“While, in the vast majority of cases, people exercise their right of access to justice through the services of a lawyer, over the last decade, there have been an ever increasing number of litigants in person appearing in the Bermuda Courts,” reads the Preface in the newly released Handbook for Civil Litigants in Person. Although not short, the 47 page Handbook is clear and comprehensive, detailed and accessible, and aims to help individuals appearing on their own behalf to navigate the civil justice system as effectively as they can. Read More «»
On May 5, 2017, Supreme Court Justice Charles-Etta Simmons ruled that the Registrar-General’s decision to reject a marriage application from a same-sex couple was discriminatory on the basis of sexual orientation, declaring that “same-sex couples are entitled to be married under the Marriage Act”.
The case had been brought by Bermudian Winston Godwin and his Canadian fiancé Greg DeRoche, who took their case to the Supreme Court after the Registrar-General refused to publish their marriage banns, arguing that the Human Rights Act (the “HRA”) took primacy in Bermuda and protected their right to marry. “The facts of this case are relatively simple and straightforward,” Justice Simmons wrote in her introduction. “The Applicants are both male. Each states by affidavit that they met in Canada, the home of the second Applicant, and started dating in 2015. They both love Bermuda, the home of the first Applicant. It is their wish to be married in Bermuda irrespective of their gender as recognition of the feelings that they have for one another.”
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The Transcontinental Trusts International Forum 2017 took place earlier this month on 4-5th May 2017 at the Fairmont Southampton. This conference began in Bermuda in 2015 and has grown hugely in popularity as one of the key events on the private client calendar. This year it was attended by leading international experts, lawyers and barristers from the international and local private client market as well as renowned international judges. The whole event received an extremely favorable response from speakers and delegates alike. Topics covered included the impact of Brexit and the US election on the industry, practical consequences flowing from CRS & FATCA, an international litigation update, family governance and tax changes in the US and UK. Furthermore, data protection was highlighted in several of the sessions as an area to look out for.
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In January of this year, Alan Dunch and I appeared before Justice Stephen Hellman in the case of Earlston J. Astwood and Others v Bermuda Electric Light Company Limited and Ascendant Group Limited  SC (Bda) 13 Civ (16 February 2017) in a three-day trial in which we acted for 109 Plaintiffs fighting to protect their health insurance benefit.
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In the Matter of the C Trust  SC [Bda] 53 Civ was the first Bermuda case to extend the perpetuity period under the new Section 4 of the Bermuda Perpetuities and Accumulations Act 2009 (“the 2009 Act”). The amendment to Section 4 took effect in December 2015. Although prior to the amendment, the 2009 Act had already abolished the rule against perpetuities with respect to instruments taking effect on or after 1 August 2009, the rule continued to apply to trusts established under Bermuda law prior to 1 August 2009 as well as to trusts originally established in other jurisdictions (with an applicable perpetuity period or similar limitation) but now governed by Bermuda law.
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