Author Archives: Jennifer Haworth

The employment tribunal system was established to provide an employee the regime in which to make a formal complaint that their employer has violated the Employment Act 2000 (the “Act”). The process was designed to encourage the parties to settle their differences wherever possible. If the parties cannot reach an agreement and there are reasonable grounds to suggest the employer may have violated the Act, the parties proceed to the Employment Tribunal for a hearing which lacks the sometimes daunting formalities of the courts. The trouble with the process in Bermuda is that over the course of the last several years, the Act has been interpreted in such a way as to limit the role of the Employment Inspectors, pushing many, if not all complaints, through to the Employment Tribunal. This erodes important principles of justice and the pendulum has swung so far toward due process for the employee that parties are no longer on equal footing.

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In The Allied Trust and Allied Development Partners Ltd v Attorney General and Minister for Home Affairs [2015] SC Civ (Bda) 61, dated 24 August 2015, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Bermuda ruled in favour of our client, the Minister of Home Affairs, and struck out a constitutional claim made by the Allied Trust and Allied Development Partners Limited (the “Applicants”) in relation to the voiding of the Waterfront agreements. Following a Notice of Motion for Leave to Appeal filed in September 2015, the Applicants were granted leave to appeal by the Chief Justice on 20 November 2015.

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As of 29 February 2016, same-sex partners of Bermudians will have the same right to reside and work in Bermuda as spouses of Bermudians. This is following the landmark decision of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Ian Kawaley, in Bermuda Bred Company v The Minister of Home Affairs and The Attorney-General handed down on 27 November 2015. The Chief Justice held certain provisions of the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act 1956 (the “Immigration Act”) to be inoperative to the extdent that they discriminate against same-sex partners of Bermudians in stable relationships on the right to reside and employment rights when compared with spouses of Bermudians under those provisions.

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A recent decision of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Bermuda given on 23 November 2015, illustrates the importance of adherence to Human Rights’ provisions in the employment context. In what has been referred to as a landmark decision, the Chief Justice upheld a decision of a Board of Inquiry that Mr. Harkin (the “Appellant”) “was discriminated against on the grounds of his place of origin in that the promotion procedure was applied to him a prejudicial manner by virtue of his being a contract worker”.

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In early July of this year, I wrote a blog post detailing two proposed Criminal Law Reform bills: the Disclosure and Criminal Reform Act 2015 (the “Disclosure Act”) and the Criminal Jurisdiction and Procedure Act 2015 (the “Procedure Act”). At that point, the Bills had been passed by the House of Assembly on 5 June 2015 and remained to be debated in the Senate.

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