Access to Information Act

Link to law: http://www.moj.gov.jm/laws/access-information-act
Published: 2004-01-05

THE ACCESS TO INFORMATION ACT

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

Shon titlc.

PART 1. Preliminan,

Objccts of Act.

Intcrprctation.

Publication of information by public authority.

Application of Act.

PART 11. Right of..lccess

Right of access.

Application for access.

Trsnsfcr of requests.

Forins of access.

Assistance and dcfcrmcnt of acccss.

Deletion of exempt matter.

Fees. ctc.

Grant of acccss.

PART 111. Es-eirrpr Doc~r t~rc~t .~

Documents affecting securiw. defence or international relations.

Cabinet documcnts.

Docunlcilts relating to law enforcement.

Docurt~cnts subicct to legal pri\4cgc. ctc.

Documents affecting national economy.

Docualcnts rc\.caling Go\,ernmcllt's delibcrati\c prwcsscs.

Docunlents relating to business affairs. etc.

Docunlcnts rclating to heritage sites. ctc.

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32 . Docu~ncnts affecting personill pri\.ac!..

7 3 . ISSIIC of ccrtificatc re cse~npt documc~lr.

PART IV. . I I I I ~ I I ~ ~ I I I ~ I I / c~lrtl. I~rirorc~rio~~ o f l'olvonc~l Iiecorriv

21 4ppl icnt 1011 for a rwndn~cnt or amlot at ion of pcrsor~al rccords.

25 Alncndnlent of rccords.

20. An~iotation of pcrsonal rccords.

2?. Notice of a~ncndmcnts or annotations.

28. Transfcr of applications for il111~11dmcut or alu~otation.

PART V. I i e ~ h v nnt1.-lpprd

29. Inlcrprctation.

3 1 Proccdurc rr inlcrnal rc\,ic\\

3 2 Appcal.

PART VI. ,\ liscc.lla~ieor/.v

33. Protcction from liabilit~ re defaniatior~. brcach of confidcncc or
copyrigl~t.

34. Offcncc.

35. Provisions re other Acts.

36. Reports.

38. Review of Act by Parliamentary cornrnittce.

SCHEDULES

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THE ACCESS TO INFORMATION ACT ~ c t s
21 o f 2002,

1. This Act may be cited as the Access to Information Act. Sliwititl~.

PART I. l'relin7hary

2. The objects of this Act are to reinforce and give further o b i ~ c t s o r
effect to certain fundamental principles underlying the system of
constitutional democracy, namely-

(a) governmental accountability;

( h ) transparency; and

( ) public participation in national decision-making,

by granting to the public a general right of access to ot'ticial
documents held by public authorities, subject to exemptions
which balance that right against the public intcrest in exempting
fiom disclosure governmental, commercial or personal
information of a sensitive nature.

3. In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires- Inlzrprc-
tation.

"appointed day" means the 5th day of January, 2004;

"document" includes, in addition to a document in
writing-

(a) any map, plan, graph or drawing;

@) any photograph;

(c) any disc, tape, sound track or other device in
which sounds or other data (not being visual
images) are embodied, whether electronically
or othei-wisc, SO as to be capable (with or
without the aid of some other equipment) of
being reproduced therefrom;

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(4 any film (including microfilm), negative, tape
or other device in which one or more visual
images are embodied whether electronically
or otherwise, so as to be capable (with or
without the aid of some other equipment) of
being reproduced therefrom;

"exempt document" means a document which by virtue of
any provision of Part 111 is exempt from disclosure;

"exempt matter" means any matter the inclusion of which
in a document causes that part of the document to be
exempt from disclosure;

LLg~~ernment company" means a company registered under
the Companies Act, being a company in which the
Government or an agency of the Government,
whether by the holding of shares or by other financial
input, is in a position to influence the policy of the
company;

"official document" means a document held by a public
authority in connection with its functions as such,
whether or not it was created-

(cr) by that authority; or

(h) before the 5th day of January, 2004,

and for the purposes of this Act, a document is held by
a public authority if it is in its possession, custody or
control;

"public authority" means-

(a) a Ministry, department, Executive Agency or
other agency of Government;

(b) a statutory body or authority;

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(c) a Parish Council;

(4 the Council of the Kingston and St. Andrew
Corporation;

( e ) any Government company which-

(i) is wholly owned by the Government or
an agency of the Government, or in
which the Government holds more than
fifty per cent shares; or

(ii) is specified in an order under section 5
(3);

V) any other body or organization specified in an
order under section 5 (3);

"responsible Ministeryy means the Minister responsible for
the public authority which holds an official document.

