Bermuda Law Blog

Jennifer Haworth
As of 29 February 2016, same-sex partners of Bermudians will have the same right to reside and work in Bermuda as spouses of Bermudians. This is following the landmark decision of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Ian Kawaley, in Bermuda Bred Company v The Minister of Home Affairs and The Attorney-General handed down on 27 November 2015. The Chief Justice held certain provisions of the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act 1956 (the “Immigration Act”) to be inoperative to the extdent that they discriminate against same-sex partners of Bermudians in stable relationships on the right to reside and employment rights when compared with spouses of Bermudians under those provisions.

Jessica Kemmenoe
Prior to 2011 immigration appeals from decisions made by the Minister were dealt with by the Appeal Tribunal within the Cabinet. In 2011, the Immigration Appeal Tribunal (the “IAT”) was established as an independent body by the Bermuda Immigration & Protection Amendment Act 2011. However, it was only following the implementation of the Bermuda Immigration and Protection (Appeal) Rules 2013 (the “Appeal Rules”) that the IAT was convened.

Jessica Kemmenoe
Following the July 2015 ruling in Bermuda Press (Holdings) Ltd. v Registrar of the Supreme Court, the Chief Justice subsequently issued a Practice Direction (No. 23 of 2015) regarding access to court records in civil cases. In the Bermuda Press case, discussed in this post, the Chief Justice had noted that access rights would still be subject to any valid objections from the parties in the case concerned. The Chief Justice had also specifically noted that the discretionary power will “rarely if ever” apply in ordinary civil or commercial cases where only private interests were in play.

Jennifer Haworth
A recent decision of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Bermuda given on 23 November 2015, illustrates the importance of adherence to Human Rights’ provisions in the employment context. In what has been referred to as a landmark decision, the Chief Justice upheld a decision of a Board of Inquiry that Mr. Harkin (the “Appellant”) “was discriminated against on the grounds of his place of origin in that the promotion procedure was applied to him a prejudicial manner by virtue of his being a contract worker”.