Country Profile: Barbados

This Country Profile provides a basic overview of the legal history and institutional structures of Barbados, based on research produced by the Library of Congress. Under Barbados' Constitution, Islamic law (sharīʿa or fiqh) has no legal status. 

Country Background

Barbados is an island nation located between the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean, northeast of Venezuela. The capital of Barbados is Bridgetown. The official language is English, though Bajan (an English based Creole language) is widely spoken in informal settings. The country's population in 2017 was approximately 292,336 people. Barbados is a predominantly Christian country, with about 76% of the population Christian.

Constitution & Legal Structure

After declaring independence from the United Kingdom in 1966, Barbados became a parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy (a Commonwealth realm), in which sovereignty belongs to the people and the Constitution is the supreme law of the land. The current Constitution of Barbados was also adopted in 1966. The system of government is based on principles of separation and checks and balances and has three branches: legislative, executive, and judicial. The legal system of Barbados is a common law system based on the English model.

Constitutional Status of Islamic Law

Islamic law has no constitutional status in Barbados. 

Jurisdiction(s) of Islamic Law

Islamic law has no official jurisdiction of operation in Barbados. 

Dominant School of Islamic Law

Barbados has no official school of Islamic law.  

Sources of Law for Legal Research

Official Publications

Unofficial Databases

  • FAOLEX: Barbados (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) database of national laws and regulations on food, agriculture, and renewable natural resources.
  • NATLEX: Barbados (International Labour Organization) database of national laws on labor, social security, and related human rights.
  • RefWorld Legal Information: Barbados (UNHCR)
  • WIPO Lex: Barbados (World Intellectual Property Organization)
  • Kazakhstani Constitutional Court Cases in English (Law Library of Congress)


For an extended list of legal resources for this country, see the Library of Congress’s Research Guide. The Constitution is available in the LOC Guide in its original language and at Constitute in English. For full versions of past constitutions, amendments, and related legislation, see HeinOnline World Constitutions Illustrated or Oxford Constitutions of the World [subscription required for each].