4.-41) A public authority shall cause to be published within publication
o f infor-

twelve months of -

(a) the appointed day;

(b) its establishment;

(c) the coming into operation of an ord er under

mation
by public
authority.

section 5
(1) (a) or (3) which specified that authority; or

(6) the application of the provisions of this Act to that 242003
public authority pursuant to section 5 (1) (h), S. 2(c).

whichever is later, an initial statement of its organization and
functions containing the information specified in the First First
Schedule. Schedule.

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4.02 ACCESS TO INFORMATION

First
Schedule.

(2) The provisions of the First Schedule shall apply for
the purposes of making available to the public the document
described in that Schedule.

(3) The infornlation required under subsection (1) shall
be published in such manner and shall be updated with such
frequency as may be prescribed.

(4) The Minister may amend the First Schedule by order
subject to affirmative resolution.

Application
of Act.

5.--(1) Subject to subsection (2), this Act applies to-

2.112003 (a) public authorities which are specified by the Minister
S. 3(b). by order within eighteen months after the appointed

day; and

2412003 (b) all other public authorities immediately after the
S. 3(b) expiration of the period of eighteen months referred to

in paragraph (a);

(c) official documents created by or held by a public
authority not earlier than thirty years immediately
preceding the appointed day.

(2) The Minister may, by order subject to negative
resolution, declare that this Act shall apply to official documents 1

created by or held by a public authority at such date, being
earlier than the thirty years referred to in subsection (1) (c), as
may be specified in that order.

(3) The Minister may, by order subject to affirmative
resolution, declare that this Act shall apply to-

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ACCESS TO INFORMATION

(a) such government companies, other than those specified
in paragraph (e) (i) of the definition of "public
authority", as may be specified in the order;

(b) any other body or organization which provides services
of a public nature which are essential to the welfare of
the Jamaican society,

or to such aspects of their operations as may be specified in the
order.

(4) An order under subsection (3) may be made subject
to such exceptions, adaptations or modifications, as the Minister
may consider appropriate.

(5) The Minister may, by order subject to affirmative
resolution, declare that the application of this Act in relation to
any government company specified in paragraph (e) (i) of the
definition of "public authority" shall be subject to such
exceptions, adaptations or modifications as the Minister may
consider appropriate.

(6) This Act shall not apply to-

(a) the Governor-General, in relation to the exercise of the
powers and duties conferred or imposed on him by or
under the Constitution of Jamaica or under any other
law;

(b) the judicial functions of-

(i) a court;

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ACCESS TO INFORMA TION

(ii) the holder of a judicial office or other office
connected with a court;

(c) the security or intelligence services in relation to their
strategic or operational intelligence gathering activities;

(6) any statutory body or authority as the Minister may
specify by order subject to affirmative resolution.

(7) This Act applies to official documents held in a
registry or other office of a court, being documents that relate
only to matters of an administrative nature.

(8) In subsection (6) "security or intelligence services"
means-

(a) the Jamaica Constabulary Force;

(b) the Island Special Constabulary Force;

(c) the Rural Police;

(6) the Jamaica Defence Force.

PART 11. Right of Access

Right of 6.-(1) Subject to the provisions of this Act, every person
access. shall have a right to obtain access to an official document, other

than an exempt document.

(2) The exemption of an official document or part
thereof from disclosure shall not apply after the document has
been in existence for twenty years, or such shorter or longer
period as the Minister may specify by order, subject to
affirmative resolution.

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ACCESS TO INFORMATION 7

(3) An applicant for access to an official document shall
not be required to give any reason for requesting access to that
document.

(4) Where an official document is-

(a) open to access by the public pursuant to any other
enactment, as part of a public register or otherwise; or

(b) available for purchase by the public in accordance with
administrative procedures established for that purpose,

access to that document shall be obtained in accordance with the
provisions of that enactment or those procedures, as the case
may be.

7.-(1) A person who wishes to obtain access to an official Application
document shall make an application to the public authority for access.
which holds that document.

(2) An application under subsection (1)-

(a) may be made in writing or transmitted by telephone or
other electronic means;

(b) shall provide such information concerning the
document as is reasonably necessary to enable the
public authority to identify it.

