The Treaties, International Agreements and Legal Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The Treaties, International Agreements and Legal Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is charged with the responsibility of providing the various Divisions in the Ministry, as well as other governmental agencies and ministries, with legal advice on a variety of international law issues. The work of the Division involves analysing, preparing reports and providing opinions and advice on the signature, ratification or accession by Trinidad and Tobago of bilateral, regional and multilateral legal instruments to which Trinidad and Tobago considers becoming a party.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has primary responsibility for Law of the Sea matters on behalf of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. In this regard, the Treaties, International Agreements and Legal Division negotiates maritime delimitation agreements as well as bilateral fisheries access agreements with neighbouring coastal States. Apart from lead responsibility on Law of the Sea matters, the Division also negotiates international agreements in various areas on behalf of Trinidad and Tobago in furtherance of the national interest.
Some of the additional functions and duties of the Division include:
- Preparing opinions on municipal legal matters pertaining to the Ministry and its Overseas Missions;
- Depositary for all bilateral agreements entered into by Trinidad and Tobago;
- Registering treaties concluded by Trinidad and Tobago with the Secretary General of the United Nations;
- Preparing international legal instruments for execution by the Head of State, Head of Government or Minister of Foreign Affairs (treaties, agreements, full powers, credentials and instruments of ratification and accession);
- Collaborating with the Ministry of the Attorney General (Office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel) to prepare legislation for presentation in Parliament intended to give domestic legal effect to Trinidad and Tobago’s international obligations;
- Assisting in the preparation human rights reports
- Chairing and providing secretariat services to several inter-ministerial committees.