**United International Press** is a media agency specialized in the production of comprehensive economic surveys on countries that are of interest to the readers of the New York Post.
A feature on **The Bahamas** was published as an insert in the New York Post on August 29, 2008. Reproduced below are excerpts on the legal and judicial system. UIP editors said the financial services sector benefits from proximity to the United States but more importantly has been guided by far-sighted leaders who have focused on providing world-class services, an investor-friendly and reliable regulatory environment, and great diversity of offerings.
The legal system of The Bahamas is known for its stability. It is based on British common law complemented by an American type of constitutionalism along with a range of Bahamian Statute Laws.
The judicial system consists of a Court of Appeal, Supreme Courts in New Providence Island and Grand Bahama Island, and a number of Magistrates’ Courts (courts of first instance) as well as an Industrial Tribunal. The Supreme Court has general, civil, and criminal jurisdiction and hears civil matters throughout the year.
Michael Barnett, a prominent local attorney, was recently sworn in as The Bahamas’ Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, and it is his responsibility to ensure that the Bahamian legal system is transparent and fair.
Commenting recently on his appointment of Barnett, Prime Minister Ingraham said, *“Michael Barnett is best known in our community as a partner at the prestigious law firm of Graham Thompson and Co. We are very happy to welcome him as a colleague in the Upper Chamber of Parliament and in the Cabinet.”*
Minister Barnett has served in many important posts, including as Chairman of the Water and Sewerage Corporation. He has also been an Acting Magistrate, Acting Justice of the Supreme Court, President of the Bahamas Bar Association, Chairman of the Industrial Relations Board, a member of the Financial Services Advisory Committee, among others. Educated in Nassau and at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, he also studied at Lincoln’s Inn Law School in London.
**Bahamas Bar Association**
*”In The Bahamas we service the whole world”*
With over 900 members, the Bahamas Bar Association is responsible for upholding discipline and ethics in the legal profession. *“We like to think of ourselves in The Bahamas as one of the oldest democracies in the Caribbean,”* BBA Association President Wayne Munroe says. “*We provide high quality service, and a court system that is streamlined and available for everyone. Professionalism is what we seek to offer through every sector from banking and legal, to investment, tourism and so on.”*
He explains that the legal system in The Bahamas is still modeled on that of the British. Proud of this continuity, Bahamians are not interested in adopting the Caribbean judicial system: *“Our trial court is the Supreme Court, our next level is the Court of Appeals and our ultimate appellate court is the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.”*
In The Bahamas, says Munroe, investors can find the same international standards that apply to the major countries in the developed world, and that will not change. The only significant difference, he believes, is in scale and size.
The Bahamas also has a great advantage in its strong track record of serving investors, built up over many years. *“Money never goes away,”* according to Munroe. *“In The Bahamas we service the whole world. We are open for business – we are serious about doing good business in North America, Europe, Asia, South America, the Caribbean and anywhere in the world. We are a jurisdiction that exists to serve and we do it well and have for many years.”*
He adds that The Bahamas is stable, and will continue to be stable, regardless of economic downturns in the United States or elsewhere in the world.
UIP previously featured The Bahamas in its Country Profiles in February 2007.