A customs attorney works in a fairly specialized part of the legal field. Most folks have never needed one, but nearly everybody buys things that have gone through customers. If you suddenly find yourself in need of a customs attorney, you're probably also wondering exactly what they can help you deal with. Here are three issues they can usually address.
Forms and Paperwork
When all goes well in the world of customs, the paperwork is all you have to handle. It's still important, especially because it's a critical part of compliance efforts. Oftentimes, you'll need to present papers showing the origins of items, where they've been, and their expected dispositions after they clear customs. Every bit of those processes is paperwork, and a customs lawyer can make sure you're filling out the right forms and in the right ways.
It's also a good idea to know the broad rules for particular industries. There are many regulations, ranging from chemical companies complying with safety rules, to materials providers dealing with tariffs.
Perhaps the paperwork wasn't sufficient, and you have a customs seizure issue to deal with. Depending on the circumstances, you might be dealing with seized goods or money.
You will almost certainly have to file some administrative requests, and you may have to petition a court to have the seized items released. It's important to follow the steps of the process; otherwise, the court may question whether you've brought your case too soon. Likewise, if the seized items aren't released and you do have to file, you'll need to send your petition to the right court.
Presuming nothing is resolved by this point, the court will likely ask some questions in writing. These typically address the alleged reasons for the seizure, and it's best to have a customs attorney provide the answers in writing. In extreme cases, you may have to go to court to ask a judge to lift the seizure.
While it's easy to fixate on the role the government plays in customs law, it's worth remembering that the government is tangential to most trade activities. The folks who often create the most headaches are shippers and port operators. If goods are damaged along the way, you might have to go to court to recover damages. Even if it doesn't come to that, there's a good chance you'll need to file a claim. Similarly, the defendant may have to involve their insurance provider unless they elect to compensate you directly.
Businesses exist in many sectors. Some businesses are built around offering services, such as landscaping or hair care. Other businesses sell goods, such as wooden shelving or shoes. All of these businesses have one thing in common: they nee a good attorney on staff to take care of legal issues. See, business attorneys do not just work when a business owner gets called into court. They also ensure contracts are accurate, help review questions about taxes, and review internal procedures to ensure companies are abiding by the law with their employees. This blog will teach you even more about business attorneys, so dig in.