The Duties of Jamaica’s Attorney General

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Section 79(1) of the Constitution provides that “there shall be appointed an attorney general who shall be the principal legal adviser to the Government“.

The Attorney General is not responsible for criminal proceedings, which are vested in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (“the DPP”). Unlike the DPP who is a permanent public officer,  the Attorney General is politically appointed by the Governor General acting on the advice of the Prime Minister.

Duties of the Attorney General include:

  • All civil proceedings by or against the Government are instituted in the name of the Attorney General pursuant to the Crown Proceedings Act. Therefore, the Attorney General acts as the respondent in civil matters which are initiated against the Government of Jamaica.
  • The Attorney General has the ability to initiate or intervene in certain legal proceedings of a public nature. The Attorney General has the power to initiate proceedings if she takes the view that a public nuisance is being committed, or if a statutory duty is not being complied with.

According to the Ministry of Justice’s website, the functional divisions of the Attorney General’s Chambers are as follows:

a. Litigation,

b. Commercial Affairs and Industrial Relations,

c. International Affairs and Negotiations, 

d. Constitutional Law, Legislation, Law Revision and Law Reform,

e. General Legal Advice,

f. State Proceedings