The Legal System of the Bahamas
Rawson SquareThe Bahamas is a former Colony of The United Kingdom and inherited its Common Law system which was one of the greatest exports of the British Empire.
The Law of The Bahamas is based on English Common Law supplemented by legislation promulgated by the Parliament of The Bahamas. Recent legislation has modernized Company and Trust Laws.
The Court System is also modeled after that of The United Kingdom. Magistrates’ Courts hear minor criminal and civil cases, and the Supreme Court hears the more serious criminal and major civil cases. Appeals are heard by the Court of Appeal and the Privy Council in England, the highest Court of Appeal for The Bahamas.
The Government of the Bahamas
One of the oldest democracies in the Western Hemisphere, The Bahamas boasts of continuous traditional parliamentary democracy since 1729. The Government is modeled on the British Constitutional pattern with a Prime Minister, a Cabinet of Ministers, an appointed Senate and a House of Assembly elected by the people to control and administer the day to day affairs of the country.
The Bahamas was formerly a British colony, achieving its Independence on the 10th July 1973, and it still maintains sovereign democracy. The Bahamas became an Independent Nation and a Member of The Commonwealth of Nations with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth 11 as Head of State. The Queen is represented locally by a Governor-General who is appointed by the Government of The Bahamas. The Government is elected by the populace every 5 years and has a written Constitution which guarantees fundamental rights.
There are no income, inheritance, capital gains or profits taxes levied on individuals or companies in The Bahamas. The Government earns revenue primarily from import duties, stamp duty on real estate transactions and mortgages, incorporation and annual registration fees payable by companies and annual licence fees payable by Banks and Trust companies, property tax, casino tax, hotel tax, port tax, and departure tax
The Banks and Trust Companies Regulation Act prohibits the disclosure of any financial information without proper authorization and imposes penalties of fines and or imprisonment for unauthorized disclosure.
In 1979, The Bahamas celebrated its 250th Anniversary of uninterrupted parliamentary democracy. It is a Member of the United Nations and its specialized Agencies.