Author: MJM Limited

The recent Supreme Court decision of The Bermuda Ombudsman v Corporation of Hamilton et al (420 KB PDF) [2013] SC (Bda) 72 Civ. which was handed down on 7 October 2013, sheds light on the authority that is vested in the office of the Ombudsman (the “Ombudsman”) and the weight that a summons issued by the Ombudsman has. The Ombudsman is a statutory body whose powers devolve from the Ombudsman Act 2004 (the “Act”).  The Ombudsman’s main jurisdictional function is to investigate maladministration on behalf of a public authority (section 5 of the Act).

As a firm that is committed to the professional development of its attorneys, MJM Limited offers its attorneys an internal professional development program. The program is designed to equip MJM attorneys with knowledge and information about relevant and developing areas of law so that they stay current with legal developments. Presentation topics typically cover the areas of interest and practice of the firm’s attorneys. For this year, internal presentations have been made in the following areas: insurance, telecommunications, corporate meeting and governance procedure, insolvency, employment and the legislative process in Bermuda.

Land tax payments scrutinized on newly built properties… This civil case has been ongoing for several years concerning the owners (“the Banks”) and their property named “Gatewood” in Paget. The Banks disputed the annual rental value (“ARV”) which was allocated to their newly built home by the Land Valuation department. The two contentious point of law in this case were:

The UK Supreme Court has recently reached a decision regarding the appeals of both Pitt v Holt and Futter v Futter which refer to the nature of the Rule in Re Hastings-Bass deceased 1974. Hastings-Bass was a case that set the precedent whereby discretionary acts by trustees may be set aside if the decisions made had unintended consequences. The unintended consequences were usually unexpected tax liabilities. Historically the Rule has been used to set aside decisions made by trustees who have have accidentally failed to take into account relevant circumstances or where they have taken incorrect professional advice. As a consequence of the Rule the trustees and beneficiaries are re-set into the position they were in before entering the adverse transaction.

Before an insurance company pays out damages following an accident, one’s claim must be particularised fully. Such a claim will typically include all expenses incurred as a result of the accident, which may include damage to property and expenses for transportation. Hardip Singh v Rashed Yaqubi is a 2012 case wherein Mr. Singh sued Mr. Yaqubi for damages arising out of an accident in central London which involved Mr. Singh’s Rolls Royce. Mr. Singh, through his counsel, argued that the hire of the Rolls Royce was reasonable considering the type of work that he was in and the image that he had to maintain, elements of which included the perception of success.

Bermuda is now the epicentre of the catastrophe bond/insurance linked security world. With $7 billion of these securities now listed on the Bermuda Stock Exchange, the island can claim almost half the value of the global market. Catastrophe bonds (also known as cat bonds) are risk linked securities that transfer a specified set of risks from an Insurance company which acts as a sponsor to investors through the issue of cat bonds and the trading in derivatives based on the bond. They were created and first used in the mid 1990’s in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew and the Northridge earthquake and emerged from a need by insurance companies to alleviate some of the risk they would face if a major catastrophe occurred, which would incur damages that they could not cover by premiums and returns from investment using the premiums that they received. Typically an insurance company issues bonds through an investment bank which are then sold to investors. These bonds are inherently risky and are multi-year deals. If no catastrophe occurs, the insurance company pays a coupon to the investors who make a healthy return generally based on LIBOR plus between 3% and 20%. However if the catastrophe manifests itself the principal paid by the investors to purchase cat bond securities is forgiven and used by the sponsor to pay its claims to policy holders.