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Investing - Should I get my own lawyer?

Lawyers on Cape Verde Island

A number of agents/developers/builders may suggest you to use the same lawyer as the seller, you don’t have to, you can get your own, either out there or by using one in your home country, preferably one who specializes in Cape Verde law and speaks English or your language. You can use a solicitor instead of a lawyer. If there is more than one practicing lawyer within the lawyers office firm, then there could be pros and cons to that situation.

You may find that a solicitor may be cheaper than a lawyer. NOTE: in Wales & England we go to Solicitors to deal with estates etc. and Lawyers when we /if we go to court!

I understand that the reason why it is different in Cape Verde is due to the fact that some European countries generally use Lawyers, it's the 'norm'. As CV has strong Portuguese historic links, a number of the Lawyers train in Portugal. There are also Portuguese Solicitors, but I am not sure if they are allowed to practice on CV.

There are a number of Lawyers listed within the British Embassy Notes for British Nationals. There are more based on other islands especially Sao Vicente and Santiago where there is a larger population than on Sal. Some lawyers practice on a number of islands so are not always available when you need to speak to them in person.


The following information was provided by an expat in 2005 :

I visited some local developers to view plans for different apartment blocks being built in Santa Maria. My solicitor told me to ask for certain paperwork from one small local developer that would provide me/him with proof that the developer owned the land.

The developer did not understand why I wanted the information or why I wanted to use my own solicitor and not his. No paperwork was made available to me to confirm his ownership of the land.

I was informed that this had been a regular practice where the developer would build on land that he did not own, but that there may be a deal with the owner that they could have one or two apartment units within the new building as part of the deal, leaving the developer to sell the remaining apartments in the block……… I wouldn’t have known this if I hadn’t had my own solicitor.

The apartments he was building looked better than other ones I had seen plans of elsewhere. I was quite impressed and although tempted because the size of the apartment displayed on the plan seemed much bigger and somewhat cheaper than most of the other apts I had seen plans of, I was now concerned and therefor decided not to proceed.


I also met with another developer to view some finished apartments he had for sale. He showed me some of the apts but the drawings he provided me with weren’t the ones for the apartment I was looking at with him. There were no measurements on them for me to compare against the sizes of other apartments that I had viewed previously i.e. some one bedroom apartments can be just over 50sq.m whilst others can be 70sq.m.or so. I asked for a copy of the apartment layout which also showed the dimensions. I was later told by the Agent that the builder was un-willing to provide the agent with these and he told him something about 'he didn’t want people copying his plans’! I have since met with this local developer privately and he is now providing the relevant details.

2011 - There have been some issues for expats who have bought in Spain and more recently there were problems with land sales at the Camara Municipal Office on the island of Sao Vicente in Cape Verde, which was reported in A Semana (a national newspaper in Cape Verde).

You can compare fees of the lawyers in Cape Verde to those in the UK. Further information will be provided about UK solicitors within the website ' A Place in the Sun' and you can also check out the website:  www.lawoverseas.com

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