For many people when it was announced that Cape Verde would be the next emerging market for off plan overseas property investors they had to get out their atlas and have a look at where it was. The vast majority of people having never even heard of Cape Verde let alone visited there or considered buying a property there
As a result, the property market in Cape Verde essentially went from a minimal interest from property investors to “the next big thing” virtually overnight, which brought with it significant challenges.
Getting things done in Cape Verde can be difficult. It is physically remote and has a laid back lifestyle, which is great for relaxing but from a legal point of view dealing with all of the individual islands can cause certain difficulties.
Cape Verde is an archipelagos made up of 10 separate islands to the west of Africa in the Atlantic Ocean. All the islands are remarkably different from each other. Cape Verde (or Cabo Verde) means “Green Cape”.
Cape Verde is a democracy and has a population of only around half a million inhabitants. There are few natural resources and the economy is based on the service industry.
The Cape Verdean Legal System
The legal system in Cape Verde is very similar to that in Portugal, which is no surprise as Cape Verde is a former Portuguese colony. The official language of Cape Verde is Portuguese. The civil and criminal codes that were in place in Portugal before Cape Verde gained independence still have an effect in Cape Verde.
Cape Verde is not part of the EU and therefore does not have some of the standardised laws that you would expect within the EU.
Transactions such as the purchase and sale of property, inheritance and the like are carried out through the Notarial system. This means that Deeds are signed in front of a Notary Public. You still need a lawyer with such transactions because the Notary will only get involved at the end and their role is limited to;
- Witnessing the signatures of the people involved
- Making sure that you understand what you are signing
- Making sure that you are who you claim to be
- Make sure that you are aren’t being forced into signing anything
On a purchase of property, for example, the Notary will get involved right at the end of the transaction and will not give you any advice on the transaction, carry out searches before the contract is signed, advise you on the contract or deal with any of the issues before the title deed is signed.
How we can help you with Cape Verdean law
We have extensive experience with Cape Verde and Cape Verdean law going back to when the market took off for British people. As such we have seen the property market in Cape Verde go through the whole cycle, from people investing in a new market, to the market maturing via a whole range of issues in between. As such if you have legal requirements in Cape Verde we have probably already seen them and resolved them for other clients.
By instructing us to help you with your legal requirements in Cape Verde you will have the advantage of dealing with a UK Law firm who can speak English to you and who understands the requirements and worries that British clients have whilst taking advantage of having our colleagues on the ground in Cape Verde.
How can we assist you in Cape Verde?
We can assist clients with the main areas of law when dealing with Cape Verde. This includes, but is not limited too;
- The purchase of property. In the past, most purchases in Cape Verde were “off plan” but now we are seeing those early investors selling their properties and therefore there is an increase in resale properties.
- Selling a property. We aren’t estate agents but can assist you with the legal side of selling your property in Cape Verde.
- The recovery of a failed investment. Unfortunately there were a number of developments and Resorts in Cape Verde that either had financial difficulties and did not complete or have been massively delayed. When buying a property off-plan it is usual to pay a deposit and then stage payments throughout the course of construction. Over the years we have helped people recover their investments from purchases and projects that did not proceed or have been significantly delayed.
- The recovery of other types of debts from people who are based in Cape Verde.
- Inheriting property in Cape Verde. As time passes more people are inheriting property from people how purchased in the early days of the market taking off.
- Cape Verdean Wills. We can help you make a Will that will make sure that the right people inherit your assets in Cape Verde and that this is done in the most effective way.
Lawyers in Cape Verde
- The term for a lawyer in Cape Verde is “Advogados”, which unsurprisingly the same as it is in Portugal.
- Lawyers in Cape Verde must be a member of the Cape Verdean Bar Association (Ordem dos Advogados de Cabo Verde) who regulate lawyers on the islands.
- Some lawyers in Cape Verde may speak English but often the level of English is not broad enough to explain often complicated legal issues in terms that are understandable by a British client.
- Cape Verdean lawyers are still not used to dealing with British clients on a daily basis, this means that they may not explain fully how things work. Clients can, as a result, become frustrated at the lack of updates as their cases progress through the various stages of the courts in Cape Verde.