BVI and beyond

O’Neal Webster, a well-established British Virgin Islands law firm with offices in Tortola and London, is organized for the efficient delivery of legal services for our clients throughout the world. Our dedication to professional standards frames our business savvy approach and contributes to our clients’ successes. We stand by our client service promise and welcome your enquiry.


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News & Announcements

Digital Asset Industry: BVI Rises to the Top, Offers a Balanced Regulatory Regime

Bitcoin’s recent surge in value, climbing from around US $21,000 per Bitcoin to over US $70,000 (currently circa US $69,000), has been a significant development. This, coupled with the introduction of mainstream ETFs in the U.S. and the discussions around the SEC Staff Accounting Bulletin (SAB) 121(which specifically targets crypto-asset custodians), underscores the increasing relevance of cryptocurrencies and the pressing need for their regulation.

The British Virgin Islands (BVI) has long been recognised for its thoughtful and balanced approach to regulation. As the digital asset industry gained momentum, observers eagerly awaited the BVI’s stance on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The Territory’s proactive response did not disappoint, demonstrating its commitment to maintaining a secure and investor-friendly environment.  Learn More Here >>>

Encouraging Successful Succession: Estate planning options for shareholders of BVI companies

Many international practitioners will have encountered structures involving BVI companies – unsurprisingly so because the BVI has over 350,000 active companies on its register and a significant number of these has a sole individual shareholder who also serves as the sole director. Unfortunately in the case of many BVI companies, even those with a sole shareholder/director, too little attention has been given to succession planning. As readers will appreciate, particularly as shareholders age, it is prudent for those advising them to encourage them to focus their minds on their succession planning options at the earliest opportunity. Naturally, as a is the case with any other asset, succession planning needs to be considered by all individual shareholders of BVI companies, no matter how many shareholders or directors they may have, but the main focus of this article is on the many BVI companies which have a sole shareholder/director.

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O’Neal Webster Attorney Asha Johnson Willins Promoted to Counsel

O’Neal Webster is pleased to announce the promotion of Asha Johnson Willins to Counsel. Asha joined the firm in 2018 as a senior associate in the litigation department and has proven herself as a leading advocate, providing excellent representation and advice to the firm’s clients.

“Asha is not only an exceptional attorney well respected by her clients and colleagues but also a strong team player and leader and has become an integral part of our firm,” commented Managing Partner Vanessa King. “The promotion is well deserved, and I look forward to working shoulder to shoulder with her in the firm’s continued success.”

Civil Procedure Takes a Bold Step in the British Virgin Islands

Oxford University Press recently published OW attorney Paul Edwards’ article in the Trusts & Trustees Journal: “Civil Procedure Takes a Bold Step: Unravelling the changes to service out of the jurisdiction and the Civil Procedure Rules in the British Virgin Islands.”

Following years of consultation, the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court Civil Procedure Rules 2000 gave way to the revamped and refreshed ECSC Civil Procedure Rules, Revised Edition 2023 (Civil Procedure Rules, Revised 2023), which came into effect on 31 July 2023. The Civil Procedure Rules, Revised 2023, brought sweeping and significant changes to civil practice and procedure, particularly in the areas of service out of the jurisdiction, relief from sanctions, and costs. The Civil Procedure Rules, Revised 2023, gave birth to a novel alternative dispute resolution mechanism, the Judicial Settlement Conference, intended to complement the well-established out-of-court arrangement of court-ordered mediations.

Our visitors have exclusive access to this article via this toll-free link.

O’Neal Webster has again been recognised in Chambers Global Guide 2024 for the British Virgin Islands jurisdiction in Dispute Resolution and Corporate & Finance, including Funds categories.

Chambers rankings are a definitive mark of excellence across the international legal profession. A ranking from Chambers shows that a particular law firm or lawyer stands out in the most rigorous, independent, and in-depth research process of any legal directory on the market and has emerged as one of the best in their field.

Managing Partner Vanessa King: “The firm congratulates our lawyers and team members working in the corporate and dispute resolution practice areas. Being recognized by Chambers and Partners in its Global Guide confirms the depth and strength of our teams and our cross-team approach, which allows us to add value to client matters through efficiency and attention to detail. A special thank you to our clients and colleagues who have made this achievement possible.”

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O’Neal Webster is pleased to announce the appointment of attorney Jamealya Fahie to The Higher Education Licensing Board by the Cabinet of the Virgin Islands to serve a three-year term. The Board considers and reviews all applications submitted for licensing accredited higher education providers in the Territory.

As the Virgin Islands Government works to strengthen the Territory’s economy through entrepreneurship, innovation and investment, ensuring its higher education learning institutions operate at international standards is critical. Under established requirements, the Board will provide for licensed and accredited schools to offer programmes of study within the Virgin Islands that attract, accommodate and advance local, regional and international students.

“I am honoured by this opportunity to serve the Virgin Islands on the Higher Education Licensing Board,” says Ms Fahie. “I look forward to working with my fellow board members to ensure that quality educational opportunities are available for our community and beyond.”

The Board comprises six appointees with higher education, finance, accounting, business, commerce and law expertise.

How to Save Your BVI Company From Insolvency

The world has witnessed the failure of several banks over the past months, starting with Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank in the United States, followed by the collapse of the 167-year-old global firm Credit Suisse. These bank failures can have a devastating impact on depositors, including bankruptcy.

Similarly, the spectacular collapse of FTX, at the time one of the world’s largest digital currency exchange platforms, shocked account holders who suddenly faced the prospect that their money was gone.

One month after FTX filed for bankruptcy, O’Neal Webster was engaged by a profitable British Virgin Islands company with significant exposure in the FTX collapse. The losses were so severe that the company faced insolvency. Notwithstanding, in conjunction with a local accounting and consultancy firm, we guided the company back to regular operations in about 100 days.

This article by Kerry Anderson, Head of O’Neal Webster’s Funds and Regulatory Department, summarizes what you should know when your BVI company faces a financial collapse caused by events out of your control.

Read here >>>

Chambers Global Practice Guides: Enforcement of Judgments 2023 – British Virgin Islands

O’Neal Webster Senior Partner Paul B. Dennis, K.C., Senior Associate Asha Johnson-Willins, and Associate Paul Edwards contributed the British Virgin Islands chapter to Chambers Global Practice Guide: Enforcement of Judgments 2023 Law & Practice.

A judgment that cannot be enforced is of little or no value. It is therefore important for those involved in commercial disputes to understand, before embarking on legal proceedings, where an opponent’s assets are located, what judicial assistance (if any) will be available in locating assets against which to enforce and the process for enforcement.

Link here to view an excerpt and the table of contents and to download the British Virgin Islands chapter for both foreign and domestic judgments.

BVI Statutory Mergers: A valuable tool for business combinations and restructurings globally

The BVI statutory merger process is recognized globally and has been used effectively for many years. However, today, more global entities increasingly use BVI statutory mergers in high-value cross-border transactions. This shift substantiates the BVI’s corporate regime, which is valued for its ample flexibility in facilitating cross-border business combinations and restructurings, supporting the evolution of businesses over time.

The statutory nature of the BVI merger process provides certainty regarding the exchange of shares, other securities, assets and liabilities, which are critical elements in most business combinations and restructurings. As such, the BVI remains an essential jurisdiction in the mergers and acquisitions market for small, medium and global players. To learn more about how BVI statutory mergers work, link here.

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