Last Updated Feb. 3, 2015. AJB; Updated Mar. 13, 2013. BA & NFH
This research Guide covers many of the issues surrounding how to research Caribbean Law. Specifically the guide will focus on Caribbean countries with historical ties to the British Commonwealth ("Commonwealth Caribbean") whose legal systems operate in English. However, it will contain information on some non-Commonwealth Caribbean countries and non-English sources. Also see Cuban Law and Cuba: Business Law in English research guides. To locate additional titles, search Baron.
For those unfamiliar with Caribbean Law, a secondary source is a good way to get started. Consider consulting a preeminent treatise such as:
- Commonwealth Caribbean Law Series (Includes books on contract, property, criminal, business law, and much more.)
- Doing Business in Latin America and the Caribbean
- The Commonwealth Caribbean: The Integration Experience
Please be aware that the foreign primary law collection may contain some gaps in coverage. Check the Foreign Law Guide to determine the latest code in effect for foreign countries.
- Laws of Anguilla, (1971-1989).
- Laws of Antigua & Barbuda, (1977-96).
- Laws of Barbados, (1894-2008) & Earlier.
- Laws of Belize, (1983-1992).
- Commercial Laws of the British Virgin Islands, (2012).
- Dominica Laws, (1964-2009).
- Grenada Laws, KGR4008.A22, KGR4008.A23, & KGR4008.A232.
- Laws of St. Lucia, KGW3008.A243 & KGW3008.A23.
- Montserrat Ordinances & Statutory Rules, (1964-1993).
The University of West Indies Law Library prepared indexes to statutes of Commonwealth Caribbean countries. The indexes for the following countries are held in the library:
- Anguilla, (2006).
- Antigua & Barbuda, (2012).
- Bahamas, (2010).
- Barbados, (2012).
- Bermuda, (1996).
- Belize, (2012).
- British Virgin Islands, (2012).
- Cayman Islands, (1996).
- Dominica, (2012).
- Grenada, (2012).
- Guyana, (2011).
- Jamaica, (2010).
- Montserrat, (2003).
- St. Kitts & Nevis, (2008).
- St. Lucia, (2012).
- St. Vincent & Grenadines, (2011).
- Trinidad & Tobago, (2009).
- Turks & Caicos, (2001).
This list of codes is not exhaustive; however, they are useful in that they may give the researcher an idea of how other codes may be titled and organized. When searching for codes in Baron keep in mind that most will not have titles in English. All of the following are found in the International Collection:
- Codigo Penal de la Republica Dominicana, (2007).
- Condigo de Comercio de la Republica Dominicana, (2007).
- Condigo Tributario de la Republica Dominicana, (2007).
- Codigo de Procedimiento Civil de la Republica Dominicana, (2007).
- Codigo Civil de la Republica Dominicana, (2007).
- Codigo de Trabajo de la Republica Dominicana, (2007).
- Codigo para el Sisteme de Proteccion y los Derchos Fundamentales de ninos, ninas y Adolescentes, (2007).
- Codigo Procesal Penal de la Republica Dominicana, (2007).
- Codigo Monetario y Financiero de la Republica Dominicana, (2007).
- Code Civil Haitien, (1993).
- Code de Procedure Civile, (1988).
- Code de Lois Usuelles: Deuxieme Livre, (1989).
- Code de Commerce: Lois du 27 Mars 1826, Modifiee par le Decret-Loi du 22 Decembre 1944, (1944).
- Les Codes Hatiens: Code Penal Avec les Dernieres Modifications, (1953).
Netherlands Antilles & Aruba
- The Civil Code of the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba, (English & Dutch).
- Civil Code of St. Lucia, (1879).
Subsidiary Legislation functions like administrative regulations in the United States. Subsidiary legislation is legislation enacted by a governmental entity empowered by the legislative, but that is not the legislature itself. You can find the following in the 3rd floor International Collection.
- West Indian Reports (W.I.R.), covering Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad & Trabago, and West Indies Associated States (1958-present).
- The Law Reports: Appeal Cases (A.C.), covering Various Commonwealth Caribbean (1875-present).
- Jamaica Law Reports (J.L.R.), covering Jamaica (1976-2004).
- Jamaica Law Reports (J.L.R.) Decisions of the Supreme Court Being Decisions of Single Judges and of the Full Court in All Jurisdictions, covering Jamaica (1933-1960).
- Law Reports of the Bahamas (L.B.R.), covering Bahamas (1965-1995).
- The Barbados Law Reports (Barb. L.R.), covering Barbados (1875-2009).
- Report of Cases Relating to Barbados covering Barbados (1860-1903).
- The Caribbean Commercial Law Reports covering Belize, the Bahamas, Barbados, the Cayman Islands, Grenada, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, the Turks, & Caicos Islands (1988-1991).
- The Cayman Islands Law Reports (C.I.L.R.), covering Cayman Islands (1980-2011).
- The Trinidad and Tobago Law Reports covering Trinidad and Tobago (1990-2001).
- Judgments Delivered in the Supreme Court of Trinidad and Tobago covering Trinidad and Tobago (1893-1927). HeinOnline 1893-1910, 1910-1916, 1917-1920.
