Legal Q&A

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Conveyance and Real Property

It is advisable that both purchaser and vendor retain the services of separate Attorneys to act on their behalf.

To protect the interest of the purchaser by:

  • Negotiating an agreement which has terms and covenants which the Purchaser can fulfill and to advise him on the implications of those conditions;
  • Checking the Offices of Titles for any existing Mortgages, Caveats, charges or other encumbrances on the property and having them discharged.
  • Arranging for a surveyor’s identification report seeing to the transfer of the title to the purchaser.

Before signing the agreement or agreeing to the price, a building contractor should inspect the building for defects.

  • A description of the property
  • Particulars of vendor and purchaser
  • Sale price
  • Deposit
  • Date for payment of balance
  • Possession
  • Cash or subject to mortgage
  • Penalty for default

The Agreement for Sale usually provides that the Purchaser is entitled to possession on payment of all the purchase money and legal costs.

The vendor and purchaser pays one half of:

  • Stamp Duty 3% of sale price
  • Attorneys’ fees for preparing agreement for sale
  • Registration fee $5.00 per $1000
  • Miscellaneous fees- letters to utility companies

The vendor alone pays:

  • Transfer Tax- 4% of sale price
  • The Real Estate Agent’s Commission, usually 5% of the sale price

Each party pays his own Attorney-at-Law

The lender’s lawyer prepares the mortgage document which is signed by the borrower after which it is stamped and registered on the title at the Titles Office along with the transfer of title and any other relevant documents.

The lender usually requires a signed copy of the Agreement for Sale; a Surveyor’s Identification Report; a Valuation Report; proof of Income/ Credit Report; Property Insurance; title for property to secure loan; life insurance policy; current property tax and water rate receipts; salary deduction letter, among other things.

Stamp Duty; Titles Office registration fee; Attorney’s fee; cost of valuation and surveyor’s reports; lender’s fees.

Estate and Planning / Administration and Settling of Estate

A Will is a written document outlining your choices about who will receive your property you own only in your name and how it will be divided when you die. If you have children under the age of 18, you can also name someone to be their guardian in your Will.

If you die without a Will, you will be said to have died Intestate and your property will be called your probate estate, which will be distributed according the laws of Jamaica.

The Executor is the person who presents your Will for probate and sees to it that the wishes you have stated in your Will are carried out. You will need to name an Executor in your Will. If you do not, the Court will appoint someone (often a relative, but not always) as your Executor.

The executor has three main jobs:

    • Gather together the assets of the estate;
    • Pay all the valid outstanding debts of the estate; and
    • See that the estate is distributed in accordance with the terms of the Will.

It is a good idea to update your will and/or estate plan every few years or after the occurrence of significant life events such as marriage, divorce, the birth of a child, or adoption. Even if you have not experienced any of these events since you last updated, there may have been changes in your financial situation that necessitate a reevaluation of your estate plan.

Personal Injury

Personal injury matters include motor vehicle accidents, injuries at the workplace as a result of the wrongful conduct of an employer or employee.

Your health is priority. Seek the advice of a medical professional who can help you heal and record your injuries.

Yes, it is important to document injuries and property damage. You will need photo is to prove your claims. Take pictures even though your insurance adjuster has probably done the same.

Do not sign any insurance papers until you consult an attorney. Once you sign a release of claims, your case is over. Be wary of an insurance company that wants to settle before you have seen a doctor or while you are receiving treatment. Be careful anything you say to an insurance adjuster can be used against you in valuing a claim.

This report is prepared by an officer at the scene of the accident. It is used to officially document the circumstances of the accident and can be used in settling your claim. Be sure to read the accident report as it can answer many questions.

If you were not at- fault in the accident then, you are entitled to receive money from the at- fault driver’s insurance company for your injuries including medical bills, lost income and expenses, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and resulting disabilities and scars. Compensation will also include costs to repair or replace damaged property.

You will receive compensation for your claims when your case is resolved either through a settlement or after obtaining a judgment in Court. We can work with you to determine when the time is right either to settle your case or go to Court, and we will use our experience to maximize your compensation for your injuries.

Civil Litigation

Civil Litigation covers a broad spectrum of legal proceedings, encompassing all law that is not criminal. Civil law is divided into two primary branches: Tort Law and Contract. Rather than being tried in a criminal court, civil law cases are litigated in civil courts as lawsuits, and the remedy sought is typically financial compensation.

A tort occurs when someone deliberately or through carelessness causes harm or loss to another person or another person’s property.

Contract law is the area of civil law concerned with interpreting agreements between parties and resolving any disputes.

  • Damage to property
  • Unlawful taking of property
  • Negligence
  • Breach contract
  • Fraud

All civil actions are subject to statutes of limitations, which may bar a case from being brought to trial, regardless of how good a case it was.

A high percentage of civil cases are settled. In many instances, it may be in your best interest to resolve your dispute without going to court. An experienced civil litigation lawyer can advise you when settlement is appropriate, what type of settlement is fair and when litigation is your best option.

Alternative Dispute Resolution is the method by which legal conflicts and disputes are resolved privately rather than through litigation. These disputes are usually resolved through either mediation or arbitration. It typically involves a process less formal than traditional court proceedings and includes the appointment of a third party to preside over a hearing between the parties.

Mediation is an informal process in which a mediator helps to negotiate a mutually acceptable resolution between disputing parties. Unlike arbitration or litigation, mediation does not impose a solution. If the parties cannot negotiate an acceptable settlement, they may still arbitrate or litigate their dispute.

Arbitration is the referral of a dispute to one or more independent third person(s) who act(s) as judge and jury. In advance of the arbitration, the parties agree to be bound by the arbitrator’s decision. Cases that are arbitrated are generally resolved faster than conventional lawsuits because arbitration is less formal and court congestion is not a problem. However, depending on the circumstances, arbitration is not always in the client’s best interest.

Criminal Litigation

Be polite and cooperate with the police. Arguing, struggling or fighting will never make the situation better. Rarely, if ever, will a person be able to convince an officer to stop an arrest. Finally, call a lawyer as soon as possible.

A misdemeanor is a crime with maximum penalty of_______

A felony is a crime which carries with it a potential sentence of at least _________ years in prison.

An arraignment is the initial formal proceeding before a court in a criminal matter. Generally the court will announce the charges that have been filed against the defendant. The defendant will enter a plea. The prosecutors can ask that the court enter an order of detention or in some cases, restrictions on the person’s freedoms if they are released.

Yes, the court generally will have established a hearing date for the case and you will be required to appear before the court at that time, unless otherwise directed by the court.