(3) A public authority to which an application is made
shall-

(a) upon request, assist the applicant in identifying the
documents to which the application relates;

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ACCESS TO INI;OKMA 7'lON

(b ) acknowledge receipt of every application in the
prescribed manner;

(c) grant to the applicant, access to the document specified
in the application if it is not an exempt document.

(4) A public authority shall respond to an application as
soon as practicable but not later than-

(a ) thirty days after the date of receipt of the application;
or

(b ) in the case of an application transferred to it by another
authority pursuant to section 8, thirty days after the
date of the receipt by that authority,

so, however, that an authority may extend the period of thirty
days for a hrther period, not exceeding thirty days, in any case
where there is reasonable cause for such extension.

(5) The response of the public authority shall state its
decision on the application, and where the authority or body
decides to rehse or defer access or to extend the period of thirty
days, it shall state the reasons therefor, and the options available
to an aggrieved applicant.

Transfer of 8.-(1) Where an application is made to a public authority for
requests. an official document-

(a ) which is held by another public authority; or

(b) the subject matter of which is more closely connected
with the hnctions of another public authority,

the first mentioned public authority shall transfer the application
or such part of it as may be appropriate to that other public
authority and shall inform the applicant immediately of the
transfer.

(2) A transfer of an application pursuant to subsection
( 1 ) shall be made as soon as practicable but not later than
fourteen days after the date of receipt of the application.

F O ~ W of 9,-(1) Access to an official document may be granted to an
access. applicant in one or more of the following forms-

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ACCESS TO INFORMA TION

the applicant may be afforded a reasonable opportunity
to inspect the document;

the authority concerned may furnish the applicant with
a copy of the document;

in the case of a document from which sounds or visual
images are capable of being reproduced, arrangements
may be made for the applicant to hear the sounds or
view the visual images;

in the case of a document by which or in which words
are-

(i) recorded in a manner in which they are
capable of being reproduced in the form of
sound and images; or

(ii) contained in the form of shorthand writing
or in codified form,

the applicant may be furnished with a transcript of the data or
the words, sounds and images recorded or contained in that
document.

(2) Subject to subsection (3), where an applicant
requests that access be given in a particular form, access shall be
given in that form.

(3) A public authority may grant access in a form other
than that requested by an applicant where the grant of access in
the form requested would-

(a) be detrimental to the preservation of the document, or
be inappropriate, having regard to its physical state;

(b) constitute an infringement of copyright subsisting in
any matter contained in the document.

(4) Copies of documents to which access is granted shall
be authenticated in the prescribed manner.

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10 ACCESS TO INFORMA TION

Assistanceand 10.-(1) Where the information provided by the applicant in
deferment of
xC~SS. relation to the document is not such as is reasonably necessary

to enable the public authority to identify it, the authority shall
afford the applicant a reasonable opportunity to consult with the
authority with a view to reformulating the application so that the
document can be identified.

(2) A public authority may defer the grant of access to
an official document-

(a) if publication of the document within a particular
period is required under the provisions of any
enactment, until the expiration of that period;

(b) if the document was prepared for presentation to
Parliament or for the purpose of being made available
to a particular person or body, until the expiration of a
reasonable period after its preparation for it to be so
presented or made available to the person or body;

(c) if the premature release of the document would be
contrary to the public interest, until the occurrence of
any event after which or the expiration of any period
beyond which, the release of the document would not
be contrary to the public interest.

(3) Where a public authority decides to defer access in
accordance with subsection (2), it shall, within fourteen days of
its decision, inform the applicant of that decision and shall,
where possible, indicate to him the period during which the
deferment will operate.

Delet~on of 11.-(1) Where an application is made to a public authority
ewmpr IuJtter for access to an official document which contains exempt

matter, the authority shall grant access to a copy of the
document with the exempt matter deleted therefrom.

(2) A public authority which grants access to a copy of
an official document in accordance with this section shall inform
the applicant-

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ACCESS TO INFORMA TION 1 1

(u) that it is such a copy; and

(h) of the statutory provision by virtue of which such
deleted matter is exempt matter.

12.-(1) The cost of reproducing any documents containing Fccs,clc.
information in relation to which an application is made under
this Act shall be borne by the applicant.

(2) The responsible Minister may waive, reduce or
remit, the cost specified in subsection (1) for access to an
official document where he is satisfied that such waiver,
reduction or remission is justifiable.

13. Subject to this Act, where-
Grant ol
BCCCSS.

(u) an application is made in accordance with section 7 for
access to an official document; and

(b) the cost incurred by the public authority in granting
access has been paid,

access to the document shall be granted in accordance with this
Act.

