Archives Act

Link to law:
Published: 1983-01-18




1. short title.
2. Interpretation.
3. Establishment and fundions of A d v a Advisory Committee.
4. Establishment of Jamaica Archives.
S. Seal of the Jamaica Archives.
6. Appointment and functions of Amhivkt.
7. Examination of offici~l records and transfer of such words

8. Acquisition of private recards by Archivist.
9. Acquisition of official records by Adins t .

to mhe J d c a Archives.

10. Access to official records.
11. Rstum of ofiial d to public organizations.
12. Restridion on export of official records.
13. Legal validity of official records and authenticated copies.
14. Rules and regdations.
IS. saving.


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U8th Januav, 1983.1 Act m d 1982.

1. This Act may be cited as the Archives Act. mrt title.

2. In this Act-
“archives” means all official records no longer in current

use and adjudged by the Committee to be worthy of
permanent preservation in the Jamaica Archives for
reference and historical purposes;

“Committee” means the Archives Advisory Committee es-
tablished under section 3;


“Jamaica Archives” means the office known as the Jamaica
Archives established under section 4;

“official records” means all papers, documents, records,
registers, printed material, maps, plans, drawings, pho-
tographs, microfilms, cinematograph films and sound
recordings of any kind whatever, officially received or
p r o d u d by any public organization for the conduct
of its affairs or by any officer or employee of a public
organization in the course of his official duties.

“public organization” means any ministry, department,
commission, committee, board, corporation, agency or
other organization of the Government of Jamaica or
a local government authority.

3.41) For the purposes of this Act there is hereby estab- Establish-
mmt and

mittee. Advisory

lished a body to be known as the Archives Advisory Corn- f unctions Of

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Schedule. (2) The provisions of the Schedule shall have effect
with respect to the constitution and operations of the Com-
mittee and otherwise in relation thereto.

(3) The Committee shall, with a view to the proper
carrying out of the provisions and objects of this Act, ad-
vise the Minister on any matter within its knowledge or
on which the Minister may seek its advice.

ment of

4 . 4 1 ) For the purposes of this Act there is hereby estab-
lished an office to be known as the Jamaica Archives with
as many branches as the Minister may deem necessary or
convenient and in which shall be preserved such archives
as are transferred there or acquired by the Archivist under
the provisions of this Act.

(2) The Minister may from time to time, by order,
direct that official records deposited in any particular place
or custody specfied in the order shall be under the charge
and control of the Archivist.

(3) The provisions of this Act shall apply in relation
to official records referred to in subsection (2 ) and their
custody in the same way as if they had been placed under
the charge and control of the Archivist by this Act.

5. The Archivist s h d cause to be prepared and shall
keep and use a seal bearing the impression of the A r m s of
Jamaica, and having inscribed in the margin thereof the
words “Ofice of the Jamaica Archives”.



6.-(1) There shall be an Archivist for the purposes of
this A&, who shall be a public officer. funCtl0ns

of Archivist.
(2) The Archivist shall be responsible for-

(U) the custody, preservation, arrangement, repair and
rehabditation of archives;

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(b) such duplication and reproduction of archives as
may be necessary or appropriate; and

(c) the preparation and publication of inventories, in-
dexes, catalogues and other finding-aides or guides
facilitating the use of archives.

7.-(1) Subject to subsection (2), the Ardivist, or any mramina-
tion of officer of the Jamaica Archives authorized by him, has the owial

power to examine any official records whick are in the
custody of any public organization and to advise such
organization as to the care, custody and control thereof.

(2) Nothing in this section s h d authorize the Archi-
vist or any officer referred to in subsection (11, to examine
any official record relating to matters which by Statute are
€orbidden to be communicated to him.

(3) Official records in the custody of any public
organization shall be t r a m f m d periodically to the Jamaica
Archives in accordance with regulations made under this


8. The Archivist may require by gift, purchase or loan, Acquisition
of private all such original records, documents, books, and other his- modby

t o r i d material, of any nature whatsoever, or copies or Archivist.
replicas thereof, as he may think necessary or desirable to
secure for the Jamaica Archives.

9.-(1) Every person responsible for the custody of offi- Afqnirition
of o m a

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

(2) Every person required to make arrangement3 pur-
suant to subsection (l), shall do so under the guidance of
the Arcbivist or any officer of the Jamaica Archives autho-

cial records of any description which are not in the Jamaica m r d a by

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Accms to

r i d in that behalf by the h h i v i s t and the Archivist shall
be responsible for co-ordinating and supervising all action
taken under this section.

(3) Subject to subsection (4), official records selected
for permanent preservation under this section shall be
transferred not later than thirty years after their creation
to the Jamaica Archives.

