For many Jamaicans, a Justice of the Peace (JP) is most commonly known for authenticating and authorising important documents like a birth certificate, a passport photo, proof of address and character references. However, a JP is much more significant.
JPs are characterised by the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) as persons of unquestionable integrity who seek to promote and protect the rights of individuals and help to give justice to those persons in a particular community. Consequently, they can serve as a Justice in petty court sessions, attend juvenile court sessions, issue summonses, consider applications for bail, sit on licensing panels, and give counsel or advice.
In an effort to strengthen the presence of JPs, the Government of Jamaica (GOJ) has amended the Justices of the Peace (Official Seals) Regulations, 2004 to allow for new seals that have ‘Jamaica’ engraved instead of the parish names. This means a JP is able to perform services, except for those of a Lay Magistrate, across Jamaica instead of being restricted to his or her own parish. Therefore, the various needs of civilians can be greater met through increased access to JPs.
See images of the old and new seal below:
The MOJ has started the roll-out and replacement of the seals in Trelawny and Hanover, and will make contact with JPs through their custos. This activity is expected to end in the 2025/2026 Financial Year. Persons with the old seal can continue using it until it is replaced.
For additional information, contact:
Ministry of Justice
61 Constant Spring Road
Toll Free: 1888-4-justice (587-8423)