fbpx
Home Blog

Caribbean Law’s Big Impact on Tourism, Culture, and Drugs

0

Caribbean Law focuses on the Caribbean, a region that comprises of countries that generally surround the Caribbean Sea, a sea in the Atlantic Ocean. It is a diverse group of island nations with a culture rich in food, fun, and adventure.

How the Caribbean’s Endangered Species Laws protect Marine Life

The Caribbean Sea is a region that comprises countries that generally surround the Caribbean Sea. It has a very diverse ecosystem that is heavily protected by various local and international laws.

In the US, the Endangered Species Act of 1973 protects the vulnerable and endangered from extinction in island territories such as Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. In Belize, to protect the coral reefs, in 2009 the government passed a set of Fisheries Regulations to prevent the fishing of parrotfish, a type of fish that is vital to coral reefs. In Jamaica, the Natural Resources Conservation Authority Act provides the legal basis for protecting coral reefs and marine life.

These laws are necessary due to the damage and overfishing that has occurred to biodiversity. Conservation International considers the ecosystem of the Caribbean as a biodiversity hotspot.

Caribbean Law
The Caribbean has some of the best waters for snorkeling.

Why Caribbean Beach Law allows Private Beaches to Exist

Some of the best beaches in the world are in the Caribbean. By law, a beach is typically considered the space where the tide ebbs and flows. Most of the beaches in the Caribbean are public beaches that are open to the general public by law. However, there are private beaches as well, and many Caribbean countries consider a beach private when the only way to access a beach is by crossing private property.

The Caribbean Sea also offers beachfront property and many islands for sale. They are either sold by private owners or by the governments. It is important to understand that the person may be either buying the land either through freehold or leasehold. Freehold means the person legally owns the property in its entirety, while a leasehold means you control the island for a set time. 

Carnival Cruise has a long-term lease with Labadee, a port in Haiti, and CocoCay, an island in the Bahamas. Typically leasehold land ownership lasts anywhere from 50 – 99 years, then it will return to the original owner unless the land has an automatic renewal to allow the lease to be extended. Providing long-term leases to corporations allows the governments to collect revenue and bring economic opportunity to the areas, as many of these countries are impoverished due to the legacy of slavery.

Caribbean Slavery Shaped the World in More Ways than you Think

Most of the Caribbean Islands were originally inhabited by Indigenous Americans traveling from Asia. They established complex societies based on laws, traditions, and mutual respect. As Europeans came to the Caribbean, they colonized the islands and authorized legal slavery. Africans were enslaved, sold through legal contracts, transported from West Africa to the islands, and forced to work on sugar plantations. 

Sugar Cane on a plantation in the Caribbean

Slavery in the Caribbean was often worse and more brutal than slavery in Africa. For example, slaves in Haiti had a life expectancy of 5 years. In addition, children born to slaves in the Caribbean were legally considered slaves as well, unlike in Africa. Slavery in Africa tended not to apply to children of slaves, slavery often served as a form of punishment due to a lack of a formal prison system in some African communities, and many of the slaves in Africa were prisoners of war.

Biracial children were also born from enslaved African women and European men either through rape or concubinage. Some Caribbean colonial territories considered them slaves as well, but in French-controleld Haiti, mulatoos were a legitimate class and legal free, as well as often educated and wealthy.

The wealth from the Caribbean came largely from the sugar plantations. Sugar and its by-products such as molasses and rum were produced and exported back to Europe. Insurance contracts were issued for slaves and sugar byproducts goods, in case of death or loss.

The contracts were either based on Common or Civil Law.

Caribbean Laws is built on the foundation of Civil and Common Law

There are two types of legal systems in the Caribbean: Common Law and Civil Law. Common law is based on laws passed by the legislature and legal precedence. Legal precedence is where judges make court rulings that are based on prior court rulings. Civil law is a legal system that is based primarily on laws that are passed by the legislatures.

Many of the common law countries in the Caribbean include

Caribbean Law
Civil Law vs Common Law, a difference that has shaped the world
  • Jamaica
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Grenada
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis

Civil law Caribbean countries include:

  • Haiti based on Napoleonic French Civil Law
  • Suriname based on Dutch Civil Law

Cuba is based on Communist legal theory. However, starting in 2019, the country has begun to recognize private property rights and aspects of a free market economy where buyers and sellers determine the price of certain goods and services.

Doing business requires communication skills and understanding multiple languages is common in Caribbean countries.

What Languages do they Speak in the Caribbean?