(4) Official records may be retained in any public
organization after the period stated in subsection (3) if, in
the opinion of the person who is responsible for them, they
ought to be retained for any special reason.

10.41) Official records in the Jamaica Archives shall not
be available for public examination until they have been in
existence for thirty years, or such longer or shorter period,
as the Committee with the approval of the Minister may
specify as r e s p t s any particular class of official records
or any individual official record.

(2) Notwithstanding subsection (11, where it appears
to the person responsible for any official reoords which
have been selected for permanent preservation that they
contain information which was obtained under such condi-
tions that the opening of such records to the public after
the period prescribed under subsection (U, might constitute
a breach of good faith on the part of the Government or
on the part of the person who obtained the information,
the person responsible for such records shall inform the
Archivist accordingly and those records shall not be avail-
able in the Jamaica Archives for public inspection even after
the expiration of the said period except in such circumstances
and subject to such conditions, if any, as the Archivist after
consultation with that person, may approve.

(3) Subject to the provisions of this section and of
any other enactment which prohibits the disclosure of in-
formation obtained from the public, and subject to any

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regulations made under this Act, the Archivist shall arrange
that reasonable fadities are made available to the public
for inspecting and obtaining copies of official records in the
Jamaica Archives.

(4) Notwithstanding anything contained in this sec-
tion, the Archivist may permit a person to inspect any re-
cords if he has obtained special authority in wnting in that
behalf, given by an officer of a public organization being an
officer accepted by the Archivist as qualified to give such

( 5 ) Any person who fails to comply with any condi-
tion imposed pursuant to subsection (2), shall be guilty of
an offence and shall be liable on summary conviction in a
Resident Magistrate’s Court to a fine not exceeding one
thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term not exceed-
ing twelve months.

11. Where the person in charge of any public organization ~~~~t
notifies the Archivist in writing that any official record &%:-
which was transferred from that organization to the Jamaica public
Archives is required for use in that organization, the Archi- ticns.
vist shall, if he has the custody or control of that official
record, make it available to that person, who shall return
it to the Archivist as soon as it is no longer required by him
for use.

cord which relates to Jamaica and which has been certified o~oficclal
by the Archivist to be of historical value is prohibited, ex- moords.
cept with the permission of the Minister given in accordance
wi,th subsection (2).

(2) The Minister may by memorandum in writing
give permission for the export of an official record spmified
in the memorandum and may impose such conditions in
relation thereto as the Minister thinks necessary or desir-


1 2 4 1 ) The exportation from Jamaica of any official re- Rcatriotioo
on export

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of officlal
records and

(3) Any person who contravenes the provisions of
subsection (1) or fails to comply wi,th any condition imposed
pursuant to subsection (2), shall be guilty of an offence
and shall be liable on summary conviction in a Resident
Magistrate’s Court to a fine not exceeding one thousand
dollars or imprisonment for a term not exceeding twelve

13.-(1) The tegal validity of any official record shall not
be affected by its removal to or from the Jamaica Archives
pursuant to any provisions of this Aot.

(2) A copy or extract from an official record in the
Jamaica Archives purporting to be examined and certified
as true and authentic by the Archivist or by an officer of
the Jamaica Archives authorized by the Archivist in that
behalf and to be sealed or stamped with the seal of the
Jamaica Archives shall be admissible as evidence in any
proceedings without further or other proof thereof if the
original record would have been admissible as evidence in
those proceedings.


Rdca and 14 The Miniiter, on the recommendation of the Com-
regdatbna. mittee, may make rules and regulations generally for the

better carrying out of the objects and purposes of this Act
and, without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing,
may make rules or regulations providing for-

(U) the admission of the public to the Jamaica Archives
and the inspection by the public of the Archives;

(b) the transfer of any official records from the custody
or control of any public organization to the Ja-
maica Archives;

(c) the examination, disposal or destruotion of any
official records which are not of sufficient value
to justify their permanent preservation in the
Jamaica Archives 01 elsewhere; d

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(6) the fees which may be oharged in respect of services
provided to the public by the Jamaica Archives.

15.-(1) Official records presently classified as archives Saving
and permanently preserved as such shall be deemed to be
in the custody and control of the Jamaica Archives.

(2) The Record Office (Archives) Rules, 1%9 in
force at the 18th day of January, 1983 shall apply to the
Jamaica Archives as if made pursuant to this Act and such
rules may be amended or revoked pursuant to section 14,

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SCK~DVLE (%tirn 3)
tion of ing memkrs- Commiltee.

