Jamaica 1962 Constitution (reviewed 2015)

Table of Contents


1. Interpretation

  1. In this Constitution unless it is otherwise provided or the context otherwise requires—
    • “Act of Parliament” means any law made by Parliament;
      “the appointed day” means the sixth day of August 1962;

      “the Broad Seal” means the Broad Seal of Jamaica;

      “the Cabinet” means the Cabinet established by section 69 of this Constitution;

      “the Clerk” and “the Deputy Clerk” mean respectively the Clerk and the Deputy Clerk of either House, as the context may require;

      “the Commonwealth” means Jamaica, any country to which section 9 of this Constitution applies and any dependency of any such country;

      “the Consolidated Fund” means the Consolidated Fund established by section 114 of this Constitution;

      “constituency” means an area of Jamaica having separate representation in the House of Representatives;

      “defence force” means any naval, military or air force of the Crown in right of the Government of Jamaica;

      “the financial year” means the twelve months ending on the 31st day of March in any year or on such other date as may from time to time be prescribed by Act of Parliament;

      “the Gazette” means the Jamaica Gazette;

      “House” means either the Senate or the House of Representatives as the context may require;

      “Jamaica” has the meaning attributed to that expression in the Jamaica Independence Act, 1962;

      “law” includes any instrument having the force of law and any unwritten rule of law and “lawful” and “lawfully” shall be construed accordingly;

      “oath of allegiance” means the oath of allegiance set out in the First Schedule to this Constitution;

      “Parliament” means the Parliament of Jamaica;

      “police officer” means a member of the Jamaica Constabulary Force or any force, by whatever name called, for the time being succeeding to the functions of the Jamaica Constabulary Force;

      “the President” and “the Deputy President” mean respectively the President and the Deputy President of the Senate elected under section 42 of this Constitution;

      “Privy Council” means the Privy Council established by section 82 of this Constitution;

      “public office” means any office of emolument in the public service;

      “public officer” means the holder of any public office and includes any person appointed to act in any such office;

      “the public service” means, subject to the provisions of subsections (5) and (6) of this section, the service of the Crown in a civil capacity in respect of the Government of Jamaica (including service as a member of the Judicial Service Commission, the Public Service Commission or the Police Service Commission) and includes public service in respect of the former Colony of Jamaica;

      “session” means, in relation to a House, the sittings of that House commencing when it first meets after this Constitution comes into force or after the prorogation or dissolution of Parliament at any time and terminating when Parliament is prorogued or is dissolved without having been prorogued;

      “sitting” means, in relation to a House, a period during which that House is sitting continuously without adjournment and includes any period during which the House is in committee;

      “the Speaker” and “the Deputy Speaker” mean respectively the Speaker and Deputy Speaker elected under section 43 of this Constitution.

  2. Save where this Constitution otherwise provides or the context otherwise requires—
    1. any reference in this Constitution to an appointment to any office shall be construed as including a reference to an appointment on promotion or transfer to that office and to the appointment of a person to perform the functions of that office during any period during which it is vacant or during which the holder thereof is unable (whether by reason of absence or infirmity of body or mind or any other cause) to perform those functions; and
    2. any reference in this Constitution to the holder of an office by the term designating his office shall be construed as including a reference to any person for the time being lawfully performing the functions of that office.
  3. Where by this Constitution power is conferred on any person or authority to appoint a person to perform the functions of any office if the holder thereof is unable himself to perform its functions, any such appointment shall not be called in question on the ground that the holder of that office was not unable to perform those functions.
  4. For the purposes of this Constitution a person shall not be considered as holding a public office by reason only of the fact that he is in receipt of a pension or other like allowance in respect of public service.
  5. If it is provided by any law for the time being in force that an office (not being an office constituted by this Constitution) shall not be a public office for the purposes of Chapter V of this Constitution, this Constitution shall have effect accordingly as if that provision of that law were enacted herein.
  6. In this Constitution “the public service” does not include service in the office of Governor-General, President, Deputy President, Speaker, Deputy Speaker, Minister, Parliamentary Secretary, Leader of the Opposition, Senator, member of the House of Representatives, member of the Privy Council, Judge of the Supreme Court or Judge of the Court of Appeal or Clerk or Deputy Clerk of either House or service on the personal staff of the Governor-General or, subject to the provisions of section 79 of this Constitution, service in the office of Attorney-General.
  7. References in this Constitution to the power to remove a public officer from his office shall be construed as including references to any power conferred by any law to require or permit that officer to retire from the public service:Provided that—
    1. nothing in this subsection shall be construed as conferring on any person or authority power to require a Judge of the Supreme Court or Court of Appeal or the Director of Public Prosecutions or the Auditor-General to retire from the public service; and
    2. any power conferred by any law to permit a person to retire from the public service shall, in the case of any public officer who may be removed from office by some person or authority other than a Commission established by this Constitution, vest in the Public Service Commission.
  8. Where any power is conferred by this Constitution to make any Proclamation or order or to give any directions, the power shall be construed as including a power exercisable in like manner to amend or revoke any such Proclamation, order or directions.
  9. No provision of this Constitution that any person or authority shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority in exercising any functions under this Constitution shall be construed as precluding a court from exercising jurisdiction in relation to any question whether that person or authority has performed those functions in accordance with this Constitution or any other law.
  10. Any reference in this Constitution to a law enacted before the commencement of this Constitution shall, unless the context otherwise requires, be construed as a reference to that law as in force immediately before the appointed day.
  11. Where a person is required by this Constitution to make an oath he shall be permitted, if he so desires, to comply with that requirement by making an affirmation.
  12. The Interpretation Act, 1889, as in force on the appointed day, shall apply, with the necessary adaptations, for the purpose of interpreting this Constitution and otherwise in relation thereto as it applies for the purpose of interpreting, and in relation to, Acts of Parliament of the United Kingdom.

2. Effect of this Constitution

Subject to the provisions of sections 49 and 50 of this Constitution, if any other law is inconsistent with this Constitution, this Constitution shall prevail and the other law shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void.