Grounds for Annulment of Marriage in Jamaica

What is an annulment?

Annulment is a legal procedure which cancels a marriage between a man and a woman. The legal effect of annulling a marriage is that the marriage is completely erased as though it technically never existed and was never valid.

Grounds for an Annulment of Marriage

Either party to the marriage (at any time after the ceremony of marriage) can initiate an application for an annulment of marriage at the Supreme Court of Jamaica by the filing of a Petition for Nullity of Marriage pursuant to Rule 76.4 (3) of the Civil Procedure Rules, 2002.

The party initiating the annulment must prove that he or sheTop of FormBottom of Form has the grounds to. The grounds for an annulment of a marriage in Jamaica are very strict and the said statutory grounds for annulment are outlined in Section 4 of the Matrimonial Causes Act.

Section 4 of the Matrimonial Causes Act provides that Decrees of Nullity of marriage may be pronounced by the Court on the ground that the marriage is void for any of the following reasons:-

  1. One of the parties to the marriage had a husband or wife living at the time when the parties went through a ceremony of marriage. This would of course be the offence of bigamy which is a crime.


  1. The marriage was void under the provisions of the Marriage Act or any laws relating to marriage in force for the time being in Jamaica. The marriage may be void under the provisions of the marriage act if, for example, the marriage was solemnized by a person who is not a marriage officer and both parties to the marriage knew this to be the case.


  1. In the case of marriages celebrated on or after the 1st day of February 1989, the consent of either party to the marriage was not a valid consent because:
  2. It was obtained by duress or fraud; or
  3. One party was mistaken as to the identity of the other party or the nature of the ceremony performed; or
  4. One party was mentally incapable of understanding the nature and effect of the marriage ceremony at the time of the marriage.


  1. The parties to the marriage were of the same sex at the time of the marriage.


Advantages of an Annulment

  • The marriage is completely erased as though it technically never existed and was never valid.
  • Unlike a divorce whereby you generally must have been married for at least two (2) years and separated from your wife or husband for at least one (1) year before the Court has jurisdiction, with an Annulment there is no such wait period. Either party to the marriage can initiate annulment proceeding at any time after the ceremony of marriage.


Disadvantages of an Annulment

  • Establishing the grounds for an Annulment is generally more difficult than the grounds for a divorce. The ground for obtaining a divorce is that the marriage has broken down irretrievably.
  • An annulment of marriage application requires a hearing before a Judge of a Supreme Court. As such it is generally more expensive than a divorce which may be done on paper, that is, by filing documents at different stages of the proceedings without the necessity of a hearing.



AUTHOR: Blair Foreman & Co., Attorneys-at-Law
Copyright Blair Foreman & Co.


Trademark Registration in Jamaica-Guide for International Clients

Trade Marks are registered in Jamaica under the Trade Marks Act (“the Act”). In the Act, a trademark is defined as any sign that is capable of being graphically represented and capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one undertaking from those of another undertaking.

The purpose of this article is to provide a very abbreviated outline of the trademark application process in Jamaica so as to merely guide international clients on the requirements for a trademark application in Jamaica.

The documents or information which are normally required for the submission of an application for the registration of a trademark include:-

  • The name and Top of FormBottom of Form address of the applicant;
  • Class or Classes for the Mark;
  • A statement of the goods or services in relation to which registration of the mark is sought;
  • A representation of the trademark with the relevant amounts of the mark; and
  • Such other particulars as may be prescribed.


These documents and information are submitted to the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO) for processing. Upon completion of the registration process, a certificate of registration will be issued.


It is recommended that an applicant request a search prior to registration to ensure that the mark for the goods or services is not already in existence as a registered mark.

On the 20th of September 2016, the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO) issued a notice to its customers in relation to searches which reads as follows:-

“Please be advised that the public computers in the search area are made available for obtaining information on specific trademarks and trademark clearance searches, i.e. checking if a similar or identical trademark has been filed. Other types of searches, namely proprietor searches and date range searches will no longer be available using these public computers. Proprietor searches will be performed by the office upon request and payment of the requisite fees, with only information on published and registered marks being provided.”

What is of importance is that proprietor searches will no longer be permitted by customers themselves, and information on unpublished applications will not be provided within the results of a proprietor search.


A trademark registration is protected for ten years. Upon expiration, it is renewable for the same period. Renewal requests should be made before the expiry of the registration. If the registration is not renewed, the trademark will be removed from the register.

AUTHOR: Mrs. Thalicia Blair-Foreman-Head Of The Corporate, Commercial And Intellectual Property Law Department
Copyright Blair Foreman & Co.


Subsidiary Company or Registration of a Branch or Overseas Company in Jamaica

International or Foreign Companies are normally interested in establishing companies with limited liability in Jamaica. The Foreign Investors normally elect either to incorporate a Subsidiary Company or to register an Overseas or Branch company in Jamaica.


  1. Subsidiary Company
    To incorporate a subsidiary company in Jamaica. A new limited liability company would be incorporated in Jamaica pursuant to the Companies Act, 2004 and the principal shareholder of this newly incorporated limited liability company would be the international company.


  1. Registration of Branch or Overseas Company in Section 363 of the Companies Act, 2004Top of FormBottom of Form allows for a company incorporated outside of Jamaica which establishes a place of business in Jamaica, shall within one month of the establishment of the place of business in Jamaica register an ‘Overseas Company’ in Jamaica by doing the following:-


  1. Submit to the Companies Office of Jamaica, certified copies of any Charter, Statutes or Articles or other Instrument of Incorporation of the Company. In essence, the Companies Office generally require the submission of certified copies of any official documents which were used to incorporate the company in the jurisdiction of incorporation;


  1. The Charter, Statutes or Articles or other Instrument of Incorporation of the company must be certified by an official of the Government body responsible for custody of the original in the country of incorporation. For example, the certification could be done by the local Companies Office in the country of incorporation if the local Companies Office is the body responsible for custody of the original. If these certified documents are not in English, a certified translation must be attached and there are special requirements for the certification of the translated documents; and


  • File documents and certain specified forms at the Companies Office of Jamaica outlining, for example, the particulars of the Director, Secretary, the authorized officials of the Company and any changes in the Company.


Mrs. Thalicia Blair-Foreman-Head of the Corporate, Commercial and Intellectual Property Law Department
Copyright Blair Foreman & Co.