Bermuda Law Blog

Jennifer Haworth
In March 2013, the Chief Justice issued a decision in the case of Kentucky Fried Chicken (Bermuda) Ltd v Minister of Economy Trade & Industry and the Bermuda Industrial Union [2013] Bda LR 19 (381 KB PDF). Kentucky Fried Chicken (Bermuda) Ltd. (“KFC”) sought judicial review of the Minister of Economy Trade & Industry’s (the “Minister”) decision to refer KFC’s dispute with the Bermuda Industrial Union (“BIU”) to binding adjudication under the Trade Disputes Act 1992 (the “Act”). The Chief Justice refused KFC’s application citing the Court’s limited ability to review such references and only in “extreme cases”.

Fozeia Rana-Fahy
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 [2013] 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.

Timothy Frith
In this case, Fifth Street Finance v D Dobbin [2013] 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 Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (the “Board”) is the highest court of appeal for cases from Bermuda to be heard. When a case has reached the Privy Council, the issues to be considered by the Board are typically on points of law. On 8 October 2013, the Board handed down a judgment which will invariably affect all sentences which relate to murder in Bermuda: Selassie (Appellant) and Pearman (Appellant) v The Queen (Respondent) [2013] UK PC 29 (77 KB PDF).

Agathe Holowatinc
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.