Many languages that are spoken in the Caribbean including:

  • English,
  • Spanish,
  • French, and
  • Creole versions of English, Spanish, and French

It is important to note that the creole versions are not only spoken in the countries, but countries have passed laws to recognize them as official languages. This is shown in Haiti where Haitian Creole, a French-based dialect, and Aruba where Papiamentu, a Spanish-based dialect, are both official languages in their respective countries.

Knowing a variety of languages has also helped bolster the tourism industry.

Caribbean Tourism

One can make an argument that the Caribbean’s tourism industry is the best in the world. Some of the best resorts, restaurants, and adventure tours are done at the highest level possible in the Caribbean. But, for these world-class services to exist, laws must be in place. 

Zoning laws designating areas for resorts and commercial use are necessary for the Caribbean hospitality industry to thrive. In addition, liability waivers in contracts that exculpate hotels, resorts, and travel tours from legal liability are required to keep the hospitality industry functioning at a profit. Without the ability to project a profit, it fundamentally undercuts the incentive to go into business and therefore the tourism industry will likely cease to exist or maintain the quality it currently presents to millions of visitors per year.

Carnival combines tourism, religion, and excitement

How Carnival Law Keeps the Fun Going

Millions of individuals travel to the Caribbean for Carnival, a festival during the first quarter of every year based on the religion of Catholicism and ends before Lent. Carnival involves large parades, costumes, and contests that take place during both daytime and at night. Carnival takes place in most Caribbean countries, but countries such as Trinidad and Tobago’s carnival is more famously known.

Many tourists stay in hotels and Airbnbs, which take into account liability waivers discussed earlier in this section. There are laws for floats safety inspections, and Trinidad and Tobago even has a Festival Act specifically for its carnival that includes:

  • Times of the year to wear masks
  • Criminal actions during carnival
  • Authorities of the President to make determinations for Carnival

Tourism is a major export of the region. Even though no goods or services are leaving the countries, tourists bring foreign money into the countries making it a part of international trade. 

How Caribbean Trade Agreements impacts the World

Trading goods, services, and capital have been a part of humanity since ancient African Nile Valley civilization, and the Caribbean has been no different.

As discussed earlier the Transatlantic Triangle is based on international trade. Africans were enslaved and brought to the Caribbean Islands and forced to work on mostly sugar cane plantations. The plantations produced sugar, molasses, and rum which were exported to Europe. The Europeans sent ships full of guns, cloth, and other goods to West Africa to trade for human slaves, which continue the triangle of trade. Purchase agreements and insurance contracts were involved in the entire process.

Cuban Cigars are a major export of the Caribbean

Today, trade in the Caribbean region is largely different. Tourism plays a major role in international trade, but the country also exports products such as:

  • Coffee
  • Oil and Gas
  • Gold
  • Rum
  • Bananas 

Export-Import (EXIM) Banks provide credit insurance for companies that export products. This allows the companies to offer credit to their customers, and the company will not have to worry about payment before shipping the products. If the customer does not pay, the EXIM bank will repay the company up to 95% of the cost. EXIM Banks primarily offer this service for goods, but Caribbean music is also an important export.

Caribbean music is played all over the world, and the region’s most popular music includes genres such as reggae, soca, and kompa. These artists often sign exclusive recording agreements with record labels as well as music publishing agreements. The artists in turn are given advance money and then collect royalties when the music is sold or streamed.

Cuban Cigars are a major international export. While it is currently forbidden to bring Cuban cigars and alcohol from Cuba into the US, Cuban cigars and alcohol can be brought in from other third countries into the US. As the Caribbean countries legalize cannabis, the plant and its byproducts will be exported as well.

How Caribbean Herbs and spices go Beyond Cannabis 

The Caribbean is well renowned for its natural herbs and medicinal products. Historically many places did not have access to quality healthcare, so natural herbs and roots were studied and mastered, and used to create products. Roots tonics, soaps, and creams are developed and purchase agreements are signed and exported all over the world. While Cannabis is a plant that the Caribbean is more notoriously known for, other herbs and plants such as soursop, sarsaparilla, and raw moon root provide many medicinal benefits.

Cannabis is gradually becoming decriminalized in the Caribbean.

Where is Weed Legal in the Caribbean?

Cannabis is becoming legalized in many Caribbean countries. Jamaica passed the Dangerous Drug Act in 2015 which legalized cannabis for religious purposes and decriminalized the possession of 55.6 grams or less to a fine of 500 Jamaican Dollars (approximately $4 USD).  Trinidad and Tabogo allows legal possession of up to 30 grams. While cannabis laws are changing, cocaine trafficking laws have not changed.

Columbian cocaine has often traveled through the Caribbean to reach the United States and Europe. But, both Caribbean government and international organizational efforts are made and funded to address the trafficking of illegal cocaine and other illicit drugs.

