"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.
The Bermuda Government renewed its commitment to economic progress and recovery in its 2016 Speech from the Throne in which plans for the forthcoming parliamentary year 2016-2017 are rolled out.
In this post, I provide a brief summary.
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.
As I sat in my hotel room in New York in the early hours of Wednesday, 9th November 2016, having been awoken from my slumber by the screaming and cheering from across the road at the Hilton’s Trump Election Party, my first thought was that the world in which we live will most certainly change once President-Elect Trump vacates his golden palace for a White House early in the new year.
Change for sure, but for the better? And, if so, who is most likely to benefit? Much closer to home, what does it mean for us here in Bermuda?
With effect from 1st October 2016, the governmental departments responsible for the oversight of the aviation and shipping sectors became “quangos” newly titled as the Bermuda Civil Aviation Authority and the Bermuda Shipping and Maritime Authority.
The aim of granting such status is to boost revenue from the registration of both vessels and aircraft, by making Bermuda more competitive in the global shipping and aviation markets.
The employment tribunal system was established to provide an employee the regime in which to make a formal complaint that their employer has violated the Employment Act 2000 (the “Act”). The process was designed to encourage the parties to settle their differences wherever possible. If the parties cannot reach an agreement and there are reasonable grounds to suggest the employer may have violated the Act, the parties proceed to the Employment Tribunal for a hearing which lacks the sometimes daunting formalities of the courts. The trouble with the process in Bermuda is that over the course of the last several years, the Act has been interpreted in such a way as to limit the role of the Employment Inspectors, pushing many, if not all complaints, through to the Employment Tribunal. This erodes important principles of justice and the pendulum has swung so far toward due process for the employee that parties are no longer on equal footing.
The Personal Information Protection Act (“PIPA”) was enacted on 15 July 2016. However, it is not anticipated to come into force until 2018. This is to provide organisations with time to prepare for PIPA’s implementation. An independent Privacy Commissioner is due to be appointed shortly to assist with this process and ensure compliance with PIPA once it is in force.