Hamel-Smith
Member firm for Trinidad and Tobago

Firm Overview

Established in 1909, Hamel-Smith is recognized as a pioneer in Trinidad and Tobago’s business community and legal profession. The firm has been ranked in Band One by Chambers Global for 15 years and currently has nine ranked lawyers. Our client’s commercial objectives are paramount to us and we focus on fashioning practical, business-oriented legal solutions to achieve them. Sensitive to client’s needs for cost-certainty, we are prepared to agree fixed fees in advance or provide estimates for agreed phases of work. Our Transactional team has extensive experience representing clients in a variety of commercial transactions including business structuring, incorporation and on-going compliance, acquisitions, tax structuring and disputes, project structuring and financing, intellectual property, employment, capital markets and securities structuring and compliance. These corporate/commercial transactional clients operate in varied industry sectors including upstream oil and gas, petrochemicals, banking, securities, aviation, manufacturing and distribution, among others. The firm also has significant dispute resolution expertise in, and understanding of, complex commercial matters, particularly in finance, corporate and shareholder disputes, and employment. Our Disputes and Risk Management team is known for taking a practical approach to matters as opposed to one that is overly “legalistic” and boasts strategic thinkers who work closely with clients to develop and implement strategies to avoid, manage and resolve disputes cost-effectively, including using negotiation and ADR where appropriate to avoid protracted and costly litigation. Our annual Doing Business in Trinidad and Tobago Guide, which is available on our website, has been hailed as the go-to resource for both local and foreign investors who carry on business in Trinidad and Tobago or with clients in country.

Areas of Practice

Aviation We advise on the regulatory framework for the owning registration and operation of aircraft in Trinidad and Tobago and assist lessors and secured parties in perfecting their security interests in aircraft operated in the country.

Banking and Finance We negotiate, structure and document all types of financing transactions, and have extensive experience in large project financings from both the lender and borrower perspective.

Capital Markets and Securities We advise local and foreign arrangers in relation to capital market transactions throughout the Caribbean. We also advise on the registration of securities, mutual funds, IPOs and other collective investment schemes in the local market. Our keen understanding of the banking and securities laws and regulations and strong working relationship with the Central Bank and the SEC is invaluable.

Commercial and Business Transactions We provide advice on the structuring and incorporation of businesses, and their on-going compliance with company law. We also advise them on key commercial and employment contracts and partner with them through the life of their businesses. We seek to help clients achieve their business objectives through practical advice and effective solutions

Dispute and Risk Management This practice group, which includes a senior counsel, is the most experienced and balanced team of litigation professionals in any local firm. We collaborate with clients to implement strategies to avoid, manage and resolve disputes cost-effectively while mitigating risks. Where appropriate, we use negotiation and ADR, and when it is necessary to litigate, we do so to win.

Employment and Industrial Relations We help employers strategically manage employee relationships and assist them in obtaining work permits for non-nationals. We provide advice and representation in unfair dismissal, redundancy, health and safety, and trade disputes.

Energy, Oil and GasThis practice group is headed by a partner with more than 30 years’ industry experience. We provide solutions on core energy issues, including petroleum, environmental, tax laws and commercial matters. The firm’s command of the legal and regulatory framework governing upstream and downstream operations as well as long standing relationships with key players in the industry and with key governmental agencies such as the Ministry of Energy and the National Gas Company are key advantages.

Intellectual Property We help clients protect and maximize the value of their IP assets, by obtaining and maintaining registrations, advising on licenses and assignments, and managing disputes. We also offer a coordinated one-stop service for the registration and maintenance of trademarks and patents in other Caribbean jurisdictions.

Mergers and Acquisitions Hamel-Smith has advised on numerous cross-border and local mergers and acquisitions, including public takeovers. We add value by strategic structuring to achieve stamp duty efficiencies and compliance with restrictions against assignment of key contracts while advising on regulatory compliance.

Project Financing We have extensive experience and expertise in complex project financing in the country’s vital petrochemical sector, having participated in each such transaction concluded in Trinidad over the past 40 years. The firm is distinguished for its ability to assemble a multi-disciplinary team of in-house legal experts to advise on business and tax structuring, land acquisition, construction, licensing and permission, environmental compliance, gas, electricity and water supply, off-take contracts, finance structuring, security creation and perfection and risk management.

Property and Real Estate We negotiate, structure and document the funding, acquisition, development, leasing and disposal of commercial and residential property, and provide advice in connection with all aspects of land use regulation and development approval.

Tax This practice group was founded and developed by the country’s leading tax specialist. We advise on all aspects of direct and indirect taxation including income tax, VAT and duties. We negotiate with the Board of Inland Revenue and handle tax litigation at all levels of the judicial system

Languages English and Spanish.