Why is CARICOM Important and the benefits of International Organizations

The Caribbean countries, similar to many regions, have come together to form international governmental organizations such as the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). CARICOM is composed of 15 Caribbean member states to increase economic relations and coordinate foreign policy. CARICOM organized events with high-ranking dignitaries, as well as funding opportunities through grants for events for the Caribbean. 

Other intergovernmental organizations that play an important role in the Caribbean include:

One of the major aspects of Caricom allows for a single regional market where goods and services can freely move across the 15 Caribbean countries. In addition, many Caribbean countries have trade agreements with other non-Caribbean countries such as the Caribbean Basin Initiative, a free trade preference with the US, and the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement, a free trade agreement with the European Union.

Similar to how trade agreements allow for the free movement of goods and services, immigration policy affects the movement of individuals. 

What is the Caribbean Diaspora and how do Laws help this Community?

The Caribbean Diaspora is individuals of Caribbean descent that are not currently living in the Caribbean. The movement of people has occurred since the dawn of man in the African safari, and immigration is a part of Caribbean history and is shown when:

Women from Guadalupe on Ellis Island immigrating to New York City
  • Indigenous natives migrated from Asia, 
  • Enslaved Africans were brought across the Atlantic Ocean, 
  • European entrepreneurs started plantations and profited off of slave-related industries, and 
  • Indians served as indentured servants in countries such as Guyana.

Individuals of Caribbean descent are now living all over the globe today. There are over a million people of both Jamaican and Haitian descent living in the US and almost 3 million total of the Caribbean diaspora, the UK has over 500,000 of the Caribbean diaspora, and there are over 750,000 Haitians in France.

These individuals are legal citizens of the countries or authorized to work through legal immigration visas such as the H-1B visa in the US. Many of the individuals have excelled in their fields such as military, law, health, and sports.

Many individuals are becoming citizens of Caribbean nations such as St. Lucia, St. Kitt, and Dominica. With these citizenship, many individuals can now have visa-free access to over 100 countries which may not be a possibility in their country of birth. The common requirement is to make approximately a $100,000 USD investment in the country in an area such as real estate.

How does the Law make Caribbean Sports a Million Dollar Business?

Sports are a major form of entertainment and football (soccer), the most popular sport in the world, reigns supreme in the Caribbean. Additional popular spectator sports include:

  • Baseball,
  • Cricket,
  • Track and field,
  • Water events such as yachting or sailing, and more.

When large numbers of people watch a sporting event, a business model is created and legal contracts are involved. There are advertising contracts, sponsorship agreements, player and coaches/trainers contracts, etc. Even ticket sales are a form of contract because people exchange money for the license to sit in a particular seat during a sporting event.

Caribbean Law Yatch
The future remains bright for the Caribbean

The Future of the Caribbean depends on Laws and Regulations.

The future is bright for the Caribbean. Within the next 50 years,  expect multiple Caribbean nations to be 100% run on renewable energy. Caribbean countries are situated perfectly to accomplish this because they have an abundance of water, wind, and sun.

As globalization continues to increase, Caribbean countries will participate, benefit and likely help their regional partners increase their per capita income. These countries will export finished products to the US and Europe, instead of mostly exporting raw materials. The tourism and hospitality industry will increase as the cannabis industry is legalized and matures in Caribbean nations.

3 ways an International Lawyer can practice Law in the US Successfully

There are three ways an International Lawyer can practice law in the US.

While it may not be common knowledge, international lawyers can practice law in the US. This allows foreign lawyers to be able to practice law in the world’s largest economy. However, just as there are many rules and State regulations in place for U.S. lawyers to practice law, there are three ways an international lawyer can practice law in the United States.

International Lawyer can Attend a US Law School

Many US States do not recognize foreign law degrees and require international lawyers to attend ABA-approved school. Therefore, it is important to note that each state has its own rules to follow making it important to know exactly where you intend to practice. It is much easier to have a focus on a specific state’s regulations than the country as a whole.

International Lawyer can practice Law in the US

For example the following States do not allow graduates of foreign law schools to take the bar exam: Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Wyoming. This means that in those States one would be required to attend an accredited law school in the U.S. to be able to take the Bar exam, which is required to practice law in the given state.

Juris Doctor Degree

The Juris Doctor (JD) degree is the law degree that most lawyers that attend US law school obtain. These lawyers typically take the LSAT and follow other additional law school admission steps. Traditionally it takes three years to complete the JD degree, but international lawyers can opt to the take the shorter Masters of Law Degree.

