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Commonwealth Caribbean Law Research Guide: Puerto Rico

This guide provides an overview of the primary and secondary legal sources of the Commonwealth Caribbean available at Florida State University College of Law Research Center.


The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is an island that falls between the Dominican Republic and the Virgin Islands. It is an unincorporated territory of the United States and residents have had U.S. citizenship since 1917, although their delegate in the U.S. Congress is a nonvoting representative. Puerto Rico has had an elected Governor since 1948 and later developed its own territorial constitution. The islands's local government mirrors that of the United States; the bicameral Legislative Assembly is split into a Senate and House of Representatives. The judicial branch is led by the Jefe del Tribunal Supremo de Puerto Rico, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, who presides over the Court of Appeals, Superior Court, District Courts, and Municipal Courts. The legal system is a mix of common and civil law, and attorneys in Puerto Rico must be bilingual to move between the local courts, which speak Spanish, and the federal courts, which use English.



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