Mr Colin Riegels

Colin Riegels

Lawyer biography

Colin Riegels is head of the firm's Banking & Finance group in the British Virgin Islands. Mr. Riegels joined the firm in 1999 and was made a partner in 2006. His practice relates to all aspects of offshore financing including loan finance, structured debt, derivatives, asset finance, project finance, balance sheet lending, insolvency, workouts and credit and security issues. He also advises regularly on offshore financial structuring, and has written a number of articles on the subject.

Before he joined Harneys Mr. Riegels practised as a barrister from the Temple, London. He has also worked as a judicial assistant (clerk) to Lord Woolf MR in the English Court of Appeal, and taught law at Oxford University. Mr. Riegels is a Notary Public in the British Virgin Islands.

Location: British Virgin Islands

  • University of Bristol (LLB Hons) 1995
  • Inns of Court School of Law 1996
  • University of Oxford (BCL 1st Class) 1997
  • Admitted as a Barrister in England and Wales 1996
  • Admitted in the British Virgin Islands 1999
  • Admitted in Anguilla 2006

Updates

Arbitration & ADR

Arbitration Act 2013 now in force
British Virgin Islands | 27 November 2014

The British Virgin Islands Arbitration Act 2013 recently came into force. The act – modelled on the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration – provides for the creation of the BVI International Arbitration Centre, as well as containing provisions concerning the construction of arbitration agreements, the composition of arbitration tribunals and the court's role in proceedings.

Banking

Appropriation of BVI Company Shares under English Share Mortgage Law
British Virgin Islands | 02 May 2008

The Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal has issued the first known judicial decision on the interpretation of the Financial Collateral Arrangements (No 2) Regulations 2003. The case related to the English remedy of 'appropriation' under the regulations as it applied to shares in BVI companies which are subject to an English law share mortgage.

Court Decides on Application of English Remedy of Appropriation to BVI Companies
British Virgin Islands | 14 December 2007

The British Virgin Islands (BVI) court recently handed down its much-anticipated judgment in Alfa Telecom Turkey Limited v Cukurova Finance International Limited on the English remedy of appropriation under the Financial Collateral Arrangements (2) Regulations 2003 as applied to shares in BVI companies which are subject to an English law share mortgage.

Company & Commercial

Cayman legislative changes demonstrate commitment to global transparency
Cayman Islands | 30 May 2016

The spotlight of the international community is shining more brightly than ever on international financial centres and those that use them, in an effort to reduce aggressive tax avoidance and tax evasion. To assist global efforts to tackle tax evasion and corruption and to increase transparency, the government has amended the Companies Law and proposed a fundamental overhaul of its confidentiality laws.

BVI Business Companies (Amendment) Act 2015: a summary
British Virgin Islands | 14 December 2015

The government recently gazetted the BVI Business Companies (Amendment) Act 2015. If passed into law as expected, it will be the 13th amendment to the BVI Business Companies Act. A number of the proposed changes will dovetail with the recently announced new premium service function at the Companies Registry to facilitate time-sensitive, complex and special transactions, such as continuations to facilitate more difficult commercial transactions.

Court gives guidance on Section 175 procedure
British Virgin Islands | 18 February 2013

Until recently, it was a matter of conjecture as to how the 'usual or regular course of business' exception to Section 175 of the Business Companies Act should be applied with respect to single purpose vehicles which hold a single asset. The BVI courts finally had an opportunity to express their view in on the matter in Ciban Management Corp.

Company law regime enhanced
British Virgin Islands | 28 August 2012

The British Virgin Islands is the world's most popular offshore corporate domicile. The Business Companies Act has been amended to introduce a number of measures aimed at keeping the British Virgin Islands' keystone corporate legislation up to date and attractive. The amending act represents the first major review of the Business Companies Act since 2006.

Corporate Finance/M&A

Court ruling highlights potential risk in some standard form M&As
British Virgin Islands | 30 April 2014

The Commercial Court recently handed down its ruling in C v W Inc. In that case a shareholder with more than 30% of the company's shares tried to exercise its power to requisition a shareholder meeting under Section 82(2) of the Business Companies Act 2004. However, the court held that in order to give effect to the requisition, a resolution of the board was required.

