Bermuda Law Blog

Jennifer Haworth
In December 2016, the legislature in Bermuda passed the Bribery Act 2016 (the “Act”) which will come into force on 1 September 2017. The Act is based on the UK Bribery Act 2010. Currently, there are several separate laws dealing with bribery and corruption offences in Bermuda, such as the Criminal Code 1907 (Section 111 Official Corruption and Section 112 Extortion By Public Officers), the Parliament Act 1957 and the Parliamentary Election Act 1978. But as of Friday, there will be one comprehensive statute which sets out what constitutes bribery in Bermuda.

Agathe Holowatinc
Jeremy Leese and Brian Holdipp, members of MJM’s Corporate Department, will be attending London International Shipping Week in early September, as part of a Bermuda delegation which includes The Hon. Walter Roban, JP, MP, Minister of Transport, and Ross Webber, CEO of the Bermuda Business Development Agency (BDA). As part of the week’s programme, the BDA will be hosting a Bermuda Reception on the evening of Monday, 11th September 2017. If you are interested in attending, please contact Jeremy Leese (e-mail: jleese@mjm.bm) for an invite to the event. In addition, if you are in London, and wish to meet Jeremy and Brian outside of such event to discuss any legal matters with which the firm may assist you, they may have time on Monday (11th Sept) or Wednesday (13th Sept) to visit your offices. Please contact Jeremy via e-mail if you would like to schedule a meeting.

Agathe Holowatinc
Samuel Martin was called to the Bermuda Bar on 17 August 2017 by the Hon Chief Justice Ian Kawaley. Sam’s call to the Bar was moved by his Dad, Andrew Martin, and seconded by his uncle, Peter Martin, who are both shareholders and directors of MJM Limited. Sam went to Warwick Academy until the sixth form, when he transferred to the Bermuda High School to complete his IB studies. Sam is a keen musician and performed regularly as a member and then leader of the Menuhin Youth Orchestra when he lived in Bermuda. Sam then went to the University of Swansea to read mechanical engineering, and then changed to read law, graduating with an upper second class honours degree. Sam then completed the Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Legal Practice (LPC) at the University of Law at Guildford, Surrey, before undertaking his training contract at Cheyney Goulding LLP in Guildford. Sam was admitted to the Law Society as a solicitor of the Senior Courts of England and Wales on 15 February 2017. Sam is now junior in house counsel at a media distribution company in London.

Agathe Holowatinc
"While, in the vast majority of cases, people exercise their right of access to justice through the services of a lawyer, over the last decade, there have been an ever increasing number of litigants in person appearing in the Bermuda Courts," reads the Preface in the newly released Handbook for Civil Litigants in Person. Although not short, the 47 page Handbook is clear and comprehensive, detailed and accessible, and aims to help individuals appearing on their own behalf to navigate the civil justice system as effectively as they can.

Jennifer Haworth
On May 5, 2017, Supreme Court Justice Charles-Etta Simmons ruled that the Registrar-General’s decision to reject a marriage application from a same-sex couple was discriminatory on the basis of sexual orientation, declaring that “same-sex couples are entitled to be married under the Marriage Act”. The case had been brought by Bermudian Winston Godwin and his Canadian fiancé Greg DeRoche, who took their case to the Supreme Court after the Registrar-General refused to publish their marriage banns, arguing that the Human Rights Act (the “HRA”) took primacy in Bermuda and protected their right to marry. “The facts of this case are relatively simple and straightforward,” Justice Simmons wrote in her introduction. “The Applicants are both male. Each states by affidavit that they met in Canada, the home of the second Applicant, and started dating in 2015. They both love Bermuda, the home of the first Applicant. It is their wish to be married in Bermuda irrespective of their gender as recognition of the feelings that they have for one another.

Fozeia Rana-Fahy
The Transcontinental Trusts International Forum 2017 took place earlier this month on 4-5th May 2017 at the Fairmont Southampton. This conference began in Bermuda in 2015 and has grown hugely in popularity as one of the key events on the private client calendar. This year it was attended by leading international experts, lawyers and barristers from the international and local private client market as well as renowned international judges. The whole event received an extremely favorable response from speakers and delegates alike. Topics covered included the impact of Brexit and the US election on the industry, practical consequences flowing from CRS & FATCA, an international litigation update, family governance and tax changes in the US and UK. Furthermore, data protection was highlighted in several of the sessions as an area to look out for.

Agathe Holowatinc
At MJM we take great pride in the work we do. Often that work involves helping local organizations provide resources which benefit our island community. Yesterday, the island’s first radiation therapy unit was officially opened at the Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Cancer patients will now be able to benefit from cutting-edge radiation treatments here at home, where they can receive emotional support from family and friends and continue on with their lives instead of going overseas for several weeks. In partnership with the Dana-Farber Brigham & Women’s Cancer Centre in Boston and the Bermuda Hospitals Board, the project started in 2014 when a review of gaps in cancer care on island was undertaken. From there, it turned into a 2 year project aimed at creating a world-class facility that provides pain relieving radiation treatment to people in Bermuda.

Jennifer Haworth
In January of this year, Alan Dunch and I appeared before Justice Stephen Hellman in the case of Earlston J. Astwood and Others v Bermuda Electric Light Company Limited and Ascendant Group Limited [2017] SC (Bda) 13 Civ (16 February 2017) in a three-day trial in which we acted for 109 Plaintiffs fighting to protect their health insurance benefit.