1 . 4 1 ) The Arohivcs Advisory Committee shall wmist of the follow-

(a) the Keeper of the Romrds;
(bj the Deputy Keeper of the Rwords:
(c) the Registrar of the Supreme Court.
(d) the Registrar of Tit!es;
(e) the Adivist , who shall be secretary:
v) the cbief Arohitect in tbe Ministry of Construction Works):
(g) not more &an ten members (hereinafter refer& to as a P

pointed memters) appuinted by the Ministcr. including one
repentative from each of the following o@tiOIlS:-

(i) the Ministry responsible for the Public SeMce:
(ii) the Institute of Jamaica;

(iii) the Univemity of bhe West Indies;
(iv) the Jamaica Historical SaEiety;
(v) the National Council on Libraries, Ar&vcs and Docl-

mentation Services.

(2) The Minister shall appoint a chairman from a m q the

Tenure 2 4 1 j The appointment of every appointed member of the com-
of office mime shall be evidenced by an instrument in writing and such instru-
d a p p o i d ment shall state the period of office of the member which shall not
members. exceed thee years.

(2) Every appointed member of the Committee shall be digible
for reappointment.

(3) Notwithstanding anything to the mntrary. oht Minister may
at any time revoke the appointment of any appoirvtea m&r of the

3. Any appointed m b e r of the Committee may at any time resign
his office by instrument in writing addressed to the Minister and trans-
mitted through the chairnnan and from ,the date of the receipt by the
Minister of such instrument, such member shall wase to k a membcr
of the Committee.

4. The names of all h e appointed members of the committee U
first constituted and every change in the appointed membership thereof
shall bc published in the Guzefte.

5.41) The Committee shall meet at suuh times as may bc necessary
or expedient for the transaction of busks , and suoh meetbgs shall

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of member-



be held at sudh places and times and on sucb days as the Committee
shall determine so. however, that the Committee shall meet not less
than twice a year.

(2) The chairman may at any time call a special meeting of the
Committee and shall call a special meeting to be held within seven
day5 of a written request for that purpose addressed to him by any
two members of the Commi~ee.

(3) The chairman shall preside at all meetings of the Committee
at which be is present and in the m e of the absencc or inazbility to
act. at any meeting, of the ohairman, the remainii members of the
Chmittee present at the meeting and constituting a quorum shall
elect one of their members to preside at that meeting, and when 80
presiding the chairman or the person elected as aforesaid. as the case
may be. &all have a casting vote in addition to an ori@nal vote in
any case in which the voting is equal.

(4) The q u m m of the Committee shall be six or such water
number as may be fixed by the 00mmit.tee.

( 5 ) Subject to the provisions of tbis Sdhedule the Committee may
rrgulate its own proceedings.

(6) The validity of any proceedings of the Commi~ec shall not be
?ffW by any vacancy amongst the mernbm thermf or by any defect
III the appointment of a member bhereof.

Comanittee and to members of any s~b-commibtee appointed under tionof
paragraph 8 such remuneration (whether by way of honorarium. members.
salary or fees) and such allowances as the Minister may determine.

7. No action, suit, proseoution or obher proceedings shall be brought Protection
or instituted personally against any member of the Committee in re- ofmcm-
spect of any act done bona fde in pursuance or execution or intended Eittec,
execution of this A&.

general or s p e d purposes with which bhe Committee may be m- o sub-
cam& as in the opinion of & committee WOUU be better regulated committees.
and managed by means of a sub-committee.

(2) The number of member6 of a subcommittee appointed under
sub-paragraph (l), their functions and terms d appointment, the quorum
of the sub-committee and the area, if any, within which the sub-”-
mittee is to exercise authority shall be determined by the Comu~ttec.

(3) A subcommittee appointed pursuant to tbis pragraph may
include persons who are not members of the Committee.

(4) The provisims of paragraph 7 shall apply to a member of a
su-ttee who is not a member of #he Committee in like manner
aa they apply to a member of the Cmmitiee.

6. There may be paid to the ohairman and olher members of the R ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ . .

Y- 8.--(1) Tbe Committee may appoint subarmmittem for any such

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(5) The validity of che p r o d i s of a sub-committee appointed
pursuant to this paragraph shall nat be affected by any vacancy amongst
the members thereof or by any defect in the appointment of a member

9.41) Subject to $he provisions of this Act the COpmittee m y .
delegate to any member or a s u b - d t t t c of tbc Comttee or to any
of the officers or servants of the Jamaica Archives the power and au-
thority to carry out suEfi of its functions as the Committee may deter-

(2) Every delegation under this paragraph is revocable by the
Committee and no delegation shall prevent the exerrise by the Com-
mjttee of any function delegated.

Of POWeps-

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