The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court recently acted to increase coordination, cooperation, and communication among courts in cross-border proceedings of insolvency or debt adjustments, joining Singapore, Delaware, Bermuda, England and Wales, and the Southern District of New York in adopting the Judicial Insolvency Network’s Guidelines for Communication and Cooperation. The move is expected to increase efficiency and reduce costs through the sharing of information among courts supervising the administration a debtor’s estate (including the assets of an insolvent company or other entity), and by more readily recognizing and accepting foreign court orders, laws, regulations, and practices.
It is another step by the Court to ensure that as far as practicable and as permitted by law the debtor’s estate is distributed among the creditors in the most equitable manner and with the greatest benefit to the general body of creditors.
Although voluntary, under the Guidelines parties can establish specific court approved protocols or orders for dealing with a debtor’s estate, and continue litigation in accordance with those terms and protocol. In addition, courts may now communicate on procedural, administrative, and preliminary matters in joint proceedings by telephone, video conference call, or other electronic means, which becomes part of the record.
Overall, when adopted, all parties vying for a share of the debtor’s estate where the estate is located in more than one country should reap greater benefits. Implementation of the Guidelines in the Virgin Islands is to some extent a pilot project of the Court, and if successful, the Chief Justice may choose to extend them to the other States and Territories of the Eastern Caribbean.