See the Archive Version! It is the second largest island of the Greater Antilles after Cuba. It supports a population of The island was discovered by Christopher Columbus in , and was named Hispaniola. The Treaty of Ryswick divided the island into two distinctive cultures -- The French on the western side of the island and the Spanish on the eastern. From to , the Dominican Republic was governed successively by France, Haiti, Spain and then Haiti again, until it finally declared its independence on February 27,
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See the Archive Version! It is the second largest island of the Greater Antilles after Cuba. It supports a population of The island was discovered by Christopher Columbus in , and was named Hispaniola. The Treaty of Ryswick divided the island into two distinctive cultures -- The French on the western side of the island and the Spanish on the eastern. From to , the Dominican Republic 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. Trujillo, and finally, democracy to present. The Constitution defines the system of government of the Dominican Republic as being civilian, republican, democratic and representative  and describes the State as social and democratic  founded on the respect for the human dignity, fundamental rights, labor, popular sovereignty and separation of powers.
The powers of the government are divided into three independent branches: legislative, executive, and judicial. Legislative power is invested in the National Congress, which is composed of two chambers: the upper body, the Senate and a lower body, the Chamber of Deputies. Once elected, congressional members serve for a four-year period and may be re-elected without time limitations.
Each legislative session lasts for one hundred and fifty days but can be extended up to sixty additional days. The first session begins on August 16, and the second begins on February In addition to its powers to enact laws, the Congress of the Republic is empowered to increase or reduce regular or exceptional courts, to approve or reject international treaties and conventions concluded by the Executive Power and 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. The President of the Republic, the Supreme Court of Justice in judicial matters, the Central Electoral Board in electoral matters, also may introduce legislation in either house of the Congress. Once a bill is approved, it is sent to the President of the Republic for promulgation and subsequent publication in the form established by law.
The Senate is composed of 32 members, one Senator elected by each province and one for the National District. The Senate is empowered to select the members of the Central Electoral Board, the members of the Chamber of Accounts and the Ombudsman. An exclusive function of the Chamber of Deputies is to refer impeachments of public officials before the Senate for the commission of grave faults while in exercise of their functions.
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 can be re-elected for the immediately following constitutional period. He appoints the cabinet of ministers who assist him in his function. The President promulgates and publishes laws and resolutions passed by Congress, and he has the constitutional authority under Article 1b of the Constitution, to issue decrees, regulations and instructions which are binding.
The President also may enter into treaties with foreign nations and international conventions, but unless it is ratified by both houses of the Congress, the treaty will not be binding on the Dominican Republic. The various ministries and decentralized government offices, such as the Central Bank of the Dominican Republic, may issue resolutions and norms which are also binding. 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 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 Codes of were adopted as the codes of the Dominican Republic, in their original language, with the modifications set forth by the Constitution, and the Spanish system of courts established during the colonial era were maintained.
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 hundred and fifty years .
Eight hundred and twenty-one Executive Orders were enacted, touching on virtually all aspects of governmental administration. One of the most notable executive orders enacted was Executive Order No. It was modeled after the Philippines and Australian Torrens system, and remains in effect today.
The Official Gazette and the Judicial Bulletin were published without interruption during these years, and for more than 30 years, the basic laws underwent only minor modifications, despite the fact that the Dominican Republic was growing threefold in size. From to , major legislative and judicial reforms started taking place to adapt the legal and economic framework of the country to a global and regional integration.
Legislative reforms included updating laws related to the development of critical economic and social sectors focusing on finance, investment and trade, environment, tax and customs, labor and social security.
Justice is administered by the Supreme Court of Justice and the other tribunals established by the Constitution or the laws. At the time, the Torrens title system for the registry of property rights was adopted in the Dominican Republic Executive Order No. It designates the lower court judges and administrative personnel and exercises the highest disciplinary authority over all members of the Judicial Power. The Constitutional Court Tribunal Constitucional was established by the Constitutional Reform to defend the fundamental rights and protect the constitutional order.
Its decisions are final and irrevocable and constitute binding precedent for all public authorities and all State agencies. They hear direct actions of unconstitutionality of laws, decrees, regulations, resolutions and ordinances, the preventive control of international treaties before their ratification by Congress, and hear jurisdictional disputes between the public authorities.
Thirteen judges sit at the Constitutional Court elected by the National Council of the Judiciary Consejo Nacional de la Magistratura , for a nine -year term and cannot be reelected. 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 hears appeals on Cassation and ordinary appeals from matters arising in the Courts of Appeals.