Masters of Law Degree

Many US States accept the LL.M. or Masters of Law at an accredited law school in the United States to suffice to qualify to take the US bar exam. The LLM is one year and will provide international lawyers with a thorough overview of the law. With the LL.M. you would be able to practice in New York, California, Washington state, Wisconsin, and other US States.

But along with each of these states there are other requirements to keep in mind. For example in Washington, the law school you choose to get your LL.M. from must be a Board of Governors approved school for it to qualify you for the bar exam. New York and California are the most popular states for international lawyers to practice in because of their more relaxed set of guidelines compared to other states.

International Lawyer can practice Law in the US

Complete an Equivalency Report

Foreign trained lawyers may be granted permission to take the bar exam, but each state has its own restrictions as well. For example, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Nevada, Oregon, and Vermont are some of the States that do not require a degree from an ABA-approved school. But most of these States require an equivalency report which requires a thorough review of the international lawyer’s legal education and background to determine whether he/she has enough knowledge to take the bar exam.

For more specific information about practicing in a state, the Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission Requirements provides more in depth information about specific state guidelines.

Take the Bar in a State with no Requirements for International Lawyers

The only State that recognizes all foreign law degrees with any regularity is Vermont, making it by far the easiest to start practicing law in than any other state but even they provide apprentice programs to allow foreign lawyers to adequately prepare for the bar exam.

While this can be a complicated process for international lawyers to become US lawyers, it it can be a worthwhile experience when you are able to practice laws in the US. As globalization continues to make the world smaller, lawyers are with legal experience in multiple countries and jurisdictions will increasingly becoming more important.

There are numerous ways for lawyers to be able to practice law in the US. It is much easier to either get a review to be approved to take the bar exam in the states mentioned above or get an LL. M. to qualify for the bar exam in those specific states.

5 Must-Know Music Law Terms to give your Music Career a Big Advantage

The music industry is constantly looking for new and talented artists, and despite it being a saturated market, stars are discovered everyday. But, it is important to be aware of music law terms such as music labels, copyrights, and music royalties to make a smoother transition into the convoluted world of showbiz. Let’s break down five topics that aspiring musicians and songwriters should know before entering the industry.

Record Labels and Publishing Companies

One of the major ways to enter the music industry is to sign with a record label: a company that manufactures, markets, distributes and promotes music recordings and music videos.

There are both smaller independent or “indie” record labels and larger international companies known as major record deals. Currently, there are three large record labels collectively known as the “Big Three”:

Music Law
Music has always been a form of expression that can alter and uplift a person’s mood
  1. Universal Music Group (UMG): Includes Interscope Records, Capital Music Group, Republic Records, and Def Jam Recordings and holds 54.4% or US/CA market share;
  2. Sony Music: Includes Columbia Records, Epic Records, and RCA Records and holds 23.4% of US/CA market share; and
  3. Warner Music Group: Includes Elektra Records, Warner Records, Atlantic Records, Parlophone Records, and Reprise Records, and holds 12.1% of US/CA market share.

Record labels companies are primarily responsible for a specific recording of a song or performance (see music masters below). In contrast, publishing companies typically control written music and compositions on behalf of songwriters and are given copyright ownership license. In exchange for signing with a record label, music artists are given royalties.

Four Types of Music Royalties

The main source of income for most artists are royalties, a legally binding payment generated by the licensing of recordings or sounds. Royalties are a music law category that are very important for artists to understand. Royalties include:

  • Mechanical Royalties: The songwriter collects payment every time their song is reproduced via physical or digital streaming or download;
  • Synchronization Royalties: The copyright owner (usually the songwriter and their publisher) is paid every time their song is played on television, film and advertisements by license holders;
  • Performance Royalties: These royalties are collected whenever the songs are played publicly, such as on radio/TV stations, live venues, and restaurants; and
  • Print Rights and Royalties: Songwriters and publishers receive royalties based on sales of printed sheet music.

Print sheet music is an example of a copyright in the music business.

Music Law

Copyrights are an Integral part of Music Law

Copyright are original works of authorship, meaning that once an artist records the music, it is automatically copyrighted. Copyrights are imperative to delegating the ownership of any type of piece of music, and thus also determines to whom royalties are given to. Music, uniquely, has two types: i) composition (think melody and lyrics), and ii) sound recordings (typically in the form of master recordings as seen below). Composers, lyricists, and songwriters author the composition while performers, producers, and sound engineers are responsible for the sound recordings. 

Copyright owners are given the rights to reproduce the copyrighted work, create derivatives or variations of the song, distribute the work to the public, perform the song publicly, and display it publicly. Additionally, by having a public record of their work, artists are able to ensure the prevention of copyright infringement and plagiarism. 

