Bonaire has a civil law system. The main body of civil law is the Civil Code. In the years to come the applicable former Netherlands Antilles legislation on Bonaire will gradually be replaced by Dutch legislation. Currently, there are different types of legislation applicable on Bonaire:
- International acts and treaties;
- Kingdom Acts;
- Dutch law especially written for the BES-islands;
- Former Netherlands Antilles law, which was adjusted to be applicable on Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba in order to limit the impact of the transition as of 10 October 2010. Currently this is larger part of the legislation on Bonaire, however, within the coming years this will be gradually replaced by new legislation; and
- Local legislation (Island Ordinances and Island Decrees).
A Court of First Instance is established in Bonaire and a Court of Appeal is established in Curacao. The Supreme Court for Bonaire is the Supreme Court in The Hague (Hoge Raad), the Netherlands, which is also the Supreme Court for Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten, Saba, St. Eustatius and the Netherlands itself.
As is the case in the Netherlands, the principle of ‘reasonableness and fairness’ (redelijkheid en billijkheid) is an important factor in the civil relations between parties. The Civil Code offers important protections to relatively vulnerable parties in contractual relations, such as employees in labor law, tenants, and consumers when buying goods or acquiring services from professional providers.