Santa Teresa Luxury Properties

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Costa Rican Law

In the United States, the legal system is based on Common Law (except for Louisiana) whereas Civil Law is used in Costa Rica. Common Law derives from England and is based on statutes but also case law and precedent.

This is an important distinction to make with regard to how judges make decisions and how contracts are written. Civil Law is more restricted with less interpretation by the judges. Precedent is not necessarily a factor and may be considered or viewed only for clarification purposes. The Supreme Court or Sala Cuarta, is the exception and will hear cases where the lower courts were restricted to rule only on provisions provided in the Civil Code.

Written contracts in Costa Rica are of a simpler form than their stateside counterparts. Real estate contracts include only what the law does not already state. Under Common Law, contracts are more specific and detail oriented since they must allow for as little interpretation as possible.

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