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- Legal System
The legal system of Dominica is based on the English Common Law system, with the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) and the Privy Council being the bodies of binding authority. The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court was established (as West Indies Associated States Supreme Court) in 1967 with its headquarters in St Lucia, and is responsible for the administration of justice in its member states, including Dominica.
The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court comprises the High Court of Justice and the Court of Appeal. The High Court has 16 judges, one of whom is permanently resident in the country and sits in the court of summary jurisdiction. Less serious cases are heard in district magistrates’ courts. There are three magistrates’ courts, with appeal made to the ECSC. The Court of Appeal is itinerant. The High Court’s jurisdiction includes fundamental rights and freedoms, and constitutional issues. Before 2003, the last court of appeal was the Privy Council in England. However, in 2003 Caribbean leaders ratified a treaty establishing the Caribbean Court of Justice.
Legal practitioners in the country are known as attorneys-at-law. Dominica is amongst the governments that have signed an agreement establishing a Council of Legal Education which sets common education and training standards for their jurisdictions.
The Council of Legal Education is responsible for setting the education and training standards for people with a law degree from the University of the West Indies or from institutions in common law countries. Additionally it operates three regional law schools, located in Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and the Bahamas, which provide certificates of legal education. The countries subscribing to the Council of Legal Education recognise that someone with a Certificate of Legal Education has the appropriate education and training to work in the profession in that country.
The Dominica Bar Association is the national bar association, with the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Bar Association being the regional body. Well-established firms in Dominica include Don Christopher and Co., Isidore and Associates LLP, Safe Haven Offshore Ltd., and Stowe and Co.
Not included in the World Economic Forum, The Global Competitiveness Report (2012-2013).