Bermuda Law Blog

Jennifer Haworth
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.

Peter D.A. Martin
Background 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.

Jane Collis
While most people prefer to leave nothing in life to chance, there are many who don’t get around to making a Will, for one reason or another. Life is busy after all and planning for death is surely to tempt fate in the wrong direction. Those who are married often make the assumption that the surviving spouse will take everything, in all circumstances. Sadly, this is not the case.

Louise Charleson
It may seem obvious to practitioners that where there is no mortgage on a property, the legal owner is entitled to retain the title deeds to the property. However, it was recently argued in a dispute over whether a deposit could be forfeited by the vendor in a failed property transaction that the purchaser’s attorneys should be permitted to hold onto the title deeds until the vendor returned the full deposit.

Agathe Holowatinc
A Bill to protect the personal information of Bermuda residents - the Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA) - has been passed in the House of Assembly. Last year the Government of Bermuda, under the Ministry of Economic Development, introduced a Draft Model Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA) that fortified privacy protection rights for all residents. The PIPA Draft Model was sent out for public consultation from July 10th to August 17th, 2015. It covered personal information in both the online and offline environments (ie. filing cabinets), including provisions for the protection of children’s personal information, the use of “sensitive” information such as details about one’s race, religion, sexual orientation, etc, and access to medical records. This very timely and important piece of legislation passed in the House on Friday July 15th.