PART 111. Exempt Document

14. Official documents are exempt from disclosure if- I>ocumcnts
affccling

(a) the disclosure thereof would prejudice the security, security,
dcfcncc or defence or international relations of Jamaica; international
rclations.

(b) those documents contain information communicated in
confidence to the Government by or on behalf of a
foreign government or by an international organization.

15.-(1) An official document is exempt from disclosure if it Cabinct
is a Cabinet document, that is to say- documcnts.

(a) it is a Cabinet Submission, Cabinet Note or other
document created for the purpose of submission to the
Cabinet for its consideration and it has been or is
intended to be submitted ;

(b) it is a Cabinet Decision, or other official record of any
deliberation of the Cabinet.

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ACCESS TO INFORMATION

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to-

(a) any document appended to a Cabinet document that
contains material of a purely factual nature or reports,
studies, tests or surveys of a scientific or technical
nature; or

(b) a document by which a decision of the Cabinet has
been officially published.

Documenls 16. Official documents relating to law enforcement are
relating lo law
enforcemenl. exempt from disclosure if their disclosure would, or could

reasonably be expected to-

(u) endanger any person's life or safety;
(b) prejudice-

(i) the conduct of an investigation of a breach or
possible breach of the law; or

(ii) the fair trial of any person or the impartial
adjudication of a particular case;

(c) disclose, or enable a person to ascertain, the existence
or identity of a confidential source of information, in
relation to law enforcement;

(d) reveal lawful methods or procedures for preventing,
detecting, investigating or dealing with matters arising
out of breaches or evasions of the law, where such
revelation would, or could be reasonably likely to,
prejudice the effectiveness of those method or
procedures;

( e ) facilitate the escape of a person from lawful detention;
or

u> jeopardize the security of any correctional facilities.
Documents 17. An official document is exempt from disclosure if-
subject to
legal privileyz, (a) it would be privileged from production in legal
etc. proceedings on the ground of legal professional

privilege; or

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ACCESS TO INFORMA TION 13

(b) the disclosure thereof would-

(i) constitute an actionable breach of confidence;

(ii) be in contempt of court; or

(iii) infringe the privileges of Parliament.

18.-(1) An official document of a type specified in Documents
subsection (2) is exempt from disclosure if its disclosure or, as
the case may be, its premature disclosure would, or could economy.
reasonably be expected to, have a substantial adverse effect on
the Jamaican economy, or the Government's ability to manage
the Jamaican economy.

(2) The types of documents referred to in subsection (1)
include but are not limited to, documents relating to taxes, duties
or rates, interest rates, monetary policy and exchange rate policy
or currency or exchange rates.

19.-(1) Subject to subsection (3), an official document is Documents
exempt from disclosure if it contains- revealing Government's

deliberative
(a) opinions, advice or recommendations prepared for; ,c,,,

(b) a record of consultations or deliberations arising in the
course of proceedings of the Cabinet or of a committee
thereof.

(2) Subsection (1) shall not apply to documents which
contain material of a purely factual nature or reports, studies,
tests or surveys of a scientific or technical nature.

(3) A public authority shall grant access to a document
referred to in subsection (1) if it is satisfied, having regard to all
the circumstances, that the disclosure thereof would, on balance,
be in the public interest.

20.-(1) Subject to subsection (2), an official document is Documents
exempt from disclosure if- relating to busmess

affairs, etc.

(a) its disclosure would reveal-

(i) trade secrets;

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ACCESS TO INFORMA TION

(ii) any other information of a commercial value,
which value would be, or could reasonably be
expected to be, destroyed or diminished if the
information were disclosed;

(b) it contains inforn~ation (other than that referred to in
paragraph (u)) concerning the commercial interests of
any person or organization (including a public
authority) and the disclosure of that information would
prejudice those interests.

(2) Subsection (1) shall not apply where the applicant for
access is the person or organization referred to in that subsection
or a person acting on behalf of that person or organization.

Documents 21.-(1) Subject to subsection (2), an official document is
relat~ng to
her~tage sltes. exempt from disclosure if its disclosure would, or could
etc reasonably be expected to result in the destruction of, damage to,

or interference with, the conservation of-

(a) any historical, archaeological or anthropological
resources;

(b) anything declared to be a national monument,
designated as protected national heritage or protected
by a preservation notice under the Jamaica National
Heritage Trust Act;

(c) any species of plant or animal life so designated or
which is endangered, threatened or otherwise
vulnerable;

(d) any other rare or endangered living resource.

