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 an anonymised ruling of December 2014, In the Matter of the Estate of PQR, Deceased  Bda No. 205, Chief Justice Kawaley analysed the legality of a forfeiture clause within a Bermuda will. The point of construction was one that had not been determined as a matter of Bermuda law and turned on the divergence between commonwealth case law (more hostile to the validity of forfeiture clauses) and English case law (less hostile to the notion of seeking to give reasonable effect to forfeiture clauses).
I had the pleasure of sitting down with Mrs. Gitanjali Gutierrez in my office at MJM last week for a one-on-one interview about her background, role as Bermuda’s first Information Commissioner, and the Public Access to Information (PATI) Act implementation. A fascinating woman, she spoke passionately about her new role and the way PATI is changing the way things are done in Bermuda. Here’s what she had to say...
The recent sitting of Senate has seen significant legislative amendments introduced. One amendment in particular that has caused great discussion is that of the property rights now afforded to Permanent Residence Certificate Holders (“PRC Holders”).
For clarification, a PRC holder is one who has obtained a Permanent Resident’s Certificate by the Minister under section 31A or 31B under the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act 1956 (the “Act”).
On 22 December 2014, counsel for the Corporation of Hamilton (the “Corporation”) initiated proceedings to challenge the constitutionality of certain amended sections of the Municipalities Act 1923 (the “Act”) (the “Proceedings”).
On 26 January 2015, the Minister of Home Affairs (the “Minister”) exercised his right under section 7B(6) of the Act and provided notice to the Corporation that he intended to assume temporary stewardship of it (the “Stewardship”).
In Canada, the Access to Information Act provides the public the right of access to information under the control of a federal government institution. In the USA, the Freedom of Information Act allows for the disclosure of documents controlled by the United States government to the public. In the UK, the Freedom of Information Act gives the public the right to obtain access to information held by public authorities. In the Cayman Islands, these rights fall under the Freedom of Information Law. In Jamaica, the relevant legislation is the Access to Information Act. In Trinidad and Tobago, it’s the Freedom of Information Act.
Bermuda has moved closer to equivalence under Solvency II (Directive 2009/138/EC) and the retention of EU market access for Bermuda commercial (re)insurers. The encouraging news follows the recent consultation paper published by the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) which is focused on the equivalence assessment of the Bermuda supervisory system (EIOPA-CP-14/042). EIOPA has endorsed certain key aspects of Bermuda’s regulatory and supervisory regime subject to certain caveats. A notable area of required improvement includes those rules applicable to the supervision of commercial life (re)insurers. It is, however, acknowledged that the BMA has implemented, or plans to implement, rule changes to address these concerns. EIOPA’s advice is limited to the commercial class of (re)insurer being 3A, 3B, 4, C, D and E and (re)insurance groups. This is significant as it preserves the Bermuda Monetary Authority’s (BMA) risk based and proportionate approach to the regulation of the commercial market as distinct from its captive market.