Archives and Records Act

Link to law: http://laws.gov.ag/acts/chapters/cap-35.pdf
Published: 1983

Archives and Records (CAP. 35 1

CHAPTER 35

THE ARCHIVES AND RECORDS ACT

Arrangement of Sections
Section

1. Short title.
2. Interpretation.
3. General responsibility of Minister for public

records.
4. Establishment of Archives and Records Office and

appointment of Archivist.
5. Examination of records and transfer of such records to

the Archives and Records Office.
Selection and preservation of public records.
Acquisition of records by Archivist.
Access to Archives and Records.
Legal validity of records and authenticated copies.
Return of public records to Government departments.
Appointment and functions of Advisory Council.
Restriction on exportation of records.
Power of Minister to make regulations.

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Archives and Records (CAP. 35 3

ARCHIVES AND RECORDS

(1st November, 1983 .) 1411982.

1. This Act may be cited as the Archives and Records Short title.
Act.

2. In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires- Interpretation.

"Archivist" means the Archivist appointed under
section 4;

"Government department'' includes any office or any
other body or establishment whatsoever existing by
virtue of the Constitution or being under the
Government of Antigua and Barbuda;

"Minister" means the Minister responsible for Archives;

"non-public records" means all records, Archives,
documents and other historical matter of every kind,
nature or description other than public records;

"public records" means all records, archives, documents
and other historical matter of every kind, nature
and description which are in the custody of any
Government department, any Statutory Authori-
ty or any Government appointed body or which
may, after the commencement of this Act, be
transferred by such department, Authority or body
to the Archives and Records Office;

"records" includes both public and non-public records.

3. The Minister shall be generally responsible for the General
responsibility of

execution of this Act and shall supervise the care and preser- ~i,i, , , , for
vation of the Archives and records in Antigua and Barbuda. public records.

4. ( 1 ) There shall be established an office to be called Establishment of
Archives and

the Archives and Records Office with such branches as may Records Office
be deemed necessary or convenient, in which shall be and appointment

of Archivist.

LAWS OF ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA

4 CAP. 35) Archives and Records

preserved such public or non-public records of historical
values as are transferred thereto under section 6 or acquired
by the Archivist under section 7.

(2) There shall be an Archivist, who shall be a public
officer and who, under the direction of the Minister, shall
be responsible for the custody, preservation, arrangement,
repair and rehabilitation, and for such duplication and
reproduction of records maintained at the Archives and
Records Office as may be necessary or appropriate, including
the preparation and publication of inventories, indexes,
catalogues and other finding aids or guides facilitating the
use of such records.

Examination of
records and 5 . (1) The Archivist or any officer of the Archives
transfer of such and Records Office authorised by him shall have power to

the examine any records which are in the custody of any Govern-
Archives and
Records Office. ment department, and shall advise such department as to

the care, custody and control thereof:
Provided that nothing contained in this subsection shall

empower the Archivist, or any other person authorised by
him, to examine any records relating to matters which, by
any other written law, are forbidden to be communicated
to him.

(2) Records in the custody of any Government depart-
ment shall be transferred periodically to the Archives and
Records Office in accordance with regulations made under
section 13.

Selection and
preservation of 6. (1) It shall be the duty of every person responsible
public records. for public records of any description which are not in the

Archives and Records Office to make arrangements for the
selection of those records which ought to be permanently
preserved and for their safe-keeping.

(2) Every such person shall perform his duties under
this section under the guidance of the Archivist and the
Archivist shall be responsible for co-ordinating and super-
vising all action taken under this section.

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Archives and Records (CAP. 35 5

(3) Public Records selected for permanent preservation
under this section shall be transferred to the Archives and
Records Office not later than twenty years after their creation:

Provided that any such records shall not be so transfer-
red but may be retained after the said period if, in the opinion
of the person who is responsible for them, they ought to be
so retained for any special reason.

7. The Archivist, with the approval of the Minister, t;c;:e of
may by Contract, testamentary bequest, or in any other Archivist.
manner acquire all such original non-public records,
documents and other historical material or copies or replicas
thereof as he may deem necessary or desirable to secure for
the Archives and Records Office and he may pay for them
or for the transcribing, binding and repairing thereof out
of such funds as are voted by Parliament for that purpose.

8. (1) Public records in the Archives and Records Access to
Archives and

Office shall not be available for public inspection until they Records.
have been in existence for thirty years or such other period,
either longer or shorter, as the Minister may specify as
respects any particular class of records.

