The value and volume of virtual currency trading is skyrocketing globally, but regulating virtual currencies and virtual currency exchangers is challenging. Under the new Proceeds of Crime (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Jersey) Regulations 2016, exchangers must comply with the island's anti-money laundering and terrorist financing laws, regulations, policies and procedures.
While virtual currencies may divide opinion, it is undeniable that they are booming and becoming part of the mainstream. Jersey has answered the question of how to seize this opportunity by introducing a 'regulatory sandbox' for developers and innovators to build, test and experiment with products, services, business models and delivery mechanisms in a live environment without immediately incurring all of the normal regulatory consequences and costs.
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.
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.
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.
Lawyers are often asked to review employment contracts, including post-termination restrictions. It is increasingly common to see covenants that either restrict the former employee from holding any interest in a competing business or limit the amount of shareholding that they can have. If a contract uses this language, it could lead to the entire restrictive covenant being unenforceable.
A recent Jersey Employment and Discrimination Tribunal case has provided guidance on the Discrimination (Jersey) Law 2013. The case highlights some important points for businesses to remember, including that the £10,000 limit per complaint applies to each type of complaint (ie, direct discrimination, indirect discrimination or harassment).
While the media's attention has recently been lavished on Brexit and President Trump, there is one news story that will affect businesses across Jersey sooner than might be expected: the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation. Jersey businesses must ensure that they comply with the new regulation when it comes into force in May 2018. That means starting work now to assess the impact of the regulation and decide what changes will be needed to ensure compliance.
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.
The procedure governing the reinstatement of a dissolved Jersey limited company is contained in the Companies (Jersey) Law 1991. Where a company has been dissolved or, most commonly, struck off the register by the registrar of companies after failing to file an annual return, the Royal Court has the power to declare the dissolution void and order the reinstatement of the company.
Jersey has a familiar range of legal processes and remedies for the restructuring and insolvency of corporations. While certain reforms are often discussed, Jersey seeks to position itself as a jurisdiction with a system in which creditors can have confidence. Further, the Royal Court has been willing to engage in cross-border insolvencies, whether by granting recognition to overseas office holders or seeking assistance from other jurisdictions.