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Overview

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Overview

Overview

The Commonwealth of the Bahamas lies at the crossroad of the major shipping routes linking Europe with the Americas and, through the Panama Canal, with Asia and the Islands of the Pacific.  Geographically, the Bahamas is located approximately 50 miles off the coast of Florida and extends 750 miles southeastward to the tip of Cuba. The excellent air links put the major capitals of the world within easy access. Toronto and Montreal can be reached by air in approximately 31/2 hours; Miami within 40 minutes; New York within 21/2 hours; London in about 8 hours, and Caracas within 4 hours. The Bahamas has a state of the art infrastructure telecommunications. The Bahamas archipelago consists of 700 Islands, with a total land area of approximately 5, 400 square miles. Only 30 of the 700 islands are inhabited. The largest of these is Andros, which is 2,300 square miles in area. The land is mainly flat, with the highest point, Como Hill in Cat Island, being just 200 feet above sea level. The capital city is Nassau, situated on the Island of New Providence, which is approximately 21 miles long by 7 miles wide, Freeport/Lucaya, the nation’s second largest city is located on the Island of Grand Bahama, which is situated 100 miles north of New Providence and 50 miles east of the Florida Coast.The population of The Bahamas, according to the 1990 Census of Population and Housing, was 254,685 comprising 123,507 males and 131,178 females. New Providence accounted for 35% of the population, Grand Bahama for 16%, whilst the remainder is distributed over the other inhabited islands. The population is predominantly (80%) of African descent, whilst persons of European and mixed origin comprise the remaining 20%. Bahamians are entirely English speaking and there is a literacy rate of approximately 97%.  

The Legal System

The legal system of The Bahamas is based on English Common Law. Major cases are tried in the Supreme Court by a Justice and, mostly in Criminal Cases, a jury. The Supreme Court has general and original criminal and civil jurisdiction. Small claims and misdemeanor are tried in the Magistrate Courts. The Chief Justice of The Bahamas and the Justices of the Court of Appeal are appointed by the Governor General on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, after consultation with the Leader of the Opposition. The Judicial and Legal Services Commission appoint the other Justices of the Supreme, all Magistrates and other judicial Officers. Appeals are made to The Bahamas Court of Appeal and ultimately to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in the United Kingdom. The legal profession in The Bahamas is highly developed and includes members who have trained in, and are eligible to practice law in England, the United States, Canada and various countries of the Commonwealth Caribbean.

Lawyers admitted to the following bars: