Custos Rotulorum Appointment and Duties

Ministry Paper Numbered 2, Appendix I, approved by Parliament on the 5th day of July, 1959 and gazetted on the 5th day of February, 1963 outlined the following new procedures regarding the appointment and functions of the Custos:


  • There shall be a Custos Rotulorum for every parish in Jamaica. The Custos shall be appointed by the Governor-General acting on the advice of the Prime Minister. He shall be a resident of the parish to which he is appointed save in the case of the Corporate Area.
  • A Custos shall hold office during the Governor-General’s pleasure and shall in any event vacate his office on transferring his residence from the parish (or the Corporate Area in the case of Kingston and St. Andrew) or on attaining the age of seventy-five years, unless specially requested to continue in office, provided that the age limit shall not apply to Custodes who were appointed prior to 1958.
  • The Custos of the parish is the representative of the Governor-General within the parish. It is his duty, in the absence of the Governor-General, to receive the Sovereign, any member of the royal family, the Prime Minister on an official visit, or any important personage commended by the Governor-General who arrives within the precincts of the parish. It is his duty to receive the Governor-General when he pays official visits to the parish.
  • The Custos is the Chief Magistrate of the parish, and it is his duty to prepare a roster of the Justices of the Peace within the parish so that there are sufficient JPs at each meeting of the Petty Sessions Court and in the various districts to carry out the work.
  • The Custos will act as Chairman of the committee in each parish that is responsible for making recommendations to the Minister in regard to suitable persons for appointment as Justices of the Peace.
  • The Custos on behalf of the Governor-General, will interest himself in the work of all voluntary organisations in the parish, and will ensure that their activities receive suitable recognition on public occasions.
  • The Custos will meet the Judge of the Circuit Court at the Court House at the opening session.

In addition of the above, Custodes in recent times have served as:

  • Chairman of the Governor-General’s Achievement Awards Committee
  • Chairman of the Parish Advisory Committee on Local Government Reform
  • Chairman of the Community Consultative Committee for the parish
  • Chairman of the Prime Minister’s Values and Attitudes Committee for the parish
  • Chairman of the parish Disaster Preparedness Committee