Offshore: new ground

Guernsey recently passed the world’s first-ever legislation to protect image rights and, following in Jersey and the Isle of Man’s footsteps, the island has introduced a foundations law. LB assesses the reaction from the local legal market

Thanks to new law that came into effect in Guernsey in December, a person or company can now register their image rights. This is the first legislation of its type in the world, allowing individuals to protect voices, expressions, pictures, videos and recordings. A modern, online-specific registry has also been designed for that purpose.

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Offshore: Blazing a trail

Groundbreaking decisions continue to emerge from the Channel Islands courts. LB talks to key litigators involved in recent headline cases and assesses their wider impact

Two important judgments have emerged from Jersey and Guernsey this year. In April, in the case In the matter of the Shinorvic Trust (Shinorvic), the Royal Court of Jersey had to consider whether a longstanding principle of English law applies to trusts in Jersey; while in March, Guernsey’s Privy Council awarded the largest ever compensation payout in the UK in the Helmot case, a whopping £14m. This decision profoundly impacts on how damages for future losses in personal injury cases are calculated.

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Offshore: Asia bound

Offshore law firms continue to launch offices in Asia, with Singapore and Shanghai the latest hot destinations. LB assesses the drivers behind recent openings and the challenges that lie ahead

The drive of offshore firms into Asia continues apace. Bedell Cristin opened a Singapore office in July, following Mourant Ozannes’ launch in Hong Kong at the start of the year; Appleby opened a representative Shanghai office in April; and in September, showing its own long-term commitment to South-East Asia, Maples and Calder also announced the opening of a Singapore office.

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Offshore: Caribbean calling

UK offshore law firms are increasingly offering British Virgin Islands and Cayman Islands legal services from Caribbean offices or their Crown dependency bases. LB assesses the changing landscape of the Caribbean legal market

UK-based offshore law firms have been enjoying a Caribbean sojourn this year. In June Carey Olsen announced it would be opening an office in the Cayman Islands; Bedell Cristin established its British Virgin Islands (BVI) office at the start of 2012; while Mourant Ozannes launched in the BVI in September.

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Offshore Part 3 – Jewels in the crown

One case has put litigation funding on the map in Jersey, while the Crown Dependencies are each bringing in vital new legislation, meaning fresh streams of work for their legal markets. LB reviews the latest developments

Third-party litigation funders have operated in the UK for some time, but not in the Channel Islands, as the legality and enforceability of funding agreements in Jersey remained untested. This is set to change following a court judgment that could allow islanders access to external funding if they cannot afford to pursue a legal claim.

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Offshore Part 2 – The Bounty Hunt

Madoff-related claims in the BVI and the Saad litigation in the Cayman Islands are keeping the Caribbean’s litigators busier than ever. LB analyses the key cases and speaks to the main players to find out what is likely to happen next

Following Bernie Madoff’s arrest on 11 December 2008, Fairfield Sentry, the fund said to have had the largest exposure to Madoff’s multibillion-dollar fraud, was placed into liquidation in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) in July 2009. Consequently Fairfield’s liquidators, KRyS Global, issued over 175 claims in the BVI against investors that had redeemed their investments out of Fairfield. Forbes Hare acted for KRyS Global, led by founding partner William Hare.

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Offshore Part 1 – Search for El Dorado

Offshore firms are increasingly building Brazil, as well as other Latin American destinations, into their emerging markets portfolio. LB assesses the varying strategies in tackling the New World.

The opportunities in Brazil for offshore legal advisers are increasingly on the rise. In December 2010, Conyers Dill & Pearman’s São Paulo office managing partner Alan Dickson provided Bermuda law advice to Brazilian investment bank BTG Pactual on its sale of a $1.6bn stake to a consortium of international investors, marking the biggest eversovereign wealth fund commitment in Brazil. Again led by Dickson, in July 2011 Conyers, alongside Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy in New York and Arias, Fabrega & Fabrega in Panama, advised Queiroz Galvão Óleo e Gás (QGOG) – a Brazilian conglomerate involved in developing large-scale projects in various sectors – on a $700m bond issue to refinance the drilling rigs Atlantic Star and Alaskan Star.

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Worlds colliding

The Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive, dreaded by the offshore world, has now been agreed. LB finds out why the offshore world’s law firms are still smiling

After laboured negotiations and more than 30 drafts, the Alternative Investment Fund Managers (AIFM) Directive was finally approved by the EU parliament in November 2010. As the terms were thrashed out in the preceding 18 months, the funds industry held its breath, stifling funds activity both on and offshore. The offshore world is now resting a little easier.

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Emerging targets

Mourant Ozannes’ merger this summer created another large fish in the global offshore pond. Firms now have to focus on clients from new economies to stay ahead

It was nearly a decade in the making. Jersey and Guernsey titans Mourant du Feu & Jeune and Ozannes announced their merger earlier this year but, for market observers, it was a tie-up that had been on the cards ever since Jersey and Guernsey rivals Carey Langlois and Olsens merged in 2003.

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Flying colours

Responding to the relentless negative publicity directed at offshore territories, the International Financial Centres Forum was formally launched in London at the end of last year. Legal Business assesses the drivers behind this development and which offshore law firms have continued to expand despite the global economic crisis

‘The offshore world is tired of being the world’s whipping boy,’ says John Collis, chairman of Conyers Dill & Pearman. ‘Most of the negative publicity fired at offshore markets is simply wrong, and we now have a committed agenda to getting the story straight.’

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