There have been a number of developments in immigration laws and policies this year which have and will impact international and local businesses in Bermuda.
The Incentives for Job Makers Act 2011(59 KB PDF) came into force in 2012 which introduced changes to the Economic Development Act 1968 (“the EDA Act”) and the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act 1956 (“the Immigration Act”). Essentially, under these amendments, a qualifying company is able to apply for section 3(B)(2) designation under the EDA Act. If granted such designation, the company is able to make application(s) under section 5 of the EDA Act whereby senior executives can obtain exemptions from work permit requirements as set out in the Immigration Act. Thereafter, if various requirements and qualifications are met by the company and senior executive, the senior executive can apply for a permanent residency certificate under the Immigration Act.
The Spending and Government Efficiency Commission (the “SAGE Commission”), an election platform item for the One Bermuda Alliance (“OBA”), was created in the first quarter of 2013 following on from Bermuda’s national election last year in which the OBA emerged as the new governing party. The OBA had indicated during their election campaign that if they were successful, one of their early objectives would be to establish the SAGE Commission with a view to making the Bermuda Government more efficient, cost effective and transparent in light of the economic challenges currently being faced.
The first Mid-Year Meeting to be held in Bermuda of Insuralex, a worldwide network of independent insurance and reinsurance lawyers, drew a large crowd of over 120 attendees to its recent seminar, of which 37 people were from overseas (representing over 12 countries!). MJM Limited is the Bermuda member of Insuralex and hosted the group this month.
The guest speakers at the seminar at XL conference centre, addressing the audience on Aggregation in the Reinsurance Context and the Insurability of Fines and Penalties, were from London’s Devereux Chambers, with whom MJM Limited has strong links. Speakers included: Colin Wynter, QC, Chambers & Partners Insurance Silk of the year 2012; Richard Harrison, Leading Insurance Junior; and Andrew Burns, Leading Insurance Junior and co-author of the Law of Reinsurance with Colin Edelman QC, published by Oxford Press.
View Insuralex Mid-Year Meeting Seminar podcast
The Privy Council gave judgment this year on an appeal from the decision of the Court of Appeal of Bermuda in Mutual Holdings (Bermuda) Limited and others  UKPC 13 (97 KB PDF). The major issue concerned an allegation of fraud made against three corporate and four personal defendants (who included ex employees of the Mutual Group) in respect of the rent a captive facility operated by the Mutual Reinsurance Management Group. In broad terms, the defendants were alleged of overstating the extent of the plaintiffs’ exposure under a complex programme of insurance and reinsurance, thereby inducing them to order reinsurance which they did not need and to renew the programme for a further year on amended and disadvantageous terms. The trial judge in the Supreme Court of Bermuda rejected this allegation on the facts but the Court of Appeal upheld it and made findings of fraud against two of the corporate and one of the personal defendants.
In this case, Fifth Street Finance v D Dobbin  SC (Bda) 55 Com (313 KB PDF), Alan Dunch and Tim Frith of MJM acted on behalf of Fifth Street Finance Corporation in the recovery of $4,000,000 as money due under a Guarantee and Indemnity Agreement dated September 28th, 2009. The principal debtor whose debts were guaranteed by the Defendant was a Canadian company Repechage Investments Limited as assignee of pre-existing liabilities under a 2007 credit agreement owed by two of Repechage Investment Limited’s subsidiaries, Elephant & Castle Group Inc. (a Canadian corporation) and Elephant & Castle Inc. (a Texas corporation). The Elephant & Castle Group operated and franchised British style pub restaurants in the United States and Canada, however the group collapsed in 2011 and Repechage filed a voluntary bankruptcy petition in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts.
The One Bermuda Alliance Government has promised to continue to make revitalisation of the Bermuda economy its primary focus as it enters its second year in power.
The promise featured prominently in Government’s Throne Speech (777 KB PDF) which marked the beginning of a new session of the Bermuda Legislature, and in which the one year old Government set out its plans for the forthcoming parliamentary year that began in early November.