Litigation & Dispute Resolution

Jennifer Haworth
In May of this year, the Attorney General introduced two Bills in the House of Assembly that contained several measures aimed at reforming Bermuda’s criminal law, with the goal of enhancing efficiency. The Disclosure and Criminal Reform Act 2015 (the “Reform Bill”) and The Criminal Jurisdiction and Procedure Act 2015 (the “Procedure Bill”) (together the “Bills”) were passed by the House of Assembly on 5 June 2015. They remain to be debated in the Senate.

In January this year we acted for the Plaintiff against five Defendants in a claim for damages for breach of a Sale & Purchase Agreement of a Bermudian fund management company. The Defendants were directors and shareholders of the fund management company and had negotiated a staged management buyout from the Plaintiff vendor. The Plaintiff alleged that the Defendants entered into an agreement with another fund manager to conduct business from their platform in an attempt to evade liability for ongoing payment of the staged purchase trailer fees (“the impugned transaction”).

Article 8 UNCITRAL Model Law In September of this year we acted on a very significant international commercial dispute where the question arose as to whether proceedings in Bermuda would be stayed pending the determination of arbitral proceedings in Canada which would deal with the central question of whether a previous settlement agreement extended to the Defendant and whether the Defendant had a complete defence to the Claim.

Fozeia Rana-Fahy
In its 2014 decision, the Court of Appeal considered Chief Justice Kawaley’s first instance 2013 decision to order the production of trust documents to a beneficiary notwithstanding that the trust deed contained an information control mechanism designed to prevent disclosure of financial information unless the Protector (who was also the principal beneficiary) consented.

Jennifer Haworth
An important decision came from the Court of Appeal this year relating to the issue of whether a party has submitted to the jurisdiction in proceedings outside of Bermuda. In Kader Holdings Company Limited v Desarrollo Inmoniliario Negocios Industriales De Alta Technologia De Hermosilio, S.A. De CV [2013] CA (Bda) 13 Civ (10 March 2014), the Court of Appeal reversed the Chief Justice’s ruling of July 2013 in which he granted Desarrollo summary judgment in respect of its claim to enforce a judgment given in the Superior Court of the State of Arizona in June 2011. The primary issue on appeal was whether Kader submitted to the Arizona proceedings by making a voluntary appearance, and counterclaiming in those proceedings.

Andrew A. Martin
In the world of cross border insolvencies, two important judgments in the Privy Council have clarified three issues which have great significance, not just for Bermuda, but all offshore jurisdictions which have insolvency provisions based on the English model, whether 1948 Companies Act or Insolvency Act 1986. The facts have been well reported and do not bear repeating here.

Jessica Kemmenoe
The United Kingdom (the “UK”) is party to many international treaty obligations but how far do these international treaty obligations extend to UK territories? This question was considered in the recent case of BEST v Minister of Home Affairs [2014] SC (Bda) 61 App (6 August 2014). Given the legal autonomy Bermuda has to the UK, this case raises an interesting legal issue.