Copyrights also include Music Masters.

Music Masters are the Center Piece of Music Law

Masters, or master recordings, are the original recordings of a song or performance. Having ownership of masters as an artist allows for not only creative control of their music but also the ability to maximize profit opportunities. The owner can license the recording to third parties, such as commercials, TV shows, films and sampling in other songs. 

Music Law

Although owning masters is often viewed as ideal, some artists choose to forfeit or share the legal rights to the recording, generally due to the need for financial support. However, there usually are provisions in place that do not allow the label to implement certain creative decisions without the artist’s approval depending on the deal. 

In many cases, new artists have signed away their master recordings without fully realizing the exact consequences. For example, Taylor Swift notably underwent a series of disputes with her previous manager Scooter Braun regarding his acquisition of her recordings. Therefore, the decision of how to handle the rights of masters should be taken into careful consideration with consultation of lawyers, specifically entertainment attorneys, and one’s management team. Performing Rights Organizations also play a complementary role with music masters.

Performing Rights Organizations

Performing Rights Organizations (PRO) serve as intermediaries between the copyright holders, such as songwriters and publishers, and parties interested in using those copyrighted materials publicly. They play a huge role in music law. Essentially, PROs provide a significant portion of musicians’ incomes by collecting royalties on their behalf anytime their songs are broadcasted via radio stations, streaming, TV shows, commercials, or played at live venues. 

PROs are actually a subdivision of Collective Management Organizations (CMOs), a licensing entity that manages and monitors the rights of copyright owners. While CMOs cover both mechanical rights and performing rights, PROs only deal with the latter. If you are seeking assistance in mechanical royalties as well, you can also join a Mechanical Rights Organization (MRO). 

Royalty types aside, PROs, MROs and CMOs otherwise operate similarly: they both issue licenses, monitor and enforce those licenses, and collect and distribute royalties. 

In this video, Geremy Johnson, Esq. explains the most important music law concepts to understand.

Here are a couple of the largest PROs:

  • ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers): Established in 1914 as the first U.S. PRO, ASCAP is the second largest leading organization with over 850,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers. Fee: One-time, non refundable $50 application fee.
  • BMI (Broadcast Music Inc.): Representing over 1.2 million artists and publishers, BMI is currently the largest PRO on the market. Fee: free for songwriters and composers, $250 for publishers. 
  • SESAC (Society of European Stage Authors and Composers): Although substantially smaller than BMI and ASCAP with a membership of 30,000, SESAC functions as both a PRO and, since its 2015 acquisition of Henry Fox Agency, an MRO. SESAC is also unique as a for-profit organization and for its lack of open membership — artists and publishers are required to be invited in order to join. Fee: none.

The music business is an incredible industry and more money is being made than ever before. It is important to understand music law terms and how artists can boost their career.

For more legal education, please visit our blog.

5 Steps to get into a UK Law School: Here’s what you need to know

The United Kingdom has always had a reputation for quality law schools, and if you want to get into a UK law school, this will be informative. In fact, the UK is largely responsible for creating the common law legal system. Some of the largest economies in the world have a legal system based off of common law including the United States, Canada, and Australia. Therefore going to law school in the UK may be a good idea as you will not only receive a quality education, but it will also allow you to transition easier to other top legal markets. Following these five steps will increase your chances of being accepted into a UK law school.

Step One: National Admissions Test for Law School (LNAT)

The first step is take the National Admissions Test for Law School (LNAT) because it is required to attend most of the law school in the UK. It is very important to prepare for this test, if you want to increase your chances of getting into a law school in the UK. You can prepare by taking a preparation course and taking many practice tests.

Get into a UK Law School
High school students from all over the world apply to UK law schools

Step Two: Personal Statement

A personal statement is your opportunity to tell the law school about yourself. You can discuss many things including:

-Why you want to be a lawyer,

-Any adversity you have gone through,

-Types of law you want to practice once you become a lawyer, and more.

The personal statement should be no more than 4,000 characters. This should be enough time to get your point across. Also, let other people you trust read your personal statement and give you feedback.

Step Three: References

References allow the law school to learn about your intellectual capability from someone other than yourself. Law school is very demanding and schools want to be sure that you can handle the curriculum and graduate, and references. References will also speak to your character and this is important as lawyers should be ethical as they deal with their clients.

Students can apply for a LLB (Bachelors Level Degree) and LLM (Master's Level Degree) in the UK
Students can apply for a LLB (Bachelors Level Degree) and LLM (Master’s Level Degree) in the UK

Step Four: Register with Universities and Colleges Admissions Service

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) provides a central place for students to apply to different law schools in the UK. You must register so you can apply the law schools you want to.

