Online search portal to access laws coming
The Ministry of Justice is hoping to create a searchable online platform through which Jamaica’s laws can be easily accessed by the public.
“So currently, if you need to find the laws of Jamaica, they are provided online on the Minstry of Justice website, and you can also seek to look at the Parliament website. What we need to do is to enhance that and to carry it further so that what we want to have, for example, is a searchable database,” said Maurice Bailey, director of legal reform in the Ministry of Justice.
He added, “If you’re interested in a topic such as bail – and that’s just the average person – you should be able to type in the word ‘bail’ and all the act and regulations that relate to bail will be presented to you. At this point, that function is not something we really have. You can search by the title of the legislation, but that’s about the size of it.”
He said that there is no set timeline for the creation of the database as the idea is in its preliminary stage.
Bailey was speaking to The Gleaner during a law consolidation training session held by the Ministry of Justice in collaboration with the Anguilla-based Regional Law Revision Centre Incorporated at the ministry’s St Andrew offices.
Consolidation of laws is the process of combining the legislative provisions on a single topic into one coherent enactment.
Yanive Nelson, director of the Law Revision Secretariat in the justice ministry, said consolidating Jamaica’s laws will help not only the persons in the legal fraternity to better keep track of changes in the law, but also the public.
“For an active citizen, they may not have that appreciation, especially if they are not trained in the law. They may not have an awareness. If someone hands them an act, when was that act passed? They may not know what the law actually says unless they are to determine the amendments,” he said.