BVI Financial Services Centre and Commercial Courts Update

Tortola, British Virgin Islands

22 September Update

Dear Clients, Associates and Friends,

We are pleased to report that the BVI’s international business and finance centre is making significant progress towards restoring business as usual. BVI financial services are up and running effectively. All controls and safeguards in the BVI are in place with regards to data privacy and security, with Hurricane Irma having no bearing on this fundamental infrastructure.The territory’s company register continues to function via the online portal, VIRRGIN. Just prior to the disruption, company incorporation certificates were sent to London by the BVI Financial Services Commission in order to have them issued there.

The Commercial Division of the High Court has resumed and matters will be heard by our Commercial Judge sitting in St Lucia beginning Monday, 25 September. Hearings are currently scheduled to take place in person, by teleconferencing, or videoconferencing (if agreed by the parties). For further information on litigation matters, please contact litigation partner Nadine Whyte at nwhyte@onealwebster.com or by phone at 1 284.340.2840.

Other developments include:

  • Court searches are available for commercial matters at this time. Civil and criminal are expected to come online shortly.
  • The BVI Shipping Registry is functioning out of Ritter House.
  • Probate matters regarding applications filed prior to Irma are expected to resume within the next week.
  • The BVI Government’s Gazette, which is authorised to publish public or legal notices, should be up and running on Monday, 25 September.
  • DHL deliveries should be operating by Monday, 25 September, and FedEx is expected to resume services later in the week.
  • Additionally, a practice direction should be issued on hearings in St Lucia by next week.

In an official statement, Lorna Smith, OBE, Interim Executive Director of BVI Finance said she was “immensely impressed by private sector efforts” to restore client services, and also “welcomes the support and commitments of the BVI and UK Governments in securing the future of the international business and finance centre.”

O’Neal Webster is operating and we encourage you to contact any of the following partners directly regarding any ongoing or new business.

Importantly, we look forward to serving you. We appreciate your patience during this time and will continue to send updates as matters progress.

Sincerely,

Kerry Anderson, O’Neal Webster Managing Partner, on behalf of all O’Neal Webster Attorneys and Staff

O'Neal Webster is a leading offshore law firm in the British Virgin Islands providing superior legal services to clients globally. The firm is a member of Lex Mundi, the world's largest association of independent law firms.

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