Bahamas updates

Environment & Climate Change

New legislation aims to promote proper use of environment
Lennox Paton
  • Bahamas
  • 07 December 2020

In December 2019 Parliament passed a package of environmental bills geared towards developing, reinforcing and strengthening the laws which promote and support the management, protection, enhancement and proper use of the Bahamian environment. This article provides an overview of the Environmental Planning and Protection Act and the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations.


Insolvency & Restructuring

Privy Council determines extraterritorial reach of clawback claims in insolvency proceedings
Lennox Paton
  • Bahamas
  • 23 August 2019

The Privy Council has determined that, notwithstanding the absence of express statutory provisions permitting service out of the jurisdiction of fraudulent preference claims, such claims are to have extraterritorial effect. This decision clarifies the law as it relates to the extraterritorial effect of fraudulent preference claims; however, it also creates difficulties for subscribers to mutual funds that may be held liable for investments made on behalf of third-party beneficiaries that are the ultimate recipients of payments.


Litigation

At a glance: COVID-19 court protocols
Lennox Paton
  • Bahamas
  • 19 May 2020

COVID-19 has forced society to embrace all things technological and forced individuals to adapt to working remotely. As it stands, court operations before the Magistrates Court and the Supreme Court are restricted to essential services until the first working day after the expiry of the Emergency Powers (COVID-19) (No 2) Order 2020, which may be extended by amendments. This article sets out what is permitted according to the judiciary's latest Mitigation Protocols concerning civil and commercial matters.

Supreme Court identifies its jurisdictional limits to assist in trust arbitration proceedings
  • Bahamas
  • 03 September 2019

The Supreme Court recently clarified its jurisdictional limits to assist in trust-related arbitrations, ruling that it has no such jurisdiction to allow service outside an action's jurisdiction. Given this ruling, parties to trust arbitration agreements must be cognisant that, notwithstanding whether their trust deeds provide for the seat of any arbitration to be The Bahamas, the court can provide only limited assistance where the arbitration is not held and the parties or assets are not in The Bahamas.


Private Client & Offshore Services

Contributed by Lennox Paton
Homeowners Protection Act – time to revisit
  • Bahamas
  • 01 April 2021

The Homeowners Protection Act was designed to provide meaningful protection to homeowners by ensuring a true and proper discourse between borrowers and financial institutions and will likely become the epicentre of the mortgage market. However, the act has failed to achieve the balance that it sought to accomplish and is in dire need of reform.

Real Property Tax Forgiveness Programme 2021: overview
  • Bahamas
  • 25 March 2021

The prime minister recently announced a Real Property Tax Forgiveness Programme which will provide waivers to Bahamian and non-Bahamian property owners in The Bahamas who are in arrears. The programme is aimed at collecting outstanding property taxes in order to bring persons into compliance and increase government revenue. It will also assist in easing the financial burden on property owners which has been exacerbated due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequential economic downturn.

CESRA: economic substance reporting deadline extension
  • Bahamas
  • 21 January 2021

The Commercial Entities Substance Requirements Act (CESRA) 2018 requires all legal entities registered in The Bahamas to comply with economic substance reporting by submitting an annual filing to the minister of finance. Economic substance reporting under CESRA must be completed within nine months of the entity's fiscal year end; however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the deadline in respect of reporting for 2019 has been extended to 31 January 2021.

New legislation aims to promote proper use of environment
  • Bahamas
  • 03 December 2020

In December 2019 Parliament passed a package of environmental bills geared towards developing, reinforcing and strengthening the laws which promote and support the management, protection, enhancement and proper use of the Bahamian environment. This article provides an overview of the Environmental Planning and Protection Act and the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations.

COVID-19: force majeure and contract frustration
  • Bahamas
  • 01 October 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted commercial activity on a global scale, challenging contracting parties' ability to fulfil their legal obligations. Force majeure clauses and frustration principles may provide some relief to those which may otherwise incur liability because of non-performance. However, there does not appear to be any clear case law precedent for COVID-19, so it is uncertain whether the pandemic will be deemed a frustrating event by the courts.


Real Estate

Homeowners Protection Act – time to revisit
Lennox Paton
  • Bahamas
  • 02 April 2021

The Homeowners Protection Act was designed to provide meaningful protection to homeowners by ensuring a true and proper discourse between borrowers and financial institutions and will likely become the epicentre of the mortgage market. However, the act has failed to achieve the balance that it sought to accomplish and is in dire need of reform.

Real Property Tax Forgiveness Programme 2021: overview
Lennox Paton
  • Bahamas
  • 19 March 2021

The prime minister recently announced a Real Property Tax Forgiveness Programme which will provide waivers to Bahamian and non-Bahamian property owners in The Bahamas who are in arrears. The programme is aimed at collecting outstanding property taxes in order to bring persons into compliance and increase government revenue. It will also assist in easing the financial burden on property owners which has been exacerbated due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequential economic downturn.

New legislation aims to promote proper use of environment
Lennox Paton
  • Bahamas
  • 04 December 2020

In December 2019 Parliament passed a package of environmental bills geared towards developing, reinforcing and strengthening the laws which promote and support the management, protection, enhancement and proper use of the Bahamian environment. This article provides an overview of the new legislation, including the Environmental Planning and Protection Act, which is one of the most notable new laws with respect to Bahamian real estate and development.

Guide to purchasing property in The Bahamas
Lennox Paton
  • Bahamas
  • 28 August 2020

A second home in The Bahamas has been a highly sought-after commodity for international buyers from time immemorial. The Bahamas is an archipelagic nation of 700 islands and cays, with each island providing its own charm and unique Bahamian culture. As the value of real property in the jurisdiction tends to hold or gradually appreciate over time, the purchase of real property remains a viable and attainable wealth-creating mechanism.

Tax consequences of transferring Bahamian real property held by a company for estate planning
Lennox Paton
  • Bahamas
  • 24 July 2020

Bahamian real property is commonly held by a company which is incorporated in The Bahamas or another jurisdiction whose shares may be held by an individual or their nominee. A 'beneficial owner' is any person who is beneficially interested in the real property, including a beneficiary under a trust. This article considers the tax consequences of transferring Bahamian real property held by a company for estate planning purposes.