Give yourself plenty of time to apply and it is also important to keep track of the applications you want to submit. Each school has tight deadlines to apply, and it is important that you be mindful of this so you can apply to the law school of your choice.

Step Five: Interview

Some law schools may require you to interview with them as part of the application process. Be prepared to answer questions such as:

-Tell me about yourself,

-Why do you want to be a lawyer,

-Why do you want to attend this law school,

-What type of law do you want to practice, and more.

Always dress your best and practice sample interview questions before your interview. You want to ensure you are putting your best effort forward and increasing your chances of getting into your dream law school.

While the UK has great law schools, there are many great law schools in other countries, including the US. However, you can not go wrong in the UK and understanding these steps, will allow you to increase your chances of attending the law school of your choice.

Can you Sue a Food Company for an Object Found in your Food: Learn this Important 4 Step Legal strategy?

0

Yes, you can sue if an object is found in your food, especially if it has caused you harm. The laws in the US allow a person who is hurt or harmed to sue under the legal claim of Negligence. This is an important legal concept for the area of food law to understand and we explain it below.

How to use Negligence to Sue for an Object found in your Food?

Negligence requires you to show four things: i) Duty, ii) Breach, iii) Cause, iv) Harm.

Restaurants have a duty to practice safe food habits and not to allow harmful objects in guest’s food. If an harmful object is placed in your food, they have breached the duty of practicing safe food habits. But-for the restaurant placing the harmful object in your food, you would not have been caused harm. Lastly, you actually suffered harm.

Can you Sue a Food Company for an Object Found in your Food?

If all of the facts are true in your cause, you meet the legal elements of Negligence and can sue a restaurant for an object found in your food.

Actual Damages are Important

It is very important to have actual damages in order to properly sue. You typically can not successfully sue just because you want to. How were you harmed? Did you eat the object and get sick? Did it cause you to miss work?

In many cases, it’s probably best to just ask for a refund or get another dish for free. But, if you were actually harmed, you can use legal remedies and sue. It is best to contact a lawyer to help you with this matter.

If the restaurant is particularly dirty, you can call the health inspector or the federal government if it is located in a federal facility. So for the question of “Can you Sue a Food Company for an Object Found in your Food?” The answer is yes, especially if you are physically harmed in a negative way.

Visit our Food Law Section to learn more about how food and the law is intertwined.

5 Energy Law Strategies for the Caribbean to become the first 100% Renewable Region

Many Caribbean countries have some of the highest energy costs in the world. This is despite the fact that these countries are best positioned to become 100% renewable. In this article, we discuss how entrepreneurs can use renewable energy law strategies to make this a reality. With the implementation of a fully renewable electricity grid, citizens could potentially lower their electric costs as well as the countries could minimize their carbon footprint.

Types of Renewable Energy for the Caribbean

Renewable Energy Law
The cost of Solar Energy is rapidly decreasing due to the electric vehicle innovations.

Sunshine, coastal winds, running tides, and rivers are pretty reliable in the Caribbean. This offers these island countries the chance to harness solar, wind, and hydro energy. But that’s not all because renewable energy benefits also include:

  • Economic development and job creation in the areas of manufacturing and installing solar panels, wind turbines, and hydro turbines,
  • Minimizing the dependence on imported fuels,
  • Reducing air pollution, and
  • Creating a renewable energy law governance structure.

Financing Caribbean Renewable Energy Projects

I understand you’re probably wondering where the money to finance these renewable energy projects is going to come from. All good ideas need funding. Well, there are a few places the money can come from in both the private and governmental sectors.

The 5 Most Overlooked Step in Energy Law Funding

In the private sector, as strange as it might sound, having a ton of your own money is not as important as you may think. Hear me out, the most important factor in raising money is having a strong and experienced team. This is often the most difficult task to accomplish, however. Once you have an experienced renewable energy team in law, finance, and construction, then banks will certainly welcome your meetings. 

Hydroelectricity is a source of renewable energy that is rising in popularity.
Hydroelectricity is a source of renewable energy that is rising in popularity.

The team will have the ability to be taken seriously and:

  1. Have a feasibility study for the renewable energy project 100% financed by international agencies such as the U.S. Trade and Development Agency,
  2. Hire a Mandatory Lead Arranger (MLA) to find funding from a syndicate of banks, and 
  3. Have professionals such as lawyers and accountants delay their fees until the project is completed,
  4. Create a Special Purpose Vehicle, and
  5. Have the proper contracts in place

Once the feasibility study is completed, the study will show that the renewable energy project is possible and safe to build. Then the MLA can use the feasibility study to raise funding from both private banks as well as government entities such as the USAID, World Bank, and more. It is important to have a sound legal strategy and the correct contracts to finance, build, and operate this project.

