The courts of Jamaica are modeled as an overall judicial system after the United Kingdom judiciary. As such, courts of Jamaica can be created on one of four possible levels of administrative and judicial power. As reflects the nation’s continuing political ties to its one-time colonial occupier of the United Kingdom, none of the courts of Jamaica can be said to constitute a court “of final appeal,” as further complaints can be brought to the attention of the London-based Privy Council. Further reflecting the English heritage of the nation’s political and legal system, the courts of Jamaica are based on the common, as opposed to civil, approach to the law.
One difference between the courts of Jamaica and other judicial systems around the world is that the nation’s Supreme Court has been entrusted with the unusual ability to originate legal processes, as opposed to serving as a court of highest appeal, as is frequently the case in judicial systems around the world. Courts of Jamaica can be placed under the Supreme Court and accordingly into such former sub-categories as the Circuit Court, which provides for criminal offenses, as well as the Revenue, Family, Commercial, and Gun Courts of Jamaica.
Moreover, Constitutional questions related to the courts of Jamaica can also be taken on by the Supreme Court of the country. In addition, courts of Jamaica can also be placed at the parish level, and in that regard will be identified as Resident Magistrate’s Courts, as can provide for various minor offenses.