions of his office, the Governor-General, on the recommendation of the Prime Minister after consultation with the Leader of the Opposition, may, by instrument under the Broad Seal, appoint a person, having the same qualifications for appointment as that member, to act as a member of the Commission and any person so appointed shall, subject to the provisions of subsection (4) of this section, continue to act until the office of the appointed member is filled or until his appointment is revoked by the Governor-General, acting as aforesaid.

(6) An appointed member shall not, within a period of three years commencing with the date on which he last held or acted in the office of appointed member, be eligible for appointment to any office power to make appointments to which is vested by this Constitution in the Governor General acting on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission:
Provided that nothing in this subsection shall prevent his being appointed to the office of Judge of the Court of Appeal or Judge of the Supreme Court.

(7) An appointed member shall receive such salary and allowances as may from time to time be prescribed by or under any law or by a resolution of the House of Representatives:
Provided that -

  1. no such resolution may reduce any salary or allowance for the time being prescribed by or under a law; and
  2. the salary of an appointed member shall not be reduced during his continuance in office.
(8) The salary for the time being payable to an appointed member under this Constitution shall be charged on and paid out of the Consolidated Fund.

(9) Nothing in subsection (7) of this section shall entitle the appointed member to any salary in respect of his office as such, if he is also a Judge of the Court of Appeal or a Judge of the Supreme Court.

(10) For the purposes of this section, "public office" does not include office as a member of any board, panel, committee or other similar body (whether incorporated or not) established by any law for the time being in force in Jamaica.

(11) [Deleted by Act 15 of 1971]

Section 16. (1) Power to make appointments to the offices to which this section applies and, subject to the provisions of subsections (3) and (4) of this section, to remove and to exercise disciplinary control over persons holding or acting in such offices is hereby vested in the Governor-General acting on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission.

(2) This section applies to the offices of Resident Magistrate, Judge of the Traffic Court, Registrar of the Supreme Court, Registrar of the Court of Appeal and to such other offices connected with the courts of Jamaica as, subject to the provisions of this Constitution, may be prescribed by Parliament.

(3) Before the Governor-General acts in accordance with the advice of the Judicial Service Commission that any officer holding or acting in any office to which this section applies should be removed or that any penalty should be imposed on him by way of disciplinary control he shall inform the officer of that advice and, if the officer then applies for the case to be referred to the Privy Council, the Governor-General shall not act in accordance with the advice but shall refer the case to the Privy Council accordingly:
Provided that the Governor-General, acting on the advice of the Commission, may nevertheless suspend that officer from the exercise of his office pending the determination of the reference to the Privy Council.

(4) Where a reference is made to the Privy Council under the provisions of subsection (3) of this section, the Privy Council shall consider the case and shall advise the Governor-General what action should be taken in respect of the officer, and the Governor-General shall then act in accordance with such advice.

Section 17. The Governor-General, acting on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission, may by instrument under the Broad Seal direct that, subject to such conditions as may be specified in that instrument, power to make appointments to such offices, being offices to which section 112 of this Constitution applies, as may be so specified shall (without prejudice to the exercise of such power by the Governor-General acting on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission) be exercisable by such one or more members of the Commission or by such other authority or public officer as may be so specified, but in any case where the person to be appointed under this section holds or is acting in any office power to make appointments to which is vested by this Constitution in the Governor-General acting on the advice of the Public Service Commission or the Police Service Commission, the person or authority specified in the aforesaid instrument shall consult with the Public Service Commission or the Police Service Commission, as the case may be, before making such appointment.