Jamaica International Trade in Legal Services

Jamaica International Trade in Legal Services


Is there legislation governing the legal sector

The Legal Profession Act, 1972 http://www.moj.gov.jm/sites/default/files/laws/Legal%20profession%20Act.pdf  

Under what title do lawyers practise?

 Attorney-at -Law

How does an individual lawyer obtain a "licence" to practise law? How often must this be renewed?



In order to practise law in Jamaica, an individual needs to undertake a recognised law degree and 2 years professional training at Law School.  A Legal Education Certificate is granted by the Council of Legal Education upon satisfactory completion of the course of study at one of the 3 law schools in the Commonwealth Caribbean - the Norman Manley Law School in Jamaica, the Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad & Tobago or the Eugene Dupuch Law School in The Bahamas.  In order to be called to the Jamaican Bar, an attorney who has  practised at the Jamaican Bar for at least 5 years must apply to the court on behalf of the individual concerned and must also make a statutory declaration that he/she is of sound character.

Does this entitle the holder to practise throughout the country? If the law license only permits one to practice on a sub-national level, please explain the jurisdictional limits

Yes, and also in: Antigua, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, The British Virgin Islands, The Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Montserrat, St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Trinidad and Tobago and The Turks and Caicos Islands.


Are there certain activities that are "reserved" to those who are licensed to practise law in the jurisdiction?

Representation in court is reserved to Jamaican and other English-speaking Caribbean qualified lawyers.

Do you need to hold local nationality to be eligible to practise law?

You must originate from one of the countries in the Commonwealth of Nations

What legal forms can lawyers work in? (e.g. self employment, partnership, limited liability partnership, multi-disciplinary partnership, incorporation)

Partnerships are permitted.

What other ethical or regulatory requirements must a licensed lawyer comply with? 

Not applicable

Do law firms need to receive a "license" (or permission/approval) to practice law?

In Jamaica attorneys from other jurisdictions cannot practise without acceptance by the Jamaica Bar Association. 


Which authority issues licences? Are there different authorities for individuals and firms? 

The Council of Legal Education awards licences to individuals.



Are there any explicit rules or restrictions other than visas on fly in fly out practice of law? Ie. Do you need to obtain a licence for temporary practice?

Not applicable

Can a foreign lawyer obtain a visa to visit clients or to market but not to practice?

A visa may not be required.  Foreign nationals entering the country to conduct short-term business (such as consultations, meetings, inspections, repairs, technical advice) are admissible as 'visitors' in accordance with the entry requirements applicable to the visitors from their respective countries: http://www.jhcuk.org/visitors/visa-requirements/do-i-need-a-visa-to-enter-jamaica

Can a foreign lawyer obtain a licence to establish and practise as a foreign legal consultant and what is the scope of this limited licence?

A foreign lawyer does not need to obtain a limited license entitling him/her to offer advisory services in foreign and international law (i.e.. become a foreign legal consultant)

Are there any conditions that must be fulfilled once a foreign lawyer has been granted a limited licence (e.g. residency requirement)

Not applicable

Are there any conditions that must be fulfilled for a foreign lawyer to qualify for a limited licence? (e.g. prior practice)

Not applicable

Are foreign lawyers permitted to undertake arbitration and mediation? There are no restrictions on foreign lawyers participating in international arbitration in Jamaica.
Are foreign lawyers allowed to appear in court under any circumstances?

Not unless they are qualified in another English-speaking Caribbean jurisdiction or requalify as Jamaican attorneys.

Can foreign lawyers requalify as local lawyers?

Yes, lawyers from a common law jurisdiction can  undertake a 6 month conversion course at the Norman Manley Law school.


Can a foreign law firm obtain a licence to open an office?

There is no explicit foreign law firm licensing regime which regulates these arrangements.

Even if a foreign law firm does not require a legal licence must they register in some form in order to set up an office? (e.g. with a ministry of company affairs etc)

All Jamaican businesses are required to be registered with the Registrar of Companies, with the Ministry of Labour and Social Security as a part of the national insurance scheme and with the Collector of Taxes to obtain a Taxpayer Registration Number (TRN).
Are there different types of foreign law firm 'licence'  (e.g. Joint Law Venture, stand alone foreign licence etc)

Not applicable

Is there a quota on the number of licences available?

Not applicable

Are there geographical restrictions on foreign firm licences or on the number of branches a foreign firm can have?

Not applicable

Are there "scope of practice" rules that apply directly to foreign law firms (as opposed to lawyers themselves)? (e.g. home, host, international law), if so, what are they? No
Are there restrictions on the corporate form a foreign law firm can take? No
Are there rules about the name a foreign law firm can take? No
What entity grants a 'license' to a foreign law firm? If that entity is on the Internet, please provide the URL

Not applicable



Are there restrictions on the ownership share of foreign lawyers in a law firm?


May a domestic lawyer be employed by a foreign lawyer or law firm?


Can a domestic lawyer enter into partnership with a foreign lawyer?


Can a domestic lawyer or domestic law firm employ a foreign lawyer?




Other useful sources or comments or links