(2) A public authority shall grant access to a document
referred to in subsection (1) if it is satisfied, having regard to all
the circumstances, that the disclosure thereof would, on balance,
be in the public interest.

-

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A CCESS TO INFORMA TZON 15

22.-(1) Subject to the provisions of this section, a public
authority shall not grant access to an official document if it pers,,,,~
would involve the unreasonable disclosure of information pn'acy
relating to the personal affairs of any person, whether living or
dead.

(2) Subsection (1) shall not apply in any case where the
application for access is made by the person to whose affairs the
document relates.

23.-( 1 ) Where- Issue of
certificate re

(a) the Prime Minister is satisfied that an application for z;:knt,
access relates to a document specified in section 15 (1);

(b) a responsible Minister is satisfied that an application
for access relates to an official document to which
section 14, 16 or 18, as the case may be, applies,

the Prime Minister or the responsible Minister, as the case may
require, may issue a certificate to the effect that the document is
an exempt document and shall specify the basis of the
exemption.

(2) Where the Prime Minister or a responsible Minister,
as the case may be, is satisfied as mentioned in subsection ( I ) by
virtue of anything contained in any particular part or parts of an
official document, a certificate issued under that subsection in
respect of that document shall identify that part or those parts of
the document by reason of which the certificate is issued.

(3) A certificate issued under subsection (1) shall be
conclusive that the document is exempt.

PART N. Amendment and Annotation of Personal Records

24.-(1) Where a person claims that an official document Application
contains personal information about the person that- for qmend- mentor

annotation o f (a) is incomplete, incorrect, out of date or misleading; pe,o,a,
and records.

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A CCESS TO INFORMA TION

(b) has been used, is being used or is available for use by
a public authority for administrative purposes,

the person may apply to the public authority for an amendment
or an annotation, as the case may be, of that document.

(2) An application under this section shall be in writing
and shall specify as far as practicable, the document claimed to
be the personal record requiring amendment or annotation, as
the case may be, and shall-

(a) in the case of an application for amendmentypecify-

(i) whether information in the record is claimed
to be incomplete, incorrect, out of date or
misleading and the information in respect of
which that claim is made;

(ii) the applicant's basis for making that claim;
and

(iii) the nature of the amendment required by the
applicant;

(b) in the case of an application for annotation, be
accompanied by a statement specifying-

(i) the matters referred to in paragraph (a ) (i) and
(ii); and

(ii) the information that would make the record
complete, correct, up to date and not mis-
leading.

Amendment 25.-(1) Where, in relation to any application under section
of records. 24, a public authority is satisfied as to the truth of the matters

stated in the application, it shall amend the document concerned
in the prescribed manner.

(2) Where a public authority decides not to amend an
official document it shall-

(a) take such steps as are reasonable to enable the
applicant to provide a statement of the kind referred
to in section 24 (2) (b); and

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ACCESS TO INFORMA TION 17

(b) annotate the document by adding thereto the state-
ment referred to in paragraph (a).

26. Where, in relation to an application for annotation of an Annotation
official document containing personal information, the public ~ ~ ~ ~ s O n a '
authority-

(a) is satisfied as to the truth of the matters specified in
that application, the authority shall annotate the
document in the prescribed manner;

(b) is not so satisfied, it may refuse to annotate the
document.

27. A public authority which amends or annotates an official Noticeof
document pursuant to section 25 or 26, or, as the case may be, ~~~~~~~"
decides not to do so, shall take reasonable steps to inform- tions.

(a) the applicant; and

(b) any other public authority which it is satisfied has
made prior use of the document,

of the nature of the amendment or annotation or, as the case may
require, of the decision and the reasons for that decision.

28. The provisions of section 8 shall apply, with such Transferof
modifications as may be necessary, to applications for appP"ca'iOn" for amend-
amendments or annotations of personal records. ment or

annotatlon.

PART V. Review and Appeal

29. In this Part and Part VI "relevant decision" means a ~nterpre-
decision referred to in section 30 (1) or (2), as the case may
require.

Internal
30.-(1) An applicant for access to an official document may, R,iew,

in accordance with subsection (4), apply for an internal review
of a decision by a public authority to-

(a) refuse to grant access to the document;

(b) grant access only to some of the documents specified
in an application;

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ACCESS TO INFORMATION

(c) defer the grant of access to the document;

(d) charge a fee for action taken or as to the amount of
the fee.

