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Guide to Legal Research in the Dominican Republic. Please, Read the Update!

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Structure of the Government. Supreme Court of Justice. Courts of First Instance. Justices of the Peace. Primary Sources Of Law. Code of Civil Procedure. Code dominiicana Criminal Procedure. Code of the Minor. Monetary and Financial Code. Case Domnicana Reports and Digests. Treaties and International Agreements.

It shares with Haiti the island of Hispaniola, occupying two thirds of the eastern side of the island. It occupies 48, square kilometers, making it the second largest island of the Greater Antilles, and supports a population of 8. Discovered by Christopher Columbus inthe Dominican Republic was colonized by Spain until when, pursuant to the Treaty 244-97 Basle, which ended the war between France and Spain sparked by the French Revolution, Spain domnicana to France the eastern side of the island, giving to France control over the entire island of Hispaniola dominkcana.

From forward France began to advance and colonize the western side of Dlminicana by taking over large portions of land belonging to Spain and converting them into agricultural developments, domniicana cattle, and stimulating an economy of French commercial goods [3]. The French colony which flourished on the western one-third of the republicaa was officially recognized by Spain in under the Treaty of Ryswick.

Soon after, the French colony of Saint Domingue was established which divided the island into two distinctive cultures — The French on the western side of the island and the Spanish on the eastern [4]. From to the Dominican Dominicaana was governed successively by France, Haiti, Spain and then Haiti again, until it finally declared its independence on February 27, The first National Constitution was signed, on October 22, Unable to control the country effectively, the then governing authorities ceded the country back to Spain in Two years later, on August 16,independence was restored and a Second Republic proclaimed.

Thereafter the new republic was subjected to a long power struggle between those who wanted to remain independent The Blues and those who supported the annexation of the country to France, Spain or the United States The Reds [5].

The consequences of these conflicts led alternately to dictatorship Ulises Heureux, -anarchy -occupation of the territory by the United States military forces -dictatorship Rafael L.

Trujillo, and finally democracy to present. The Constitution defines the system of government of the Dominican Republic as being civilian, republican, democratic and representative. The powers of the government are divided into three independent branches: Executive power is exercised by the President of the Republic who is elected with the Vice-President by direct vote for a four-year term.

The President and Vice-President may be re-elected for one additional period, as provided by the diminicana amendment made to the Constitution in [6]. He appoints the cabinet of 18 ministers, denominated Secretarios de Estado Secretaries of Statewho assist him in his function. The President promulgates and publishes laws and resolutions passed by Congress, and he has the constitutional authority under Article 55, section 2 of the Constitution, to issue decrees, regulations and instructions which are binding, but subject to legislative modification.

The President also may enter into treaties with foreign nations, but unless it is ratified by both houses of the Congress, the treaty will not be binding on the Dominican Republic [7]. The various Secretaries of State and other government offices, such as the Central Bank of the Dominican Republic, may issue resolutions and norms which are also binding.

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Legislative power is invested in the National Congress, which republia composed of two chambers: Members of both chambers are elected by direct majority vote. Once elected Congressional Members serve for a four-year xominicana and may be re-elected without time limitations. Congressional and municipal elections are held in even – numbered years not divisible by four.

The Congress, in its ordinary legislative functions, convenes two legislative sessions per year. Domiinicana first session begins on August the 16 thand the second begins on February the 27 th.

Each regular session lasts for ninety days, but can be extended up to sixty additional repkblica. In addition to its powers to enact laws, the Congress of the Republic is empowered to increase, reduce 244-97 abolish regular or exceptional courts, to repubkica or reject international treaties and conventions concluded by the Executive Power, and has the authority to review and approve the national budget submitted by the Executive Power. The National Congress has constitutional authority to legislate over any matter.

Any senator or deputy may introduce legislation in either house. Once a bill is approved, it is sent to the President of the Republic for promulgation and subsequent publication in the Gaceta Oficial Official Gazette. Alternatively, Article 1 of the Civil Code states that approved bills also can be published in one or more major newspapers, in which leu the publication must expressively indicate that it is an official publication and it will have the same effect as the Official Gazette.

The Senate is composed of 32 members, one Senator elected by each province, plus one Senator representing the National District.

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The Senate is empowered to doominicana the members of the Central Electoral Board and the members of the Chamber of Accounts. The Chamber of Deputies is composed of members elected for each province, one for every 50, inhabitants or fraction thereof greater than 25, but in no case shall a province have less than two Deputies.

There are Deputies. An exclusive function of the Chamber of Deputies is to refer impeachments of public officials before the Senate in matters enunciated by Article 23, Section 4 sominicana the Constitution. Judicial Power is exercised by the Supreme Court of Justice as well as by other courts created by the Constitution or by enacted laws.

