In December 2016, the legislature in Bermuda passed the Bribery Act 2016 (the “Act”) which will come into force on 1 September 2017. The Act is based on the UK Bribery Act 2010.
Currently, there are 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 Friday, there will be one comprehensive statute which sets out what constitutes bribery in Bermuda.
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.”
We have previously written a post about the Supreme Court’s decision in Bermuda Press (Holdings) v Registrar of the Supreme Court in which the Chief Justice considered the public’s right of access to court documents in a constitutional matter deemed to be in the public interest. The Court then issued Practice Direction (“PD”) No. 23 of 2015 (discussed here) late last year which widened the scope indicating that members of the public were then entitled in civil cases to apply for copies of (1) the originating process and (2) judgments and orders in civil and commercial matters.
In October 2016, the Department of Statistics released its “Facts & Figures 2016” which sets out in summary form some of the key indicators of Bermuda’s economic and trends.
There are some important points to note from that report. For example, the number of local companies is steadily increasing year on year from 3,125 in 2013 to 3,307 in 2015. In addition, international companies in Bermuda are also growing in number with exempted, exempted partnership and non-resident companies on the rise from 2013 through 2015.