(2) An applicant for amendment or annotation of a
personal record may, in accordance with subsection (4), apply
for a review of a decision by a public authority to refuse to make
that amendment or annotation.

(3) For the purposes of subsections (1) and (2), a failure
to give a decision on any of the matters referred to in subsection
(1) (a) to (c) or to amend or annotate a personal record within
the time required by this Act shall be regarded as a refusal to do
SO.

(4) An application under subsection (1) or (2) may only
be made where the decision to which the application relates was
taken by a person other than the responsible Minister, a
Permanent Secretary or the principal officer of the public
authority concerned.

Procedure re 3 1 .-(I) An internal review shall be conducted-
internal
review.

(a) by the responsible Minister in relation to documents
referred to in sections 14, 15, 16 and 18;

(b) in any other case, by the Permanent Secretary in the
relevant Ministry or the principal officer of the public
authority whose decision is subject to review.

(2) An application for internal review shall be made-

(a) within thirty days after the date of a notification (in
this subsection referred to as the initial period) to the
applicant of the relevant decision, or within such
further period, not exceeding thirty days, as the public
authority may permit; or

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A CCESS TO INFORMA TION

( b ) where no such notification has been given, within
thirty days after the expiration of the period allowed
for the giving of the decision or of any other period
permitted by the authority.

( 3 ) A person who conducts an internal review-

(a) may take any decision in relation to the application
which could have been taken on an original
application;

(b) shall take that decision within a period of thirty days
after the date of receipt of the application.

32.-(1) An appeal shall lie pursuant to subsections ( 2 ) and Appeal.
(3) , to the Tribunal established for that purpose, constituted in
accordance with the Second Schedule. Second

Schedule.

( 2 ) A person may lodge an appeal-

(a ) where internal review under section 30 is
applicable-

(i) against a decision taken on such
review;

(ii) if the time specified in section 3 1 ( 2 ) (b )
has expired without the applicant being
notified of a decision;

(b) in any other case, against a relevant decision in
relation to any of the matters referred to in paragraphs
( a ) to (c) of section 30 ( 1 ) or section 30 (2) , and
accordingly section 30 ( 3 ) shall apply with necessary
modificatians to an appeal under this paragraph.

( 3 ) An appeal shall be made-

(a ) by the lodgement of a document within sixty days
after the date of the notification to the appellant of the
relevant decision or of the decision taken on an
internal review; or

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(h) where no notification has been given within the
period required by this Act, within sixty days after the
expiration of that period.

(4) Where an appeal is not made within the period
specified in subsection (2), the Appeal Tribunal may extend that
period if it is satisfied that the appellant's delay in so doing is
not unreasonable.

(5) On the hearing of an appeal, the onus of proving that
the relevant decision was justified or that a decision adverse to
the appellant should be made by the Appeal Tribunal, shall lie
on the public authority which made the relevant decision.

(6) On hearing an appeal, the Appeal Tribunal-

(a) may subject to paragraph (h), make any decision
which could have been made on the original
application;

(h) shall not nullify a certificate issued under section 23.

(7) The Appeal Tribunal may call for and inspect an
exempt document, so, however, that, where it does so, it shall
take such steps as are necessary to ensure that the document is
inspected only by members of staff of the Appeal Tribunal
acting in that capacity.

PART VI. MisceI1aueou.s

Proled ion 33.-(1) Nothing in this Act shall be construed as authorizing
from liability
re dofa~na- the disclosure of any official document-
tion, breach "
of contidonce (a) containing any defamatory matter; or
or copyright.

( b ) the disclosure of which would be in breach of
confidence or of copyright.

(2) Where access to a document referred to in subsection
( 1 ) is granted in the hona.fide belief that the grant of such access
is required by this Act, no action for defamation, breach of
confidence or breach of copyright shall lie against-

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ACCESS TO INFORMA TION

the Government or any public authority, any Minister
or any public officer involved in the grant of such
access, by reason of the grant of access or of any
republication of that document; or
the author of the document or any other person who
supplied the document to the Government or the
public authority, in respect of the publication
involved in or resulting from the grant of access, by
reason of having so suppiied the document.

