Author Archives: Fozeia Rana-Fahy

Bermuda Trusts Update (2016)

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In an anonymised ruling of December 2014, In the Matter of the Estate of PQR, Deceased [2014] Bda No. 205, Chief Justice Kawaley analysed the legality of a forfeiture clause within a Bermuda will. The point of construction was one that had not been determined as a matter of Bermuda law and turned on the divergence between commonwealth case law (more hostile to the validity of forfeiture clauses) and English case law (less hostile to the notion of seeking to give reasonable effect to forfeiture clauses).

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2014 also saw the introduction of the Trustee (Special Provisions) Amendment Act 2014 (the “Act”) which provides statutory clarity and certainty with respect to the powers settlors can reserve or grant over a trust without calling into question the validity of the trust structure. The powers enshrined in this legislation are expected to attract a wide class of settlors from both North America and Europe and further enhance Bermuda’s reputation as the offshore jurisdiction of choice for trusts. The Act amends the Trusts (Special Provision) Act 1989 by inserting a new section 2A which sets out an express list of certain interests and powers that can be retained by a settlor or granted to a third party, including the following:

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In its 2014 decision, the Court of Appeal considered Chief Justice Kawaley’s first instance 2013 decision to order the production of trust documents to a beneficiary notwithstanding that the trust deed contained an information control mechanism designed to prevent disclosure of financial information unless the Protector (who was also the principal beneficiary) consented.

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The Supreme Court of Bermuda handed down its judgment in the matter of The Minister for Home Affairs v Carne and Correia [2014] SC (Bda) 9 Civ (2 May 2014) (510 KB PDF) on 2 May 2014. The fundamental result of this judgment is that under certain circumstances, holders of Permanent Resident Certificates (“PRC”) who have been resident in Bermuda prior to July 1989 can now apply for Bermudian Status — an application which Chief Justice Kawaley described as “one of the most significant applications that it is possible for an applicant to make” pursuant to the “beauty in the sleeping provisions” of Section 20B of the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act 1956 (“BIPA”). Read More »

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