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.
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.
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.
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.
Many people do not realise what is involved in administering a person's estate until they have to do it themselves and they encounter a minefield of previously unknown terminology and complex legal procedures. For example, in Jersey, 'probate' is the term used for both the grant of probate itself and the process of applying for the right to deal with the estate of someone who has passed away.
An anti-anti-suit injunction is a relatively rare form of anti-suit injunctive relief granted by a particular court in order to stop a party from pursuing an application for an anti-suit injunction in another court. In a recent decision, the Guernsey Court of Appeal stated that "particular caution" should be applied in granting an anti-anti-suit injunction.
The Royal Court recently issued its judgment on what is thought to be the largest civil case in Guernsey's history. The decision has cleared a Guernsey investment fund that went into insolvency in the wake of the financial crash in 2008 of liability over its collapse. The scale of the case underlines Guernsey's position as not only one of the world's largest offshore finance centres, but also a venue capable of handling complex and demanding funds litigation cases.
The Royal Court recently assessed a case where the representor of a trust had sought to retire as trustee and provided the notice required under the terms of the trust to the company. Despite the fact that the trustee had reminded the company, no replacement was lined up when the company was dissolved. The case focused on the distinction between a trustee's fiduciary responsibilities and its powers and discretions provided for by the terms of a trust.
The recognition of the powers of an English trustee in bankruptcy in Guernsey is generally pursued either by way of a letter of request issued by the foreign court or an application via common or customary law. A recent decision examines the position – not previously encountered in Guernsey – of an application for recognition under common law in a situation where there were already désastre proceedings in Guernsey.
The Royal Court recently considered, for the first time in open court, the issue of whether an agreement with a third party to fund litigation would be void as a matter of Guernsey law on the basis that it was champertous. The lieutenant bailiff's judgment provides valuable guidance as to the contractual provisions that should be considered when third-party funding takes place.
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.
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.
An 'investment fund' refers to any vehicle which allows investors to pool their money for investment by an investment manager in accordance with a defined investment policy. A 'listed' fund is an investment fund which has been admitted to trading and/or listing on a stock exchange. There are many reasons to establish a fund, including exposure to assets not otherwise available to single investors.
The Beneficial Ownership of Legal Persons (Guernsey) Law 2017 came into force on August 15 2017. From that date, the incorporation or creation of any Guernsey entity requires details of its beneficial owner to be submitted to the Guernsey registrar of beneficial ownership of legal persons. Existing Guernsey entities must do the same by October 31 2017, with the exception of companies, which have until February 2018.
The enactment of the Trust (Amendment 6) (Jersey) Law 2013 saw Jersey introduce a statutory basis for relief to be granted for mistake in the form of Article 47E of the Trusts (Jersey) Law 1984. Although there have been a number of Royal Court decisions in this area since then, a recent decision represents the first time that the court has granted relief for mistake squarely within Article 47E.
The deadline recently passed for legal entities to file details of beneficial ownership and control with Jersey's Companies Registry. Under the revised rules, even if there had been no change to the relevant information since incorporation, legal entities were still required to file the relevant form. While the deadline for the initial disclosure has passed, there are ongoing compliance obligations for affected entities to keep in mind.
A recent Jersey Royal Court decision provides welcome guidance with respect to Article 47 applications to vary a trust. In particular, the court considered the interplay between a settlor's wishes and the court's assessment of 'benefit', a point which it had never previously considered. The decision also examines Article 47 applications alongside public policy considerations affecting a modern society.