(3) The grant of access to an official document in
accordance with this Act shall not be construed as authorization
or approval-

(a) for the purpose of the law relating to defamation or
breach of confidence, of the publication of the
document or its contents by the person to whom
access is granted;

(b) for the purposes of the Copyright Act, of the doing by
that person of any act comprised within the copyright
in any work contained in the document, as follows-

(i) any literary, dramatic, musical or
artistic work;

(ii) any sound recording, cinematograph
film, television broadcast or sound
broadcast; or

(iii) a published edition of a literary,
dramatic, musical or artistic work.

34.-(1) A person commits an offence, if in relation to an offence
official document to which a right of access is conferred under
this Act he-

(a) alters or defaces;
(b) blocks or erases;
(c) destroys; or
(6) conceals,

the document with the intention of preventing its disclosure.

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ACCESS TO INFORMATION

(2) A person who commits an offence under subsection
( I ) is liable on summary conviction in a Resident Magistrate's
Court to a fine not exceeding five hundred thousand dollars or to
imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to both
such fine and imprisonment.

Provisionsre 35.-(1) Where access to an official document is granted in
other Acts. accordance with this Act, the person who authorizes such access

and any other person concerned in the granting thereof shall not,
by reason only of so doing, be guilty of a criminal offence.

(2) Subject to subsection (3), nothing in this Act shall
affect the provisions of any other Act other than the Official
Secrets Act, relating to the non-disclosure of information.

(3) For the avoidance of any doubt, it is hereby declared
that the Official Secrets Act shall apply in relation to the grant of
access to an official document in contravention of this Act.

Reports. 36.-(1) The Minister shall, as soon as practicable after the
end of each year (but not later than the 30th of June in the
following year) prepare a report of the operation of this Act
during the year, containing the matters specified in subsection
(4).

(2) The report referred to in subsection (1) shall be laid
on the Table of the House of Representatives and of the Senate.

(3) Each public authority shall submit to the Minister,
quarterly reports on the matters specified in subsection (4).

(4) The matters referred to in subsections (I) and (3)
are-

(a) the number of applications for access received,
granted, deferred, refused or granted, subject to
deletions;

(b) the categories of exemptions claimed and the
numbers of each category;

(c) the number of applications received for-

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ACCESS TO INFORM4 TION 23

(i) amendment of personal records;

(ii) annotation of personal records;
(6) the number of-

(i) applications for internal review of
relevant decisions;

(ii) appeals against relevant decisions, and
the rate of success or failure thereoc

(e) such other matters as are considered relevant.

37. The Minister may make regulations generally for giving Regulations.
effect to the provisions and purposes of this Act and such
regulations shall be subject to afirmative resolution.

38.-(1) This Act shall be reviewed from time to time by a Reviewof
Act by committee of both Houses of Parliament appointed for that ,,iamentary

purpose. committee.

(2) The first such review shall be conducted not later
than two years after the appointed day.

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ACCESS TO INFORMATmN

FIRST SCHEDULE (Section 4)

Information to be published by Public Authorities

1. The information referred to in section 4 of this Act is-

a description of the subject area of the public authority;

a list of the departments and agencies of the public authority
and-

(i) subjects handled by each department and agency;

(ii) the locations of departments and agencies;

(iii) opening hours of the offices of the authority and
its departments and agencies;

the title and business address of the principal officer;

a statement of the documents specified in sub-paragraph (e) being
documents that are provided by the public authority for the use of,
or which are used by the authority or its officers in making
decisions or recommendations, under or for the purposes of an
enactment or scheme administered by the authority, with respect
to rights, privileges or benefits, or to obligations, penalties or other
detriments, to or for which persons are or may be entitled or
subject;

the documents referred to in sub-paragraph ( 4 are-

(i) manuals or other documents containing interpreta-
tions, rules, guidelines, practices or precedents;

(ii) documents containing particulars of a scheme referred
to in paragraph (d), not being particulars contained in
an enactment or published under this Act.

2. The principal officer of the authority shall-

(a) cause copies of such of the documents specified in paragraph 1 (e)
as are in use from time to time to be made available for inspection
and for purchase by members of the public;

(6) within twelve months after the publication of the statement under
paragraph 1 (d) and thereafter at intervals of not more than twelve
months, cause to be published in the Gazette, statements bringing
up to date information contained in the previous statement or
statements.

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3. The principal officer is not required to comply fully with para-
graph 2 (a) beforc the cspiration of twcl~~c months aftcr thc appointed day.
but shall. bcfore that tiinc. comply with that paragraph so far as is practicablc.

