Top offshore law firm ranking for Walkers' Private Capital & Trusts team
Top offshore law firm ranking for Walkers' Private Capital & Trusts team
Walkers' international Private Capital & Trusts team has been named in the highest tier by independent publisher eprivateclient for the sixth consecutive year.
Walkers increases top rankings in 2024 Chambers Global Guide
Walkers increases top rankings in 2024 Chambers Global Guide
Walkers, the international legal and professional services firm, continues to lead its market, according to the findings of the prestigious 2024 Chambers Global Guide to the world's leading lawyers and law
Celebrating 40 Years of Excellence in Legal Training
Celebrating 40 Years of Excellence in Legal Training

In a landmark celebration, Walkers commemorates four decades of unparalleled legal training through its esteemed Articled Clerk Training Programme. With an unwavering commitment to nurturing exceptional talent, Walkers proudly reflects on its legacy of shaping industry leaders through comprehensive and structured
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Because we’re passionate about understanding the world of financial services inside out, we always deliver the responsive service, clear commercial advice, and jurisdiction-relevant solutions that make deals happen, markets move, and businesses thrive.

We advise on the laws of Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Guernsey, Ireland and Jersey.

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BVI Commercial Court hands down judgment in long-running dispute concerning Lunan Pharmaceutical Group Limited

Walkers has secured a comprehensive victory for its client, Ms Zhao Long, in a long running dispute regarding the ownership of shares in a significant PRC pharmaceutical company in a judgment of the BVI Court demonstrating the BVI Court's ability to effectively adjudicate complex cross-border commercial disputes involving PRC assets and wide ranging questions of both BVI and PRC law.

On 20 July 2021, the British Virgin Islands (“BVI”) Commercial Court handed down judgment in favour of Walkers' clients, Zhao Long and Kunlun Newcentury Investment Holdings Co Ltd (the "Claimants") in a complex litigation concerning the ownership of shares in a BVI company (“Endushantum”) which in turn holds a quarter of the issued share capital of a significant PRC pharmaceutical company called Lunan Pharmaceutical Group Limited (“Lunan” and the “Lunan Shares”) as well as shares in other group companies (together with the Lunan Shares, the “PRC Shares”).

From 2011, the shares in Endushantum were held by a BVI trust for the benefit of the founder of Lunan, Mr Zhao Snr (the “Zhao Trust”). Shortly before his death in 2014, Zhao Snr executed instructions to transfer title to the shares in Endushantum to his daughter, Ms Zhao Long. Those instructions were not followed. Justice Jack held that a transfer of shares in Endushantum, the issuance of new shares in that company to third parties and the establishment of a new BVI trust following the death of Zhao Snr was a breach of the Zhao Trust. The Judge has found that the third parties receiving shares in Endushantum were knowing recipients and the Claimants, Ms Zhao Long and another BVI company, are entitled to the return of the shares in Endushantum.

 

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Chinese Version

Appeals to the Privy Council: 21 days does not mean 21 days and 13 hours

On 12 July 2021, the Court of Appeal of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (the "Court of Appeal") reached a unanimous ruling on the time limit for applying for a motion for leave to appeal to Her Majesty in Council (the "Privy Council").

Section 4 of the Virgin Islands (Appeals to Privy Council) Order 1967 (the "1967 Order") states that applications to the Court of Appeal for leave to appeal to the Privy Council shall be made by motion or petition within 21 days of the date of the decision to be appealed from. The 1967 Order is a UK statutory instrument that was enacted under the exercise of powers by Section 1 of the Judicial Committee Act 1984 (an English Act of Parliament).

In the case before the Court of Appeal on 12 July 2021, the question for the panel was how the twenty-one day period, set out at section 4 of the 1967 Order, should be calculated.

 

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SPACs and Aviation and Aircraft Finance

The commercial aviation industry is among the global industries which have undoubtedly faced the most challenges as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic. A sharp, sudden decline in passenger numbers and demand for flights has resulted in an unprecedented and dramatic fall in aircraft evaluations. However, as with all cycles, the bottom of the curve presents attractive opportunities for investors. With the rate of roll-out of vaccines rising across the globe and the industry taking the lead on cutting edge solutions to re-open the skies, such as vaccine passports, many, including some of the world’s largest leasing companies, have been on record suggesting we may have seen the worst. As a result, interest in investing is now increasing with some high profile investors whom have already established platforms ready to deploy cash. During these uncertain times, one fundraising vehicle that has grown in prominence and dominated international financial headlines is the Special Purpose Acquisition Company or SPAC.

As market leaders for offshore legal, Walkers have advised on numerous SPAC transactions and aviation finance, providing us with a birds-eye view of market trends. In this paper we provide an overview of SPACs, and discuss how this structure can be utilised by investors in aviation and aircraft finance transactions.

 

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Major Amendments to BVI's Trusts Laws

The Trustee (Amendment) Act, 2021 came into force on 9 July 2021 introducing a range of important new and updated provisions into the BVI's Trustee Act, 1961 ("TA"). The amendments move the BVI's trusts regime into line with, and in certain aspects ahead of, its competitor jurisdictions in the offshore trusts marketplace.

The principal changes include: 

  • Powers of the Court to vary trusts without beneficiary consent;
  • Setting aside the flawed exercise of a fiduciary power;
  • Extending the firewall;
  • Reserving trust powers; and 
  • Record-keeping obligations for trustees. 

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Bermuda Economic Substance Amendment Act 2021

The Bermuda Economic Substance Amendment Act 2021 received Royal Assent on 30 June 2021. This Act amends Bermuda's Economic Substance Act, 2018 (the "ES Act"), to bring limited partnerships without separate legal personality and overseas partnerships into scope.

Partnerships that are now in scope which are carrying out a specified relevant activity will have six months to comply with the economic substance requirements set out in the ES Act and associated regulations (meaning they must be fully compliant by 30 December 2021).

As a reminder, the following are relevant activities for the purposes of the ES Act:

  • banking
  • insurance
  • fund management
  • financing and leasing
  • headquarters
  • shipping
  • distribution and service centre
  • intellectual property
  • holding entity

Whether they are partnerships or companies, investment funds that are not carrying on a relevant activity are not in scope of Bermuda's economic substance laws.

As a result of the changes, the Registrar of Companies has issued updated Guidance Notes dated 1 July 2021.

Walkers Professional Services is available to assist entities to file economic substance declarations where required under the ES Act. In addition, Walkers' dedicated Regulatory & Risk Advisory Group can advise on the applicable relevant activity classifications and can assist entities to determine how to meet any applicable economic substance requirements.

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