The recent Budget announcement by the Bermuda government included one significant policy proposal which has the power to provide a welcome stimulus to the Bermuda economy over the course of the coming years. The Premier, also Minister of Finance, David Burt, indicated that a relaxation of the business ownership ‘60:40 rule’ was to be implemented to boost investment by non-Bermudians.
For those not familiar with this rule, Bermuda companies fall into two principal categories:
(i) local companies, which are usually incorporated by Bermudians to trade primarily in Bermuda; and
(ii) exempted companies, which are usually incorporated by non-Bermudians for the purpose of conducting business outside of Bermuda.
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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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A new Progressive Labour Party Government signalled its intention to build “a better and fairer Bermuda” by “ensuring social mobility and removing social inequality” through economic growth when its legislative agenda for the forthcoming parliamentary year was unveiled in the Speech from the Throne delivered on the opening of Parliament on Friday the 8th of September following the party’s landslide election in July.
Describing Bermuda as the most expensive country to live in 2016, the new Government announced its priorities would be: reducing the cost of living; creating more jobs for Bermudians; and growing the Bermuda economy.
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Church Bay Trust Co. Ltd. v Her Majesty’s Attorney General for Bermuda  SC (Bda) 34 Civ (1 May 2017)
In this case, the Plaintiff Trustee sought rectification of a Settlement on the grounds of mistake as the terms of the Trust Deed conferred a power upon the Trustee to add and exclude beneficiaries only during the lifetime of the Settlor. The Court held that the quality of the evidence supporting the mistake was very high because it was derived from prior to the execution of the Deed and was based on communications between the Trustee and Settlor. It was clear that the Settlor did not intend the Trust property to go to charity (the ultimate beneficiary) when there were alternative persons identified by him to be added as beneficiaries. Therefore, in an effort to give effect to the true intentions of the Settlor, the application was granted to rectify the Trust Deed in the terms prayed.
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“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 »