FRA  |  ENG  |  ESP  |  POR 

The Legal System of Barbados

The legal system of Barbados is based initially on the common law of England and is adversarial in nature. The case law of that country therefore provides a secondary source of reference. Legislation or Acts or statute law is considered a primary source of reference. Parliament is responsible for the law making process. This Body consists primarily of the Senate or Upper House and the House of Assembly or a Lower House. There is a written constitution (Chapter 1 of the Laws of Barbados) in place which is supreme. Accordingly, there is no automatic application of conventions, treaties, etc. Parliamentary approval is necessary before such Agreements form part of the law of the land. The Constitution also recognizes the doctrine of separation of powers into the Judiciary, Legislature and the Executive. Prior to the establishment of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) and its operation in 2006, the English Privy Council was the highest Court of the land. The present hierarchy is the Magistrate’s Court, the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal and the CCJ which is stationed in the neighbouring twin island state of Trinidad and Tobago.