The Best Renewable Energy Law Strategy you need to create an Energy Project

When a large-scale project is built, a legal entity called the Special Purpose Entity (SPV) will own the energy project. The SPV is responsible for holding the funds to build the project; constructing the solar, wind, or hydro project; and operating the project once it is completed.

All parties sign a contract with the SPV. These contracts include:

  1. Equity Agreements for the shareholders of the project;
  2. Financial Agreements,
  3. Construction Agreements, 
  4. Operating Agreement,
  5. Supplies Agreement,
  6. Concession Agreement, 
  7. Power Purchase Agreement, and potentially many more.

As the world continues to move toward renewable energy, the Caribbean can lead the way. With some of the world’s highest energy costs, transitioning to renewable energy can provide incredible cost savings for the island nations. With strong teamwork, proper financing, and a sound legal strategy, this can be accomplished and bring tremendous and transformative benefits.

For more Caribbean related legal education, please visit our Americas section.

Why the Caribbean Basin Initiative is the key to make Haiti the future Clothing-Making Capital of the World

The Caribbean Basin Initiative is a preferential trade agreement that allows most Caribbean countries to send products duty-free to the US. This allows many products made in the Caribbean including clothing, to potentially enter the US market at a more affordable rate. A country such as Haiti has to opportunity expand its current clothing making industry using this international trade law.

The Future of Fashion will not Stay in Asia because of International Trade Laws

The Fashion and apparel sector is expected to increase from $1.9 Trillion in 2019 to $3 Trillion by 2030, according to Statista. This is good news for developing nations because here’s the thing, corporations are always trying to minimize their costs and create the same product for less.

You might be thinking that Asian countries such as China and Vietnam are the preferred countries for apparel, given their low labor costs. But, the demographics are changing in Asia. In addition, China has a rapidly growing middle class and beginning to pricing itself out of the market. This is where countries such as Haiti will rise because Haiti has many strategic benefits including U.S. regulatory clarity that makes it an attractive destination for clothing-making.

What makes Haiti the Future of Apparel with the Caribbean Basin Initiative?

Hear me out, despite Asia dominating the apparel industry for the past few decades, Haiti is the future. A few reasons include:

  • Haiti’s proximity to the U.S., the world’s largest economy,
  • Relatively low minimum wage, and
  • Regulatory clarity through the Caribbean Basin Initiative making it more affordable to send clothing from Haiti to the U.S.

“The U.S. apparel market generates over $300 Billion USD and is expected to grow about 7% per year through 2025, according to Statista.”

Jeans and other apparel can be shipped duty-free to the U.S. under the Caribbean Basin Initiative, using the U.S. cotton and yarn.
Jeans and other apparel can be shipped duty-free to the U.S. under the Caribbean Basin Initiative, using the U.S. cotton and yarn.

With Haiti being so close to the U.S., items will take less time to reach U.S. borders, and transportation costs will be cheaper. Combine the transportation cost savings with a low minimum wage, clothing from Haitian factories can enter the U.S. market and be extremely price competitive. 

But that is not all because the Caribbean Basin Initiative allows clothing made in Haiti to enter the U.S. market duty-free and without a quota. Not having to pay an import duty to the U.S. further makes products cheaper coming from Haiti.

Hanesbrands Inc., the owner of Hanes and the Champion brands, currently uses Haitian factories to produce clothing. In addition, Kanye West, owner of Yeezy Brand, a footwear and apparel company, recently traveled to Haiti. He met with the Haitian President and aims to build a “City of the Future”, and apparel will likely be one of his methods for job creation.

Conclusion

The groundwork has been laid for Haiti to be the clothing manufacturing capital of the world. Once the Haitian factories become the preferred choice for the U.S. market, other markets such as Europe are certainly next. With job creation, standards of living have historically risen. In addition, the more demand there is for a country’s products, infrastructure will typically improve. With employment and quality infrastructure, rule-of-law can prevail and bring peace to the country of Haiti.

While Haiti may be the poorest country in the Americas, a legal framework based on international trade exists for the country.

What is Dirty Sprite and Why the Legal Ingredients are Dangerous?

Dirty sprite is a drink recipe made from combining a clear soda (e.g., Sprite or Mountain Dew), jolly ranchers, and prescription cough medicine that contains codeine and promethazine. It originated in Houston, Texas, USA, and is also called lean, syrup, purple drank, or Memphis mud.