The Court of Appeals functions primarily as an appellate body and it hears appeals from decisions issued by Courts of First Instance. Five judges sit on each of the courts, with the exception of the Courts of Appeals for Minors and the Contentious Administrative Court where a minimum of 3 judges sit.
The Courts of First Instance are divided into: a Courts of First Instance with complete plenitude of jurisdiction, which hear all matters; b ordinary courts of first instance, which are divided into chambers as required to hear criminal, and civil and commercial matters; and c specialized courts of first instance. 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, empowers them to hear.
There is at least one small court in each municipality, and one located in the National District. Only one judge presides on each Court of Peace. There are also special traffic courts competent to hear traffic violations. 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.
Administrative Contentious Court . Higher administrative courts Tribunales Superiores Administrativos , and contentious administrative courts of first instance integrate the Administrative Contentious jurisdiction. These courts have jurisdiction over disputes filed against decisions, actions and provisions of the central government including administrative, tax, financial and municipal issues. Hear and determine in first instance or on appeal the contentious administrative actions that arise from conflicts between the public administration and its officers and civilian employees.
It is functionally independent of the Courts by means of Ley No. The first Constitution of the Dominican Republic was promulgated in , immediately after the nation achieved independence from Haiti. By , the Dominican Republic had adopted thirty-five constitutional amendments. The Constitution, enacted at the conclusion of the civil war of April , provided the necessary legal basis to ensure democratic stabilization of the country.
Some of the most significant measures introduced by the constitutional reforms included: creation of a Constitutional Court and a Judiciary Council to oversee the performance of the courts; the inclusion of mechanisms of direct democratic participation such as the referendum and plebiscite,  and popular legislative initiative. The constitutional reform of June 13, , modified Article of the Constitution to allow once more the reelection of the President for a following consecutive term.
With amendments, this original code is largely still in effect today. See the Civil Code updated through Law No. Ley With amendments, this Code is still largely in effect today.
With modifications, this Code is still largely in effect today. See the Commercial Code updated through Law No. In , the Dominican Congress enacted a new criminal code, Law No. The code is still in force. See the Penal Code.
This text of the Criminal Code also includes in extensor Act No. It abrogates and replaces the Criminal Procedure Code. On February 10, , the code of criminal procedure was further modified by Law No.
The code covers matters regarding income tax, tax on the transfer of industrialized goods and services ITBIS , and selective consumption tax. A consolidated text of the tax code, with amendments, is available on the web page of the Internal Revenue Office. It abrogates the Labor Code and subsequent modifications. The Ministry of Labor Ministerio de Trabajo is the state agency responsible for overseeing the compliance of these regulations.
The text of the Labor Code, its regulation and related labor laws is available on the homepage of the Ministry of Labor , under Transparencia, Base Legal Institucional. Alternately on the ILO website. This code is a comprehensive law governing matters relating to the protection of children and adolescents, their rights and obligations.
The code was drafted based on the principles embedded in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. See the code updated through This code outlines the principles of the monetary and financial system of the Dominican Republic, consolidates in a single statute all monetary, financial and banking norms, and modernizes the legal framework previously established by the financial reform of The banking system also is subject to the provisions contained in the resolutions dictated by the Monetary Board Junta Monetaria.
The Monetary Board, the Central Bank of the Dominican Republic and the Superintendence of Banking are the state agencies responsible for regulating and supervising the financial and monetary sector of the Dominican Republic.
Major pieces of legislation regulating the banking and financial system of the Dominican Republic are found on the webpage of the Central Bank of the Dominican Republic under Normativa, Leyes, decretos y disposiciones afines :.
The Central Bank of the Dominican Republic and the Superintendence of Banking Superintendencia de Bancos have excellent websites containing laws regulating the banking system of the Dominican Republic. Corporations — the main laws and regulations governing corporations are:. This legislation marked the beginning of significant reforms eliminating restrictions to foreign investment and promoting the flow of capital into the country.
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UPDATE: Legal Research in the Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic does not yet have a national strategy or policies on cyber security. The government of the Dominican Republic has actively participated in the various activities of the Council of Europe concerning the fight against cybercrime. As part of the awareness activities on cyber security in that country, the government of the Dominican Republic has conducted various awareness campaigns with other state institutions in order to inform the general population on Internet threats and risks and to provide advice on best practices related to information security. The Law on High Tech Crime includes the majority of offenses contained in the substantive law provisions of the Budapest Convention.
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