Bermuda Law Blog

Jennifer Haworth
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.

Fozeia Rana-Fahy
The Transcontinental Trusts International Forum 2017 took place earlier this month on 4-5th May 2017 at the Fairmont Southampton. This conference began in Bermuda in 2015 and has grown hugely in popularity as one of the key events on the private client calendar. This year it was attended by leading international experts, lawyers and barristers from the international and local private client market as well as renowned international judges. The whole event received an extremely favorable response from speakers and delegates alike. Topics covered included the impact of Brexit and the US election on the industry, practical consequences flowing from CRS & FATCA, an international litigation update, family governance and tax changes in the US and UK. Furthermore, data protection was highlighted in several of the sessions as an area to look out for.

Agathe Holowatinc
At MJM we take great pride in the work we do. Often that work involves helping local organizations provide resources which benefit our island community. Yesterday, the island’s first radiation therapy unit was officially opened at the Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Cancer patients will now be able to benefit from cutting-edge radiation treatments here at home, where they can receive emotional support from family and friends and continue on with their lives instead of going overseas for several weeks. In partnership with the Dana-Farber Brigham & Women’s Cancer Centre in Boston and the Bermuda Hospitals Board, the project started in 2014 when a review of gaps in cancer care on island was undertaken. From there, it turned into a 2 year project aimed at creating a world-class facility that provides pain relieving radiation treatment to people in Bermuda.

Jennifer Haworth
In January of this year, Alan Dunch and I appeared before Justice Stephen Hellman in the case of Earlston J. Astwood and Others v Bermuda Electric Light Company Limited and Ascendant Group Limited [2017] SC (Bda) 13 Civ (16 February 2017) in a three-day trial in which we acted for 109 Plaintiffs fighting to protect their health insurance benefit.

Andrew A. Martin
In a recent Supreme Court decision the Chief Justice has made an important ruling with potentially wide implications. The case concerns the time limit for bringing a claim in negligence against a party with whom the claimant is also in a contractual relationship. The decision is of particular interest to Lawyers, Accountants, Architects, Doctors, and Surveyors (the “LADS”) but also anyone else who makes their living by providing professional advice to clients. The effect of the decision is that a claim can be brought against one of the LADS (or other professional) in negligence independently from any claim for (negligent) breach of contract. The time limit for bringing a claim in contract and negligence is six years, but the date on which the time starts running for each type of claim may differ significantly.