- The OECS Law Reports (O.E.C.S.L.R.), covering East Caribbean States (Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Montseeat, Saint Kitts & Nervis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, Anguilla, British Virgin Islands (1955-1995).
Practice and Current Awareness
- Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports, use the jurisdiction as a search term to discover a number of archived reports from the Congressional Research Service both regarding subject specific issues and statistics.
- ABA Section of International Law: Latin American & Caribbean Committee, this list requires registration with the ABA section.
- Caribbean Update, business and legal news from Caribbean countries.
- Latin American, West Indies, and Caribbean Newspapers.
- Caribbean News Now daily regional news summary from throughout the Caribbean.
- AP Online Regional - Latin America/Caribbean, news from Latin American/Caribbean countries.
- Lex Mundi Trinidad & Tobago Business Guides part of the Lex Mundi Guides to Doing Business series which provides general information about legal and business infrastructures on Lexis.
- Esmerk Caribbean News summaries on key business issues abstracted from thousands of local language sources. Information from a range of North and Eastern European and Latin American countries.
- Commonwealth Caribbean Law Series. International Collection.
- Caribbean Law & Business.
- Caribbean Law Bulletin.
- Caribbean Law Review.
- West Indian Law Journal (formerly Jamaica Law Journal).
Articles discussing Caribbean law topics may appear in a wide variety of law reviews and journals. With that in mind, it is probably best to run searches in general indexes such as LegalTrac, the Index to Legal Periodicals, and the Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals. Additional searches in HeinOnline, Westlaw, & Lexis. You can find more Caribbean-country-specific journals at Washington and Lee Law Library by selecting particular countries from the "All Countries" drop down menu.
- Institute for Caribbean Law and Policy from the Stetson Law School, containing links to Caribbean Law resources as well as Powerpoint presentations that provide overviews of various Caribbean countries.
- The Caribbean Court of Justice: A Research Guide from LLRX covers the Caribbean Court of Justice from 2008.
- Guide to Law Online from the Law Library of Congress contains research guides on numerous foreign countries including Caribbean countries. The guides include links to primary and secondary sources.
Selected Books from the UM Law Library
- Resilience of Regionalism in Latin America and the Caribbean: Development and Autonomy, Andrés Rivarola Puntigliano ed., (2013).
- Integrazione Europea ed Integrazioni Latino-Americane e Caraibiche: Modelli e Rapporti, by Piero Pennetta, (2009).
- Commonwealth Caribbean Law and Legal Systems, by Rose-Marie Belle Antoine, (2008). Provides a detailed background of Commonwealth Caribbean legal systems. Part III is particularly useful for figuring out how to navigate Caribbean appellate courts. The work reads more like a social-science text than a legal treatise, which can make it easier to digest; however, sometimes a reader needs to skim through sections on legal philosophy to get to practice-oriented information. It also discusses the establishment of the Caribbean Court of Justice, which replaced appeals to the Privy Council.
- We Want Justice: Jamaica and the Caribbean Court of Justice, by Delano Franklyn, (2005).
- The Caribbean Court of Justice: Enhancing the Law of International Organizations, by Sheldon McDonald, (2005).
- The Caribbean Court of Justice: Closing the Circle of Independence, by Duke E. Pollard, (2004).
- The CARICOM System: Basic Instruments, Duke E. Pollard ed., (2003).
- Developments and Challenges in the Caribbean Region, by Samuel Itam, (2000).
- Growth, Employment, and Equity: the Impact of the Economic Reforms in Latin America and the Caribbean, by Barbara Stallings & Wilson Peres, (2000).
Other Research Guides
- Foreign Law Guide (commonly referred to as "Reynolds & Florres," the authors of the work) is the first place many researchers go when delving into foreign law research. The Foreign Law Guide provides detailed overviews of legal systems, references to sources of legal materials, and subject headings for almost 200 countries. The Foreign Law Guide does not have an entry for Caribbean Countries generally, but it does have pages for the individual countries in the Caribbean.
- Caribbean Law Primary Resources were compiled by the University of the West Indies Law Library and includes links to Constitutions, Legislation, Court Judgments, Legal Information Institutes, as well as additional resources.
- Guide to Caribbean Law Research is a Guide from NYU's Globalex collection and provides links to website providing Caribbean legal information, for lower courts, agencies, and legislative bodies.
- Guides to Caribbean Law Research is a Guide from LLRX contains basic information on researching Caribbean Law.
- A Guide to Uniform Citation of Inter-American Sources for Writers and Practitioners, 43 U. Miami Inter-Am. L. Rev. 377 (2012), contains examples of citations for Inter-American sources including those from Caribbean countries. It can also be used to find sources for various countries. It is updated bi-annually. (Westlaw, Lexis, & HeinOnline.)
- Commonwealth Caribbean Law Research Guide created by Florida State University provides an individual page exploring primary and secondary resources for over twenty different jurisdictions.
- Contact a Reference Librarian for more information.
- University of West Indies Law Library
- Florida State University College of Law
- Professor Elwin Griffith
Caribbean Law Institute Director
Florida State University College of Law
Tallahassee, FL 32306-1601
Telephone: (850) 644-7731
- Professor Elwin Griffith
- Stetson University Institute for Caribbean Law and Policy