Derivatives

Metavante and ISDA Master Agreement: BVI Perspective
British Virgin Islands | 28 October 2009

The judge responsible for the Lehman bankruptcy proceedings recently held that Metavante Corporation could not rely on Section 2(a)(iii) of the International Swaps and Derivatives Association Master Agreement to suspend payments. Historically, a BVI court would uphold the contractual provisions of Sections 2(a)(iii) and 6(a) on the occurrence of a Section 5(a)(vii) bankruptcy event in respect of a BVI counterparty.

Insolvency & Restructuring

Cayman Islands insolvency law in 60 seconds
Cayman Islands | 04 December 2015

Insolvency law is principally regulated by the Companies Law and the Companies Winding Up Rules 2008, supplemented by a wide body of case law. This update summarises their features, including provisions on insolvency, commencement, appointment of a liquidator, priority, set-off, challengeable transactions, misfeasance, debt restructuring schemes, accreditation and cross-border issues.

Litigation

Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal considers enforcement issues
British Virgin Islands | 20 September 2011

The Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal recently handed down the latest decision in the long-running Alfa Telecom Turkey Limited v Cukurova Finance International Limited case. The court held that ultimately, a lender is entitled to act in its own best commercial interests, and doing so does not automatically amount to the lender acting in bad faith.

Court rules on enforcement issues in Cukurova v Alfa
British Virgin Islands | 20 July 2010

After extensive litigation on preliminary issues of law, which involved hearings before the Privy Council and the English High Court, the Commercial Division of the BVI High Court has finally heard the substantive action in the long-running Alfa v Cukurova litigation. Two key legal points arose from the case for commercial lawyers in the British Virgin Islands.

Private Client & Offshore Services

New beneficial ownership regime takes effect
British Virgin Islands | 03 August 2017

The British Virgin Islands has enacted legislation to implement a networked database of beneficial ownership interests in companies incorporated or domiciled in the jurisdiction. The Beneficial Ownership Secure Search System aims to ensure that the British Virgin Islands can comply with its obligations under the UK Exchange of Notes Agreement, which modernises the way in which BVI competent authorities may gain access to beneficial ownership information of BVI companies.

Cayman legislative changes demonstrate commitment to global transparency
Cayman Islands | 02 June 2016

The spotlight of the international community is shining more brightly than ever on international financial centres and those that use them, in an effort to reduce aggressive tax avoidance and tax evasion. To assist global efforts to tackle tax evasion and corruption and to increase transparency, the government has amended the Companies Law and proposed a fundamental overhaul of its confidentiality laws.

BVI Business Companies (Amendment) Act 2015: a summary
British Virgin Islands | 10 December 2015

The government recently gazetted the BVI Business Companies (Amendment) Act 2015. If passed into law as expected, it will be the 13th amendment to the BVI Business Companies Act. A number of the proposed changes will dovetail with the recently announced new premium service function at the Companies Registry to facilitate time-sensitive, complex and special transactions, such as continuations to facilitate more difficult commercial transactions.

Cayman Islands insolvency law in 60 seconds
Cayman Islands | 03 December 2015

Insolvency law is principally regulated by the Companies Law and the Companies Winding Up Rules 2008, supplemented by a wide body of case law. This update summarises their features, including provisions on insolvency, commencement, appointment of a liquidator, priority, set-off, challengeable transactions, misfeasance, debt restructuring schemes, accreditation and cross-border issues.

Privy Council clarifies power to rectify share registers of BVI companies
British Virgin Islands | 21 May 2015

The Privy Council recently handed down a decision clarifying the power of the courts to rectify the share register of a BVI company under Section 43(1)(a) of the Business Companies Act 2004. The judge confirmed that the primary issue was the validity of the contract, and that the question of which court was the most appropriate forum should be viewed as a matter of contract rather than company law.

Arbitration Act 2013 now in force
British Virgin Islands | 27 November 2014

The British Virgin Islands Arbitration Act 2013 recently came into force. The act – modelled on the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration – provides for the creation of the BVI International Arbitration Centre, as well as containing provisions concerning the construction of arbitration agreements, the composition of arbitration tribunals and the court's role in proceedings.

Court ruling highlights potential risk in some standard form M&As
British Virgin Islands | 01 May 2014

The Commercial Court recently handed down its ruling in C v W Inc. In that case a shareholder with more than 30% of the company's shares tried to exercise its power to requisition a shareholder meeting under Section 82(2) of the Business Companies Act 2004. However, the court held that in order to give effect to the requisition, a resolution of the board was required.

