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- Legal System
The Barbados legal system is founded on English Common Law. The laws of Barbados, which consist solely of local legislation, are administered by the courts.
The legal system consists of lower magistrates’ courts, which conduct preliminary hearings, and the Supreme Court, which includes a Court of Appeal and a High Court. Magistrates’ courts have both civil and criminal jurisdiction. The administration of the legal and judicial system is under the control of the Attorney General. Judges are appointed by the Service Commissions for the Judicial and Legal Services.
The Privy Council in England used to be the final court of appeal for the Barbadian courts. However, this altered with the establishment of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) in 2003, based in Trinidad and Tobago. The courts assure a number of due process protections in criminal proceedings, in their enforcement of respect for civil rights, including a right of detainees to be brought before a judge within 72 hours of arrest.
There are more than 500 practicing lawyers in Barbados specialising in all forms of law, ranging from admiralty and maritime law to intellectual property law. Lawyers in Barbados are styled attorneys-at-law. As of 2012, there were around just under 20 established firms practicing in Barbados. A number of law firms can also assist with offshore incorporations and investments.
To apply to practice in the legal profession and become a member of the Barbados Bar Association, a person is required to have a Legal Education Certificate and be a citizen of the Commonwealth Caribbean or more formally participating member countries of the Council of Legal Education. Lawyers from Commonwealth countries with a degree with a strong Common Law component or equivalent can apply to study for a Legal Education Certificate before seeking admittance to the Bar.
Information from the World Economic Forum, The Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013
Legal rights index
Efficiency of legal framework in settling disputes
Efficiency of legal framework in challenging regulations
Property rights (including financial assets)
Intellectual property protection