At Madrid on 23 September 1817, Great Britain and Spain signed a bilateral treaty to abolish the trans-Atlantic slave trade. It consisted of four main sections:
In addition to this treaty, the British Colonial Office issued printed booklets of additional regulations, which were distributed to the numerous Courts of Mixed Commission around the world.
On 12 November 1819, the Havana Slave Trade Commission officially opened and one of the immediate concerns involved the conditions related to the well-being of people emancipated into a slave society. While there was precedents set in other courts of Mixed Commission, particularly in Sierra Leone, the British consuls at the Havana court drafted their own set of legislation in 1824. These regulations directly tied into the case of the Relâmpago or the court's first successful conviction. These conditions stipulated in 18 articles:
In 1833, Great Britain passes the Abolition of Slavery Act, to take effect in August 1834, which emancipated all slaves in the British West Indies. By June 28 1835, the 1817 Anglo-Spanish Treaty is renewed and enforcement tightened in a series of amendments to the original treaty. The 1835 Ammendments were signed on June 28 1835 by Minsiter of the State, M. Martinez de la Rosa, and Foreign Secretary, Viscount Palmerston.
The first draft of the amended treaty consisted of 15 Articles. The major amendments proposed included punishment for the captains, masters and crew of condemned vessels, but this condition was widely disputed. In total, there were 15 new articles, whereby the British sought to punish the captains and crew of condemned vessels (which was widely disputed), as well as vessels carrying specified “articles of equipment,” such as extra mess gear, water barrels, lumber and foodstuffs, could be declared slavers.
The practice of making registers of Liberated Africans at the Havana Slave Trade Commission stopped in 1841. This was largely because the cost and the time it took make the registers was very demanding. In addition, the resettlement of people from Cuba to British Caribbean colonies made the registers somewhat useless as the Spanish documents remained in Havana as people moved around the Caribbean.
The initial argument began in 1837 with the case of the Antoñica, which never landed at Havana and the register was made at Nassau. In this case, the register traveled back and forth between Cuba and the Bahamas to ensure accuarcy and make corrections. This proved to be very costly. Likewise in 1839, the Caridad Cubana landed directly at Jamaica because the enslaved Africans were suffering from small pox. This register was made in Jamaica, which also proved costly and inconvenient.
By 1840, the Foreign Office agreed that during the case of the Sierra del Pilar they "are unecessary now when the negroes are to be sent to one of the British Colonies." In 1841, the Havana Slave Trade Commission made its final register for the Segunda Rosario, although the court continued to operate until the last slave ship from this era to reach Cuba arrived in 1867.