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Trinidad and Tobago: IALS Library Guide

An Introduction to Legal Resources for the Jurisdiction of Trinidad and Tobago

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Last updated:

Katherine Read, August 2019

About the author

This guide was created by Katherine Read, Principal Library Assistant at the IALS Library.


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Trinidad and Tobago (a former British Colony) did not become a self governing republic until 1976. Prior to that year, the following dates mark significant stages in its history:

  • 1498: Christopher Columbus discovered and named the islands
  • 1797:  After a brief occupation by the Spanish, the islands were captured by the British
  • 1831-1925: The British ruled Trinidad and Tobago under the Crown Colony system which meant that a Governor ruled the islands for the British Government and was advised by a resident legislative council
  • 1956: By 1956 Trinidad and Tobago had established a form of self-government under colonial rule but did not become a fully self-governing Republic until 1976. However it did have its first independent Constitution in 1962 (Information taken from the  GlobaLex guide).

The IALS Library classmark for printed sources for Trinidad and Tobago is GN9 (and FOL GN9 for oversize volumes). This guide will also refer you to resources for the Caribbean and the West Indies (GN1) which include Trinidad and Tobago.

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The 1962 Constitution, which was drafted by Sir Ellis Clarke, is referred to as the Independence Constitution and the Government regards it as the first written Constitution. It was however preceded by earlier versions between 1945 and 1962 (GlobaLex guide). It was reformed in 1976 and became the Republican Constitution. The latest official revision was published in December 2009. The Ministry of Legal Affairs also provides access to a version from December 2015 at but it is not an official version. Further links to historic Acts which amended the 1976 Constitution are available in the GlobaLex guide.

An additional useful source is Hein - World Constitutions Illustrated. Contemporary and Historical Documents. This provides full text of the documents and related articles. It currently has the 2009 revision with some subsequent amendments from 2013. Offsite access is available to University of London academic users.

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New legislation in Trinidad & Tobago is passed in accordance with the Constitution. Parliament consists of the Lower House (House of Representatives) and the Upper House (Senate). New representatives are elected to the Lower House while Senate members are appointed by the President. A new Bill may be introduced in either House but must pass through both before being approved by the President. (GlobaLex Guide).

IALS holds the following printed collections of legislation for Trinidad and Tobago:


Laws of Trinidad and Tobago (2006 ed. updated to 31.12.2004). A supplementary consolidated index of Acts and Subsidiary legislation  provides reference to  laws and amendments up to December 31st 2015. These are both at GN9.E.1.  IALS also holds older revised editions and consolidated indices published between the 1880's and 1980 in the closed basement (RES GN9.E1 or FOL RES GN9.E.1). Click here for further information.  

Annual volumes

Annual volumes cover the period 1889-1992 and are all held in the closed basement (RES GN9.E.2 or FOL GN9.E.2).

Online Sources

A Digital Legislative Library includes the 2006 consolidation updated to 2015 and current/previous versions of the Constitution. The publications section of the Official Government website provides full text access to current legislation and bills.

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Law Reports

IALS Library holds the following printed collections:

Judgments delivered in the Supreme Court of Trinidad and Tobago 1893-1950 (incomplete. Vols. 8-9 were never published)

Judgments delivered in the Supreme Court of Trinidad and Tobago 1950-1979 (vols. 11-20

Trinidad and Tobago Law Reports (Caribbean Law Publishing 1999-). IALS holds vols. 1-3 1993-1995)

Free Online Sources

Judgments of the Privy Council are available in full  from 1996 onwards on BAILII. Selected cases from earlier years are also included.

Court of Appeal Cases are available in full from 1996 to 2016 on CommonLii

High Court Cases are available from 1997 to 2016 on CommonLii

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IALS holds a collection from the printed Commonwealth Caribbean Law Series. These are located at the more general GN1 classmark for the Caribbean.  A selection of the more recent texts with content for  Trinidad and Tobago  includes

Antoine, R. Commonwealth Caribbean law and legal systems 2nd ed. Routledge 2008

Berry, D. Caribbean integration law  OUP 2014

Haynes, J. Commonwealth Caribbean sports law Routledge 2019

Haynes, J. Caribbean anti-trafficking law and practice Hart 2019

Kodilinye, G and Kodilinye, M. Commonwealth Caribbean contract law Routledge  2014

Kodilinye, G and Kodilinye, V. Commonwealth Caribbean Civil Procedure 4th ed. 2017

Ramlogan, R. Judicial review in the Commonwealth Caribbean  Routledge/Cavendish 2007

Robinson, T., A. Bulkan and A. Saunders  Fundamentals of Caribbean constitutional law  Sweet & Maxwell 2015

Seetahal, D. Commonwealth Caribbean criminal practice and procedure 5th ed.  Routledge 2019

 Ventose, E. Commonwealth Caribbean administrative law  Routledge 2013

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Research guides

C.Deane, K. Osborne and V. Moyer 'Trinidad and Tobago law and legal research'  (GlobaLex 2015 update). This  guide  provides a comprehensive guide to the legal system and  both printed and internet sources of information.

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IALS holds the following printed journals but no longer subscribes to these titles:

Caribbean law bulletin (1998-2002)

Caribbean law review (1991-2009)

West Indian law journal (1977-2013)

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Free Internet Resources

Eagle-i  An Internet Portal for Law, provides quality web sites which have been evaluated according to a set of agreed criteria. It was developed by the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies as a valuable successor to the legal branch of now defunct web portal Intute. The addition of new sites is a continuous process.

Judiciary of Trinidad and Tobago Provides an overview of the Court system in Trinidad and Tobago with information sources for Legal Professionals and Citizens.

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