4. This Schedule docs not rcquire a document of the kind spccificd in
paragraph 1 ( c ) containing csempt matter. to be nladc a~railable in accordance
with paragraph 2. but, if such a docurircnt is not so m d c available. lllc
principal officer shall. unless impracticable or unreasonable to do so. causc to
bc preparcd a corresponding documcnt. altcred only to the extent neccssary to
cscludc thc cxcmpt mattcr. and causc thc documcnt so prcparcd lo bc dcalt
with in accordancc with pardgraph 2.

5. Paragraphs 2 and 3 apply in rclation to a public authority- 2 ~ . 2 0 0 3
S. 4.

(a) that comes into csistcnce after the appointcd day:
(h) which is spccificd in an ordcr undcr section 5 (1) (a) or (3) of thc

Act: or
(c) to which section 5 (1) (h) ofthc Act applics.

as if thc rcfcrcnccs in paragraph 3 to thc appointcd day wcrc rckrcnccs to thc
day on which t l~c authority corncs into cxistcncc or thc datc on wl~ich thc
order rcferrcd to in subparagraph (h ) takcs effcct or the date on which the
provisions of section 5 (1) (h) of thc Act takc cffect in rclation to the
authority. as thc casc may bc.

SECOND SCHEDULE (Scction 32)

(hn.vti/ulion c? f /Ippenl 7iihunal

1. The Tribunal shall, subject to paragraph 2: consist of fivc mcn~bcrs constitution
appointcd by thc Govcmor-Gcncral aftcr consultation with thc Primc ofl'rihunal.
Ministcr and thc Lcadcr of thc Opposition.

2. For thc hcaring of any appcal undcr this Act the Tribunal inay consist Power O ~ U W
of one mcmbcr sitting alonc if thc partics to thc appcal agrcc. ~neniher to sit

alunc
3. The membcrs of thc Tribunal shall. subjcct to the provisions of this Tenure of

Schedule. hold oflice for a period of fivc years and shall bc cligible for re-
appointmcnt.

4. The Governor-General. shall appoint one of the mcmbers of thc Chairnlatl
Tribunal appointcd under paragraph I to be chairman thcrcof.

5. The Governor-General. after consultation with thc Prime Minister and Acttng
the Leader of the Opposition. may appoint any person to act in the place of appointments.
the chairman or any othcr member of the Tribunal in the casc of thc abscncc
or inability to act of thc chairman or other membcr.

(,.-(I) Any mcmbcr of the Tribunal othcr than thc chairman inay at any Resignation.
time resign his office by instrument in writing addressed to thc Governor-

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26 ACCESS TO INFORMATION

Revocation of
appointment.

F~lling of
vacancies

Publication of
membership.

Remuneration
of members.

Voting.

Power to
regulate own
proceedings.

Office of
chairman or
member of
Tribunal not
public ofice.

General and transmitted through the chairman, and from the date of the
receipt by the Governor-General of such instrument that member shall cease
to be a member of the Tribunal.

( 2 ) The chairman may at any time resign his office by instrument in
writing addressed to the Governor-General and such resignation shall take
effect as from the date of receipt by the Governor-General of that instrument.

7. The Governor-General, after consultation with the Prime Minister and
the Leader of the Opposition may terminate the appointment of any member
of the Tribunal who-

( a ) becomes of unsound mind or becomes permanently unable to
perform his functions by reason of ill health;

(6) becomes bankrupt or compounds with or suspends payments to his
creditors;

(c) is convicted and sentenced to a term of imprisonment or to death;

(4 is convicted of any offence involving dishonesty;

( e ) fails to carry out the functions conferred or imposed on him by
this Act.

8. If any vacancy occurs in the membership of the Tribunal such vacancy
shall be filled by the appointment of another member.

9. The names of all members of the Tribunal as first constituted and every
change in the membership thereof shall be published in the Gazette.

10. There shall be paid to the chairman and other members of the
Tribunal, in respect of each appeal, such remuneration, whether by way of
honorarium, salary or fees, and such allowances as may be determined by the
Minister responsible for the public service.

11. Subject to paragraph 2, the decision of the Tribunal shall be by a
majority of votes of the members, and in addition to an original vote, the
chairman shall have a casting vote in any case in which the voting is equal.

12. Subject to the provisions of the Act, the Tribunal shall regulate its
own proceedings.

13. The office of chairman or member of the Tribunal shall not be a
public office for the purposes of Chapter V of the Constitution of Jamaica.

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