How Easy is it to get these ingredients?

Unfortunately in the US, it is fairly easy to get the ingredients to make Dirty Sprite because they all are legal. Sprite and jolly ranchers can be bought at nearly any convenience store. While cough medicine containing codeine and promethazine requires a doctor’s prescription, a visit to your local doctor claiming chronic cough will likely land you a prescription.

What is Dirty Sprite?

However, it is important to know that turning this into a drink is very dangerous to your health.

Dangers of Dirty Sprite?

While drugs such as Cannabis becoming legalized, it can not be stated enough that making this drink is incredibly dangerous to your health. While individuals claim its euphoric effects, this drink can kill you. In fact, it has a history of killing individuals of all ages, including celebrities.

Respiratory Failure, Constipation, Headaches, Dizziness are often common complications with drinking Dirty Sprite. This is a highly addictive drink and it is best to stay away.

What to do if you are Addicted to Dirty Sprite?

If you or anyone you know needs help, please contact the SAMHSA National Helpline for free confidential help, to find substance use treatment and information at 1-800-662-4357.

So what is Dirty Sprite? It is a drink made of legal ingredients that when combined is highly addictive and potentially deadly.

Why did McDonald’s Lose the Coffee Lawsuit? When Corporate Greed is too much.

0

McDonald’s lost the coffee lawsuit because it served coffee to a 79-year-old that was so hot that it caused third-degree burns to 16% of her body in three seconds. While many in the news made elderly Stella Liebeck’s lawsuit an example of what is wrong with the U.S. legal system, she had a legitimate legal claim.

How Hot was McDonald’s Coffee?

While most home coffee makers normally serve coffee around 140℉ (60℃), McDonald’s coffee was approximately 190℉ (87℃), and experts during the trial testified that McDonald’s coffee was 30 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than coffee served by other companies. 

Why did McDonald's Lose the Coffee Lawsuit

Liebeck’s burns were so severe that: 

  • 16% of her body was burned away, 
  • She required skin graft surgeries, 
  • She was hospitalized for eight days, and
  • Her recovery lasted two years

Liebeck, through her attorney, had no choice but to sue McDonald’s for the coffee. During the lawsuit, Liebeck tried to settle the case for $20,000 which was enough to cover her medical bills. However, McDonald’s only wanted to give her $800. 

Evidence came out that 700 other people were burned by McDonald’s coffee, yet the company never changed its policy

The jury awarded Stella Liebeck $2.7 million, though the amount was later reduced on appeal.

What Occurred after the Lawsuit?

After the lawsuit, McDonald’s improved its coffee cup’s packaging to better hold hot coffee and it added a stronger warning label. In addition, the lawsuit is very controversial and has strong supporters for and against the lawsuit. 

So, why did McDonald’s lose the coffee lawsuit? Imagine how this entire lawsuit could have been avoided had McDonald’s simply paid Stella Liebeck the $20,000.

Visit our Food Law Section to learn more about how food and the law are intertwined.

Is Pre Law a Bachelor’s Degree? This interesting Answer might Surprise you.

Every year incoming freshmen will pick a major and is it not uncommon for a student to ask “Is Pre Law a Bachelor’s Degree?” Most U.S. universities do not have a pre law bachelor’s degree, but they do have many bachelor’s degrees with pre law concentration such as:

  • Political Science,
  • Philosophy,
  • History,
  • Economics, and 
  • Criminal Justice.

It is better to choose a bachelor’s degree with a pre law concentration, instead of majoring in a pre law bachelor’s degree. This is because you will likely increase your job prospects, if you decide to work a few years before attending law school or to not attend law school at all. It is common for many people to work a year or so before attending law school.

Is Pre Law a Bachelor’s Degree?

What Bachelor’s Degree Should You Choose?

There is not a best bachelor’s degree to obtain in order to attend a US law school. You can basically graduate with any bachelor’s degree and still attend your dream law school. You want to pick a major that you are interested in and where you will make good grades. It is important to look good on paper, and having a great GPA will make your law school application stronger. There are other tactics to use to make your law school application strong as well.

Strategies for Getting into Law School

You can also join your university’s Pre Law Club. There you will meet with a group of like minded individuals and often have direct access to admissions officers from the various top law schools. It is very important to have a good LSAT score and GPA to get into a US law school. In addition, obtaining recommendations from your professors that teach in the concentration courses will be very beneficial to strengthen your law school application.

A pre law bachelor’s degree can be a viable option if your school offers one, but it is probably wise to choose a bachelor’s degree with a pre law concentration.