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The Dominican Republic
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Travel and Tourism in the Dominican Republic   Santo Domingo Hotel & Yellow Pages City Guide   Articles and Information about Residency  Real Estate   Retirement   Banking   Investments   Travel Visa Requirements   Government   Business Services Apartments Santo Domingo Information

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The Original 2004 Dominican Republic Report:  Find out why so many Europeans and Americans have been relocating or retiring to the Dominican Republic.   Find out about tax-free banking, plus much more
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BankLegal System & Courts:  Dominican Republic
The Dominican Legal System, for the most part, is derived from laws or statues known as Napoleonic code, which were introduced to the country during the period from 1822 to 1844, when Haiti maintained political control over the entire island of Hispanola (following the revolt and freedom from spain in 1821).  To be sure, the influence of French government and ideals goes deeper than just this period. France actually controlled the present day Dominican Republic during different periods of it's history, so it is not so unusual to find this Spanish speaking country with a legal system based upon the French model.
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The legal system then is that of Civil Law and not Common Law.  For a generalized comparison, this means that judges hear and decide cases, not juries. The courts are comprised  of the following:
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The Peace Courts ~ which really can be called a sort of generalized civil court, designed to hear small cases and those cases of a minor nature.  The cases heard in a peace court are presented in front of a judge, who has the responsibility of hearing the case and rendering a verdict.  For the most part, since each district has it's own peace court, we can say that this is the first level court to hear local matters and disputes.
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The Courts of First Instance ~ Like the peace courts, there is only one judge assigned to hear and decide a case.  These courts are more specialized than the peace courts and are broken down into chambers according to the nature of the case being heard.  As an example, there may be separate chambers for civil matters, criminal matters and commercial matters.  To highlight the difference between this and the peace courts; a dispute with your neighbor over his dog tearing up your garden will be heard by a peace court.  A dispute over legal land title or a more serious criminal matter would go to a court of first instance.
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The Appeals Courts ~ Consisting of a five judge panel, the appeals courts have the responsibility to hear cases or verdicts previously rendered by a court of first instance.  In simpler terms, if you disagree with the judgement presented by a judge in the court of first instance, you may appeal your case to the appeals courts.  This system is quite different than the American System, in that there is a panel of five judges who must collectively render a decision on a case and decide if the judge in the courts of first instance was correct or not in his decision.
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The Supreme Court of Justice ~ Consisting of a 16 judge panel, the supreme court has the responsibility to hear cases decided upon in other courts.  The supreme court however can only review a case whereby the interpretation of the law is in question.
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This Information has been prepared and compiled by Mr. John Schroder.  Mr. Schroder maintains an office in Santo Domingo and in Panama.  His firm provides assistance with company incorporations in the Dominican Republic, Offshore incorporations in other tax haven jurisdictions, Residency in the Dominican Republic and Panama, Assistance with Banking and Investments, Real Estate matters and company representation. To contact his firm, please click below:

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