The Attorney General's Chambers, Jamaica
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Divisions

The Divisions of the AGC

In 1976 various functional Divisions were created in the Chambers to create expertise in specific areas and to provide a framework for the more effective supervision and management of diversified subject matters falling within the province of the Attorney General.  A Ministry paper was prepared and approved in relation to this restructuring of the Chambers.  It is said that the intention was to allow attorneys to move from division to division to broaden their areas of expertise.

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The Attorney General's Chambers

After Independence

Upon independence Jamaica became responsible for its international relations.  At first, international affairs were addressed by the seconding of attorneys from the Chambers to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  This system did not work well and was eventually discontinued.  International affairs are now addressed by the International Law Division in the Chambers and attorneys at the Ministry of Foreign affairs.

Since Independence, the Attorney General’s Chambers has operated from the following locations:

  • 1962 - 1976: The top floor of what is now solely the Supreme Court building (in the area now occupied by the library and Court 9). During this time the Crown Solicitor’s office was located at various locations including Barry Street, King Street and East Street.
  • 1976 - 2001: The Mutual Life Building at 79 Barry Street.
  • 2001 - Present: The Mutual Life Building (North Tower) 2 Oxford Road, Kingston 5 (renamed the NCB Towers in 2004).
The Attorney General is, by virtue of the Constitution, the principal legal advisor to the Government of Jamaica. In performing this function, advice on a wide array of issues of a civil nature must be provided; accordingly the Chambers is divided into five specialist divisions.

Litigation

This Division is the advocacy arm of the Chambers and is therefore responsible for the conduct of all civil proceedings instituted against, and on behalf of the Government of Jamaica. Matters involving judicial review and Constitutional Redress are also dealt with in this Division. Attorneys assigned to litigation represent the Government before all the Courts of the Island that is, the Resident Parish Courts, the Court of Appeal and the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

International

Work in this Division involves providing legal advice to the Government of Jamaica on all matters involving international law, the negotiation and drafting of treaties and other international agreements and protocols, and in relation to the performance of Jamaica’s obligations under them. Attorneys in this Division perform the function of representing Jamaica before such agencies as the United Nations and its specialized agencies, the Caribbean Community and Common Market and other world organizations. This Division is also responsible for the preparation of multi-lateral agreements, treaties and bilateral agreements with foreign states.

General Legal Advice

In this Division, Attorneys provide advice to Ministries, Departments and Agencies on a wide breadth of legal matters. Members of this Division represent the Crown at the Industrial Disputes Tribunal, the Public and Police Services Commissions and conduct arbitrations on behalf of the Government. They also advise the Government on matters relating to licensing authorities and land acquisition.

Constitutional and Legislation

This Division is responsible for examining and providing advice on all proposed legislation before they are presented to Parliament. Attorneys in this Division also advise the Government of Jamaica on the constitutionality of proposed action; on the Public Service Regulations, the Judicial Service Regulations and the Police Service Regulations; on matters relating to nationality, citizenship and legislation and on issues relating to law reform.

Commercial

The Commercial Division is responsible for advising the Government of Jamaica on all matters commercial. Its functions include representing the Government in negotiations with national and international corporations, national and multi- national commercial institutions, particularly as regards the area of finance and taxation, and in negotiating international loan agreements (including those with the World Bank and Foreign Commercial Banks) and bilateral agreements with foreign states. The work of this Division also involves advising on the issuing of Government paper, project financing (e.g. Highway 2000) and privatization.