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map courtesy CIA World Factbook; click for enlargement Constitution, Government & Legislation Under its constitution, Barbados is a parliamentary democracy modeled on the British system. The governor general represents the Monarch. Control of the government rests with the cabinet, headed by the prime minister and responsible to the Parliament.

The bicameral Parliament consists of the House of Assembly and Senate. The 28 members of the House are elected by universal suffrage to 5-year terms. Elections may be called at any time the government wishes to seek a new mandate or if the government suffers a vote of no-confidence in Parliament. The Senate's 21 members are appointed by the governor general--12 with the advice of the prime minister, two with the advice of the leader of the opposition, and seven at the governor general's discretion.

Source: U.S. Department of State

Courts & Judgments

Barbados has an independent judiciary composed of magistrate courts, which are statutorily authorized, and a Supreme Court, which is constitutionally mandated. The Supreme Court consists of the high court and the court of appeals, each with four judges. The Chief Justice serves on both the high court and the court of appeals. The court of last resort is the Judicial Committee of Her Majesty's Privy Council in London, whose decisions are binding on all parties. Judges of the Supreme Court are appointed by the governor general on the recommendation of the prime minister after consultation with the leader of the opposition.

Source: U.S. Department of State

Human Rights

The Government of Barbados generally respects constitutional provisions regarding human rights; however, there were problems in a few areas. There continued to be occasional instances of excessive use of force by police. Societal violence against women and children are problems. There was also an increase in spousal abuse during the year.

Source: U.S. Department of State

Legal Profession

Law Schools