The Constitution also mandates a Court of Accounts, which examines the country’s finances and reports to the Congress [9]. The legal system reflects the influence of successive occupancy of the island by foreign nations. During the 22 years of Haitian occupation – the French legal system was imposed on the island, based on the Napoleonic Codes of The French codification remained in effect until Spanish translations of the five French codes were promulgated in These translated codes, with little adjustment to local needs remained as the law of the Dominican Republic for more than one repulica and fifty years [11].

Military Government ruled the country by martial law through legal instruments denominated as Ordenes Ejecutivas Executive Orders.

A total of Executive Orders were enacted, touching on virtually all aspects of governmental administration. It was modeled after reoublica Philippines and Australian Torrens system, and remains in effect today [12]. The Official Gazette and the Judicial Bulletin were published without interruption during these years, and for 30 years, the basic laws underwent only minor modifications, despite the fact that the Dominican Republic was growing threefold in size.

Since the Dominican Republic has undergone major comprehensive judicial reforms. Initiatives directed towards justice and law reform took place within the context of government modernization efforts, seeking to adapt the legal and economic framework of the country for a gradual inclusion of the Dominican Republic in a global and rpublica economy, and to strengthen the democratic process [13]. Main objectives of the reform have been to expedite trials, improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the judiciary, and protect constitutional rights.

This has meant a profound transformation of the criminal justice system. Most notable are revisions of the Criminal Procedure Code, undertaken to incorporate oral procedures reflecting a move away from an inquisitorial to an accusatory or mixed system, and changes in the Penal Code, enacted to improve access to those populations previously underserved, such as women, the poor, and the minors.


Comprehensive judicial reforms were pursued so as to modernize court administration, judicial budgets and court facilities, and to automate processes used for case and record management. ADR mechanisms to solve family problems were introduced as an alternative method of settling disputes.

The Oficina Nacional de la Defensa Publica Public Defenders Office was established to provide legal assistance to those who could not afford to seek legal assistance. Most recent legislature reforms have included updates of basic laws connected with sectors critical to economic and social development focusing on finance, investment and trade, environment, tax and customs, labor repuglica social security [15].

There are several official institutions responsible for promoting and coordinating on-going judicial reforms in the Dominican Republic. The homepage of the CARMJ provides links to the other 24-9 institutions and is particularly useful to understand the fundamental changes brought forth by these reforms, especially in criminal and family matters. At the time the Torrens property system was created, a separate system of Land Courts as a specialized jurisdiction within the legal framework was established.

Other special courts include: The Council selects one Magistrate to serve as President of the Court, and designates a first and second substitute to replace the President of the Supreme Court of Justice in case of absence or incapacity First Vice-President and Second Vice-President.

The Supreme Court has original jurisdiction over any cause of action brought against the President, the Vice President, or other public officials, as designated in the Constitution. It also hears ordinary appeals from matters arising in the Courts of Appeals, as well as questions on the constitutionality of laws.

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The Supreme Court is the highest administrative authority of the Judicial Power. It designates the judges and administrative personnel of all courts, exercises the highest disciplinary authority over all members of the Judicial Power, and sets the salaries and remunerations for judges and administrative personnel. Major provisions which govern the Supreme Court of Justice include the following: There are ten Courts of Appeals, one for each judicial district.

Five judges sit on each of the courts. The Court of Appeals functions primarily as an appellate body and it hears appeals from decisions issued by Courts of First Instance. The Courts of Appeals have original jurisdiction in accusations against lower court judges, Government Attorneys Procuradores Fiscalesand Provincial Governors.

These courts may be divided into Criminal and Civil Chambers.

Judgments of the Courts of Appeals from the National District have been published electronically since Januaryon the Supreme Court of Justice homepage. Depending on the size of the District, these courts may be subdivided into Salas Halls. The Chamber President distributes the cases among the different halls through a random allocation system. The Justices of the Peace are courts authorized to hear small claim cases.

They predominantly hear police and labor matters, as well as any other matter which Congress, through legislation, empower them to republicca.

There is at least one small court in each municipality, plus one located in the National District. Only dominucana judge presides on each Peace Court. The Court of Minors addresses both civil and criminal matters, leyy issues pertaining to paternity, guardianship, visitation rights, alimony and adoption. The Labor Courts were created by the Labor Code to resolve conflicts between workers and employers. For large Districts these courts can be subdivided into Salas Halls.

Guide to Legal Research in the Dominican Republic – GlobaLex

The Land Courts are concerned exclusively with procedures relating to clearing title to property, registering real property, and resolving other questions relating to real property.

For each a sole judge decides all matters relating to real republjca. The High Land Courts are primarily appellate courts and hear appeals from the Land Courts of original jurisdiction. Each Repiblica Land Court sits at least five judges, but Land Court proceedings are presided by a sole judge.