Member firm for Trinidad and Tobago

Firm Overview

Established in 1909, Hamel-Smith is recognized as a leader in the business community and the legal profession in Trinidad and Tobago. We are committed to understanding our client’s commercial objectives and 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. On the transactional side, we have significant experience representing clients from a range of industry sectors including upstream oil and gas, petrochemicals, banking, securities, aviation, manufacturing and distribution 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, securities structuring and compliance. On the disputes side, the firm has significant expertise in, and understanding of, complex commercial matters, particularly in finance, corporate and shareholder disputes, and employment. The firm 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 to avoid protracted costly litigation.

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 its relationship with the Central Bank and the SEC is invaluable.

Commercial and Business Transactions We provide advice on the structuring and incorporation of businesses, 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 service for the registration and maintenance of trademarks and patents in other
Caribbean jurisdictions.

Mergers and Acquisitions Hamel-Smith has significant experience in handling mergers and acquisitions. We add value by strategic structuring to achieve stamp duty efficiencies and compliance with restrictions against assignment of key contracts.

Project Financing We have significant 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 drafting 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 has two Partners, one of whom is 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.