The Signing of Instruments (Miscellaneous Provisions) Jersey Law 2018 was recently passed to enable people to validly execute legal documents (eg, a will or power of attorney) when they are physically incapable of signing their name. It brings about the much-needed change in law that was brought to light in 2015, when a local resident passed away after a paralysis of his hands had rendered him physically – but not mentally – incapable of signing a will.
The Guernsey Court of Appeal recently handed down its long-awaited judgment in M v St Anne's Trustees. On appeal, neither party had challenged the Guernsey Royal Court's decision that Guernsey law should follow Pitt v Holt. Instead, they had focused on arguing that there had been a breach of fiduciary duty and that the Royal Court should have exercised its discretion to grant relief.
The Financial Intelligence Service's recent refusal to consent to a proposed transaction under Guernsey's anti-money laundering reporting regime has resulted in the Royal Court deciding its first private law action between the person claiming the asset and the financial institution holding it. The decision clarifies the legal framework for determining the source of funds, which will be highly relevant to all regulated entities in Guernsey.
The Jersey limitation period for claims against directors for breach of duty under Article 74 of the Companies (Jersey) Law 1991 has not been definitively decided by the Jersey Royal Court. However, the UK High Court recently found that the prescription period for claims against directors of Jersey companies for breach of their duties under Article 74 was 10 years. While this decision is not binding on the Jersey courts, it is likely to carry considerable weight.
In Summer 2017 Jersey's Royal Court Rules were amended and 11 new practice directions came into force. These aim to improve access to justice, streamline the civil justice process and, where possible, reduce the risks and costs associated with litigation by encouraging the early resolution of cases to avoid court proceedings.
As a jurisdiction, Jersey is at the heart of cross-border insolvency and restructuring. Inevitably, situations arise where insolvent companies' assets or important evidence are located overseas, or an overseas liquidation regime would be best for creditors. Conversely, there will be situations where a foreign insolvency process requires steps to be taken in Jersey.
MONEYVAL's 2015 inspection of Jersey's anti-money laundering regime and its subsequent report issued in May 2016 encouraged Jersey legislators and regulators to actively prosecute more financial crime and, in particular, introduce a non-conviction-based confiscation regime to apply in parallel with the conviction-based system. The Draft Forfeiture of Assets (Civil Proceedings) Jersey Law is a paradigm shift in regulatory approach to achieve the objectives set by MONEYVAL.
The next phase of the Charities (Jersey) Law 2014 was enacted on May 1 2018, allowing entities to finally register as charities under the law. The remaining provisions of the law are expected to come into force on January 1 2019, which will amend Jersey taxation legislation in relation to charities. This is an exciting opportunity for Jersey to reinforce and develop its status as a centre of excellence for philanthropy both in private wealth management and impact investing.
Effective from September 1 2018, the Discrimination (Jersey) Law 2013 will be amended to include disability as a protected characteristic. The amending regulations will give individuals the right to complain to the Employment and Discrimination Tribunal when they believe that they have experienced discrimination. While many employers and groups will be familiar with the way that the regulations work, they should be taking steps to ensure that they are compliant ahead of the implementation date.
The use of private trust companies is becoming more common as a method of retaining family control through the generations. This, of course, all needs to be balanced against tax and reporting considerations, as well as practical ones. That said, however good the adviser, it is difficult to plan for family disputes; therefore, the main emphasis should be on maintaining flexibility so that the trustee can react to changes of circumstances and wealth passing through the generations.
The revised Jersey Financial Services Commission codes of practice came into force on March 21 2018. As a matter of urgency, regulated businesses should therefore review the changes to the codes and consider whether any new implementation measures are necessary. The changes to the codes have considered industry feedback and include both new and revised regulations to align Jersey with the Group of International Finance Centre Supervisors standard.
The Capacity and Self-Determination (Jersey) Law, which is due to come into effect in October 2018, will give people the opportunity, while they still have the capacity, to make their own decisions regarding their financial and personal affairs and welfare. It provides a framework that will give people the opportunity to make their own decisions in respect of medical treatment insofar as possible, including advance decisions to refuse treatment.
The Jersey Financial Services Commission (JFSC) recently published its Supervisory Examination Guide. The guide, which is effective immediately, gives a detailed overview of the supervisory examinations conducted by the JFSC. Examinations are a key tool used by the JFSC to detect and deter breaches of regulatory standards and improve compliance.
What started with complaints against an Oscar-winning film producer has led to a movement that has toppled government ministers and reduced much-loved figures from the entertainment world to pariahs. Although Guernsey may feel far away from Hollywood or Westminster, the issue of sexual harassment is just as real. So what should an employer do to protect its employees and its business from harassment?
An adopted child is treated in law as the biological child of his or her adoptive parents and not the child of any other person. In terms of inheritance, this means that any reference to 'children' in adoptive parents' will or wills includes adopted children. If the parents do not leave a will or wills, the adopted child will have the same legal right to benefit from their estates as any biological child would have.
An unmarried couple, both with housing qualifications, can buy property in joint names and have the security of jointly owning their home. For unmarried couples where only one partner has housing qualifications, the position is more difficult. For freehold property, only the qualified partner can own it. It is therefore important that couples in this situation enter into an equity agreement in order to protect the unqualified partner's position so far as legally possible.
In today's climate, in which professional trustees are held to increasingly high standards by regulators, courts and clients, it has never been more important for fiduciaries to record their decisions. A court's ruling may turn on the content of trustee minutes, and regulatory authorities are entitled to scrutinise all available evidence of a licensee's conduct in assessing its corporate governance and compliance with anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing legislation.
Jersey is a separate legal jurisdiction from the United Kingdom, with a separate body of law. Many clients do not realise this, which can cause issues when it comes to administering their estates. The law of succession and probate in Jersey differs significantly from that in the United Kingdom and creates responsibilities for the executors and administrators of those who leave behind assets in Jersey.
Employers can enforce dress codes only within the confines of the discrimination law. For example, a requirement for a female receptionist to wear high heels is illegitimate since no equivalent requirement is placed on male employees. Employers that want to enforce a dress code should consider the discrimination law and whether their proposals meet it. A recent Jersey case illustrates how this works.
The Capacity and Self-Determination (Jersey) Law 2016, due to come into effect in April 2018, will be a long overdue update to the old customary laws. This new law will give people the opportunity, while they still have capacity, to make decisions regarding their financial and personal affairs and welfare which will take effect should they lose capacity. There are also likely to be amendments to the Wills and Succession (Jersey) Law 1993, which was the subject of an independent report in 2015.