There have been some important changes in the Supreme Court of Bermuda in the months of June and July of this year. Chief Justice Ian Kawaley stepped down in mid-July and was given much praise for his contributions to jurisprudent in Bermuda at a Special Sitting of the Bermuda Bar on 13 July. Mr Justice Kawaley was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2003 and was a founding member of Bermuda’s Commercial Court. He was appointed Chief Justice in 2012. Just before his departure as Chief Justice, Mr Kawaley, also issued the second edition of his book Offshore Commercial Law in Bermuda published by Wildy Simmonds & Hill.
Kawaley’s successor, now Chief Justice, Narinder Hargun was sworn in on 16 July 2018. Mr Hargun has over 35 years of professional legal experience, appearing as Counsel in the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal and the Privy Council as well as serving as an Assistant Justice of the Supreme Court since 2011.
In addition, at the beginning of July, former Registrar Shade Subair-Williams, was appointed as Puisne Judge in the Supreme Court. Justice Subair-Williams held the position of Registrar for two years during which she often sat as an acting Puisne Judge.
In a post from 2017, we discussed how it was expected that Land Title Registration would go live in 2018. Since then, several important steps have been taken toward bringing the land title registration regime to Bermuda. The Land Title Registration Amendment Act 2018 has been passed both by Parliament and the Senate and is expected to be given Royal Assent very soon. This will then enable the Land Title Registry Office to begin accepting applications for voluntary registration.
In this post, we have taken the opportunity to interview Land Title Registry Officer, Tim Stewart, to ask him all about voluntary registration, what the application procedure is, how long it is expected to take and cost, etc. See below our questions and Tim’s answers.
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In a recent announcement, the Premier of Bermuda, David Burt, who is also Minister of Finance, made it clear that his intention is for a “new class of bank” to come to Bermuda, with legislation on the way to create new services to cater to Bermuda-based FinTech companies. This was due to the island’s fledgling FinTech sector facing “understandable resistance” from banks, as their business model “does not fit the mould of what we have come to know as Bermuda’s traditional model.”
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Hot on the heels of the Companies and Limited Liability Company (Initial Coin Offering) Amendment Act 2018 (the “ICO Act”), which seeks to introduce a statutory framework for initial coin offerings (“ICOs”) and has now passed both the House of Assembly and the Senate, comes the tabling of the Digital Asset Business Act 2018 (the “DAB Act”).
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During April 2018, the Government of Bermuda tabled the Companies and Limited Liability Company (Initial Coin Offering) Amendment Act 2018 (the “ICO Act”), introducing a statutory framework for initial coin offerings (“ICOs”). By implementing this new legislation, the Bermuda Government is hoping to lay the foundation for the jurisdiction to become a leading global blockchain and ICO centre. The ICO Act regulates offerings of ‘digital assets’, which are meant to capture all of the various categories of digital coins and tokens (whether they be utility, securitized, equity or otherwise) being issued as ICOs and via token sales. The purpose of the ICO Act is to only regulate those ICOs and token sales which are public crowd funding or similar type projects. It is not intended to regulate either private sales or those which are engaged in the business of pure virtual currency issuances. Digital asset offerings will be conducted in accordance with the requirements of published regulations as well as ongoing supervision and compliance requirements, including AML/ATF.
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