(2) Without prejudice to subsection (I), if it appears
to the person responsible for any public records which have
been selected by him under section 6 for permanent preser-
vation that they contain information which was obtained from
members of the public under such conditions that the open-
ing of those records to the public after the period determin-
ed under subsection (I) would or might constitute a breach
of good faith on the part of the Government of Antigua and
Barbuda or on the part of the persons who obtain the infor-
mation, he shall inform the Minister accordingly and those
public records shall not be available in the Archives and
Records Office for public inspection even after the expira-
tion of the said period except in such circumstances and
subject to such conditions, if any, as the Minister and that
person may approve, or, if the Minister and that person think
fit, after the expiration of such further period as they may
approve.

(3) Non-public records, in the Archives and Records
Office which have been acquired by the Archivist under sec-

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6 CAP. 35) Archives and Records

tion 7 shall be available for public inspection one year after
they have been acquired by the Archivist and have actually
come into his possession:

Provided that where in any contract or testamentary
bequest under which they have been acquired, it is stipulated
that such non-public records shall not be available for public
inspection for a specified period of time not exceeding twenty
years after acquisition, then such non-public records shall
not be available for public inspection until the specified period
of time has elapsed.

(4) Subject to subsections (I), (2) and (3) or to any other
written law (whether passed before or after the
commencement of this Act) which prohibits the disclosure
ofinformation obtained from the public, and subject to any
regulations.made under section 13, it shall be the duty of
the Archivist to arrange that reasonable facilities are available
to the public for inspecting and obtaining copies of records
in the Archives and Records Office.

(5) Notwithstanding anything contained in this section,
it shall be lawful for the Archivist to permit a person to
inspect-

(a) any public records if he has obtained special
authority in that behalf given by a public officer of a
Government department being an officer accepted by
the Minister as qualified to give such authority; or

(b) any non-public records if he has obtained special
authority from the person or legal representatives from
whom they have been acquired.

Legal validity 9. (1) The legal validity of any record shall not be
records and
authenticated affected by its removal under the provisions of this Act with
copies. respect to its legal custody.

(2) A copy of or extract from a record in the Archives
and Records Office purporting to be examined and certified
as true and authentic by the Archivist or by an officer of
the Archives and Records Office purporting to be authorised
by him in that behalf and to be sealed or stamped with the
seal of the Archives and Records Office shall be admissible
as evidence in any proceedings without any further or other

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Archives and Records (CAP. 35 7

proof thereof if the original record would have been admissi-
ble as evidence in those proceedings.

10. Where the person in charge of any Government Return of ~ u b l i c
records to

department notifies the Archivist in writing that any public G~~~~~~~~~
record which was transferred from that department to the departments.
Archives and Records Office is required for use in that depart-
ment the Archivist shall return it to that person and such
person shall return the public record to the Archivist as soon
as it is no longer required by him for use.

11. (1) There shall be an Advisory Council on kp,~~;t;rb;t and
Archives and Records, which shall consist of- Advisory

Council.
( a ) the Archivist; and

( b ) such other persons, not exceeding five in
number, as may be appointed by the Minister.

( 2 ) The persons appointed under subsection ( 1 ) ( b ) shall
hold office for such period and on such terms as may be
determined at the time of their respective appointments.

(3) The Minister shall appoint the Archivist or one of
the other members to be chairman of the Council.

(4) It shall be the duty of the Council to advise the
Minister on all matters relating to records in general and,
in particular, on those aspects of the work of the Archives
and Records Office which affect members of the public who
make use of the facilities provided by the Archives and
Records Office.

12. (1) The exportation from Antigua and Barbuda :;;$;::;tn"a,
of any records which relate to Antigua and Barbuda and r,,ords.
which have been certified by the Archivist to be of historical
value is prohibited except in accordance with the terms of
an export licence issued by the Minister.

( 2 ) A licence issued under the provisions of subsec-
tion ( 1 ) shall specify each record to which the licence relates
and may contain such conditions as the Minister thinks fit.

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8 CAP. 35) Archives and Records

(3) Any person who contravenes the provisions of
subsection (1) shall be guilty of an offence and liable on sum-
mary conviction to a fine of one thousand dollars and to
imprisonment for six months.

Power of 13. The Minister may make regulations providing
Minister to make
regulations. for-

(a) the admission of the public to the Archives and
Records Office and the inspection by the public of the
records;

( b ) the transfer of any records from the custody
of any Government department having control thereof
to the Archives and Records Office;

(c) the examination, disposal or destruction of any
public records which are not of sufficient value to justify
their preservation in the Archives and Records Office
or elsewhere;

(d) the fees to be paid in respect of services pro-
vided to the public by the Archives and Records Office,
and

(e) generally for the better carrying out of the
objects and purpose of this Act.
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