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Jamaica Law Online

ZipLaw Gold CDThe Jamaican Constitution was derived from the parliamentary system of the United Kingdom in 1962. An appointed Senate and elected House of Representatives makes up Jamaica’s Parliament, of which thirteen Senators are nominated by the Prime Minister and eight by the opposing leader. The Senate is primarily responsible for reviewing legislation submitted by the House. The Prime Minister and Cabinet, which are selected from the Parliament, execute power over the country. No fewer than two and no more than four members of the Cabinet must be selected from the Senate. Considering the advice of Jamaica’s Prime Minister, Queen Elizabeth II appoints a Governor General as her representative in Jamaica, however the Governor General's role is primarily ceremonial as the Executive power is vested in the Prime Minister and Cabinet. General elections are held within five years of the forming of a new government, however the Prime Minister may request the Governor General to call elections sooner.

Jamaica’s court system tries cases by their severity. The Supreme Court tries felonies, except those involving firearms, which are tried in Gun Court. Criminal cases are handled by one of three Jamaican courts and lesser offenses by Resident Magistrates. Defendants may choose to appeal a conviction to the Court of Appeal, the highest court in the country. In turn, the Court of Appeal may refer cases to the Judicial Committee of the United Kingdoms Privy Council as a final court of appeal.

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