Topic Archives: Bermuda Case Law & Legislation

In the matter of G Trust [2017] SC (Bda) 98 Civ (15 November 2017)

In the 2015 case of Re BCD Trust (confidentiality Order) [2015] Bda LR 208, the Chief Justice had confirmed that with respect to administration of trust cases, proceedings could be anonymised and dealt with as private applications where there was no obvious public interest in knowing about an internal trust administration matter.

In a recent ruling from November 2017, the Chief Justice has re-confirmed his previous finding with respect to confidentiality orders in the context of trust administration matters.
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Meritus Trust Company Limited v Butterfield Trust (Bermuda) Limited [2017] Bda LR 82

In October 2017, Chief Justice Kawaley ruled that an outgoing trustee is neither entitled to retain any part of the trust assets as security for its equitable indemnity as former trustee nor demand a contractual indemnity.

This case involved an outgoing institutional trustee who upon being removed (as opposed to having retired) as trustee of two trusts, refused to hand over sizeable trust assets or trust documents to the new trustee without first obtaining a contractual indemnity and retention of assets from the two trusts. This was against the backdrop of a potential breach of trust claim of an approximate value of $5 million. The trust deeds did not confer any express retention or contractual indemnity rights on the former trustee.
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In the first decision of its kind, the Bermuda Supreme Court has utilized its powers under Section 39 of the Arbitration Act 1986 (the “Act”) to terminate an arbitration – and in this case a very important one – the arbitration between The Allied Trust and Allied Development Partners Limited (together “Allied”) and The Government of Bermuda. This decision follows Parliament’s voiding of Allied’s lease over the Hamilton Waterfront (the “Waterfront Arbitration”).
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The Land Title Registration Amendment Bill (the “Amendment Bill”) was passed in the Bermuda House of Assembly on Friday, 24 November 2017. The Amendment Bill seeks to introduce new provisions to or amend existing sections of the principal legislation, the Land Title Registration Act 2011 (the “Act”).
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In December 2016, the legislature in Bermuda passed the Bribery Act 2016 (the “Act”) which came into force on 1 September 2017. The Act is based on the UK Bribery Act 2010.

In the past, there were several separate laws dealing with bribery and corruption offences in Bermuda, such as the Criminal Code 1907 (Section 111 Official Corruption and Section 112 Extortion By Public Officers), the Parliament Act 1957 and the Parliamentary Election Act 1978. But as of 1 September, we have one comprehensive statute that sets out bribery offences in Bermuda, including the offence of failure of commercial organisations to prevent bribery, a strict liability offence for which the only defence is for a commercial organisation to demonstrate that it had ‘adequate procedures’ to prevent bribery.

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