Court gives guidance on Section 175 procedure
British Virgin Islands | 14 February 2013

Until recently, it was a matter of conjecture as to how the 'usual or regular course of business' exception to Section 175 of the Business Companies Act should be applied with respect to single purpose vehicles which hold a single asset. The BVI courts finally had an opportunity to express their view in on the matter in Ciban Management Corp.

Company law regime enhanced
British Virgin Islands | 23 August 2012

The British Virgin Islands is the world's most popular offshore corporate domicile. The Business Companies Act has been amended to introduce a number of measures aimed at keeping the British Virgin Islands' keystone corporate legislation up to date and attractive. The amending act represents the first major review of the Business Companies Act since 2006.

Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal considers enforcement issues
British Virgin Islands | 15 September 2011

The Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal recently handed down the latest decision in the long-running Alfa Telecom Turkey Limited v Cukurova Finance International Limited case. The court held that ultimately, a lender is entitled to act in its own best commercial interests, and doing so does not automatically amount to the lender acting in bad faith.

Court rules on enforcement issues in Cukurova v Alfa
British Virgin Islands | 15 July 2010

After extensive litigation on preliminary issues of law, which involved hearings before the Privy Council and the English High Court, the Commercial Division of the BVI High Court has finally heard the substantive action in the long-running Alfa v Cukurova litigation. Two key legal points arose from the case for commercial lawyers in the British Virgin Islands.

Overview (January 2010)
British Virgin Islands | 14 January 2010

Including: Introduction; Structure; Regulation; Insolvency; Other Key Legislation.

Metavante and ISDA Master Agreement: BVI Perspective
British Virgin Islands | 22 October 2009

The judge responsible for the Lehman bankruptcy proceedings recently held that Metavante Corporation could not rely on Section 2(a)(iii) of the International Swaps and Derivatives Association Master Agreement to suspend payments. Historically, a BVI court would uphold the contractual provisions of Sections 2(a)(iii) and 6(a) on the occurrence of a Section 5(a)(vii) bankruptcy event in respect of a BVI counterparty.

Registering Security Interests Created by BVI Companies
British Virgin Islands | 15 October 2009

Where a BVI company creates a security interest over its own assets, two different registrations must be considered under the Business Companies Act: a public registration and a private registration. Only the private registration is mandatory; however, the public registration has the principal effect in determining the security's priority under BVI law.

Taking Security over Shares in a BVI Company
British Virgin Islands | 15 October 2009

BVI law permits security to be taken over shares in BVI companies - this is a relatively common feature of secured financing involving companies. This update looks at the relevant filing requirements and restrictions, governance of security documents, enforcement of security interests, verification of free and marketable title to shares and the creation of an equitable mortgage over shares.

Appropriation of Shares in BVI Companies under UK Law Share Mortgages
British Virgin Islands | 11 June 2009

The Privy Council in London has handed down its decision in Alfa Telecom Turkey Limited v Cukurova Finance International Limited. The case related to the UK remedy of appropriation under the Financial Collateral Arrangements (No 2) Regulations 2003 as it applied to shares in BVI companies which are subject to an equitable mortgage governed by UK law.

Appropriation of BVI Company Shares under English Share Mortgage Law
British Virgin Islands | 01 May 2008

The Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal has issued the first known judicial decision on the interpretation of the Financial Collateral Arrangements (No 2) Regulations 2003. The case related to the English remedy of 'appropriation' under the regulations as it applied to shares in BVI companies which are subject to an English law share mortgage.

Court Decides on Application of English Remedy of Appropriation to BVI Companies
British Virgin Islands | 13 December 2007

A British Virgin Islands (BVI) court recently handed down its much-anticipated judgment in Alfa Telecom Turkey Limited v Cukurova Finance International Limited on the English remedy of appropriation under the Financial Collateral Arrangements (2) Regulations 2003 as applied to shares in BVI companies which are subject to an English law share mortgage.

Shareholder Remedies in the British Virgin Islands
British Virgin Islands | 25 May 2006

Recent amendments to the BVI Business Companies Act have increased the range of potential remedies available to shareholders of BVI companies. These new provisions reflect the general worldwide movement towards increased accountability to shareholders for actions taken at board level. This update reviews the main changes and their implications for both shareholders and companies.