Know Your Rights : Your property is protected under the law

February 21, 2017

Did you know that the law protects your right to occupy and enjoy your property? No one should take away your property as long as you are the lawful owner.

Property includes land and everything on it, including motor vehicles, money, jewellery or animals.

The Constitution of Jamaica says "no property of any description shall be compulsorily taken possession of and no interest in or right over property of any description shall be compulsorily acquired except by or under the provisions of a law ..."

In other words, it is unlawful to 'capture' someone's land, which is a common occurrence in Jamaica. This also includes property owned by the Government.

No one should just erect a building, set up shop or plant crops on property they do not own.

There are some situations that may result in your property being compulsorily acquired or taken possession of, sometimes temporarily. For example:

- If you are taking the property out of Jamaica against the law;

- If taking possessing of the property is by way of penalty for breach of the law, whether the breach is under civil process or after conviction of a criminal offence;

- If the property is an animal that is found trespassing or straying;

- If you owe taxes on the property;

- If a sample of the property is required for the purpose of any law;

- Your property being acquired owing to a lease, tenancy, licence, mortgage, charge, bill of sale, pledge or contract;

- If a court orders the acquisition of your property;

- If your property is required for the purposes of examination, investigation, trial or inquiry. In this case, the property is taken possession of for only as long as is necessary;

- If your property is transferred due to trust administration, bankruptcy, insolvency, or a company being wound up;

- If you are of unsound mind and the court determines that another person or body should oversee your affairs.

You can get help from several entities in the sector.

Legal Aid Council

Have you or your relative been arrested but cannot afford legal representation? Call or visit the Legal Aid Council at:

Air Jamaica Building

Ground Floor,

72-76 Harbour Street, Kingston. Telephone: (876) 948-6999


Visit also:

Kingston Legal Aid Clinic, 131 Tower Street, Kingston, 922-3792. Montego Bay Legal Aid Clinic, 42B Union Street, Montego Bay, St. James, 952-2183. Norman Manley Law School Clinic, University of the West Indies Mona Campus, 927-1007.


If you or anyone you know have had your rights breached by members of the security forces or the correctional services, contact the Independent Commission of Investigations at:

1 Dumfries Road, Kingston 10,

Toll free 1-888-935-5550 (Digicel)

1-888-991-5555 (LIME)


The Office of the Public Defender

Have you suffered an injustice by a public sector entity? Contact the Office of the Public Defender at:

22-24 Duke Street, Kingston

Telephone: 922-7089-90, 922-7109,



Ministry of Justice

61 Constant Spring Road

Kingston 10

Telephone: (876) 908-5561

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