Mr Christopher Coye

Christopher Coye

Lawyer biography

Christopher Coye, born in Belize City, Belize on April 16th 1972, was admitted to practice in Belize in 1999. He attended the University of Texas at Austin where he received a M.S. in Economics (1994).  In 1997, Christopher attained his LLB (Hons) from the University of West Indies. Christopher was the recipient of many awards while attending the Norman Manley Law School (Jamaica); these include: The Most Outstanding Year II Student, The Michael Nunes Memorial Prize (Law of Associations), The Grant Stewart Phillips & Co. Prize (Law of Conveyancing), The Pitts & Elrington Prize, The Grant Stewart Phillips & Co. Prize (Civil Procedure I & II), The Belizean Bar Association Prize, The Harvey Westwood & Riegel Prize, The Ziplaw Company Limited Prize.

His practice areas include: Commercial Law, Banking, Finance, Real Estate, Foreign Investment, Tax Planning, Asset Protection Planning, Estate Planning, Intellectual Property, Trademarks, Patents, Copyrights, Civil Litigation, Probate, Debt Collection, Offshore Companies, Trusts and International Finance.

Christopher has 9 years of experience in law as well as other major institutions located in Belize.  He is an active member in organizations such as: Integrity Commission (Chairman), International Financial Services Commission (Member), Belize Offshore Practitioners Association (President), Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital Authority (Member of the Board of Directors), Belize Bank International Limited (Director of International Financial Services Division), and the International Tax Planning Association (Member).

Languages

English; Spanish (moderate)


Updates

Company & Commercial

A guide to the International Limited Liability Companies Act 2011
Belize | 17 December 2012

The International Limited Liability Company (LLC) Act provides a general framework for the establishment and operation of an international LLC. The act introduces numerous asset protection features that make Belize's LLC one of the strongest asset protection tools available.

Employment & Benefits

Labour Act amended
Belize | 14 September 2011

The Labour (Amendment) Act will make significant changes to the law relating to employer/employee relationships in Belize. While some of the changes are not as extensive as originally drafted and therefore are unsatisfactory to the unions, they have still caused concern among employers which are already facing challenges in keeping their businesses afloat. This update summarises the main changes introduced by the amended act.

Energy & Natural Resources

Nationalisation of Belize Electricity Limited
Belize | 28 November 2011

The Belize government has nationalised Belize Electricity Limited (BEL), the major supplier of electricity to the Belizean public. When presenting the bill concerning BEL's nationalisation in the National Assembly, the prime minister said that the reason for nationalising BEL was to prevent Belize from being plunged into rolling blackouts.

The Petroleum Act: landowner rights
Belize | 21 November 2011

The government has entered into several production sharing agreements with different contractors pursuant to the Petroleum Act. Each contractor is authorised to conduct petroleum explorations as defined by the act, within a designated area defined by the relevant agreement. However, the owner of the land which is the subject of an agreement retains certain rights in relation to the conduct of petroleum operations on and under such land.

Litigation

Granting freezing and receivership orders in foreign proceedings
Belize | 04 December 2012

The Belize Supreme Court has jurisdiction to grant a free-standing freezing order in respect of the assets of an international business company – more colloquially known as an offshore company – in order to freeze the company's assets in aid of ongoing foreign proceedings. However, the court exercises this jurisdiction with great caution, and often reluctantly.

Indictable Procedure (Amendment) Act and Juries (Amendment) Act
Belize | 06 March 2012

The primary objective of the Indictable Procedure (Amendment) Act is to provide for a trial without a jury in certain criminal cases (eg, in the case of murder and attempted murder). No appeal can lie against an order of the judge granting or refusing an application for a trial to be conducted without a jury.

Private Client & Offshore Services

Rights and duties of receivers in managing and selling mortgaged property
Belize | 24 January 2013

Receivers are usually appointed pursuant to the provisions of a mortgage debenture or a registered mortgage or charge. Although a receiver is expressed to be the company's agent, it does not take directions from the company, but rather gives directions to it. Where a receiver fails to carry out its duties with due diligence, it may become personally liable to the debenture holder or the company.

A guide to the International Limited Liability Companies Act 2011
Belize | 20 December 2012

The International Limited Liability Company (LLC) Act provides a general framework for the establishment and operation of an international LLC. The act introduces numerous asset protection features that make Belize's LLC one of the strongest asset protection tools available.

Granting freezing and receivership orders in foreign proceedings
Belize | 06 December 2012

The Belize Supreme Court has jurisdiction to grant a free-standing freezing order in respect of the assets of an international business company – more colloquially known as an offshore company – in order to freeze the company's assets in aid of ongoing foreign proceedings. However, the court exercises this jurisdiction with great caution, and often reluctantly.

Norwich Pharmacal orders in transnational litigation
Belize | 15 November 2012

Norwich Pharmacal applications have become commonplace in Belize due to the country's thriving international financial services sector. One of the most recent successes is illustrated in Quinn Finance v Galfis Overseas Limited, which demonstrates that Norwich Pharmacal orders can be a powerful tool in multi-jurisdictional litigation.

Democracy at work: the Referendum Act
Belize | 12 July 2012

The Referendum Act allows the electorate to trigger a process that can lead to the holding of a referendum. A referendum can be called in various circumstances, including if 10% of registered voters present a petition that an issue is of sufficient public importance be put to a referendum. To date, only two referendums have been held.

Appeal court declares Telemedia nationalisation unconstitutional
Belize | 29 March 2012

In 2009 the Belize government nationalised Belize Telemedia Limited. The legality of the nationalisation was challenged, but the Supreme Court found it to be constitutional. However, the appeal court recently declared the nationalisation to be "unlawful, null and void". Nevertheless, the government refused to comply with the judgment, stating that it would remain in control of Telemedia unless a court order was issued.

Indictable Procedure (Amendment) Act and Juries (Amendment) Act
Belize | 08 March 2012

The primary objective of the Indictable Procedure (Amendment) Act is to provide for a trial without a jury in certain criminal cases (eg, in the case of murder and attempted murder). No appeal can lie against an order of the judge granting or refusing an application for a trial to be conducted without a jury. The Juries (Amendment) Act furthers the objective of the Indictable Procedure (Amendment) Act.

Telemedia and Belize Electricity Limited: the economics of nationalisation
Belize | 09 February 2012

The proposed Ninth Constitutional Amendment must be looked at in the context of Belize's socio-economic realities. It seeks to accomplish one primary objective: to entrench nationalisation of certain utilities – in particular, Telemedia and Belize Electricity Limited. Although nationalisation may be desirable from a protectionist approach, will it ultimately produce wealth for the nation of Belize?

Legality of committal warrants for non-payment of tax
Belize | 26 January 2012

The Supreme Court has granted a declaration that the magistrate had erred in law and acted beyond the scope of the Income and Business Tax Act in ordering a taxpayer to pay taxes admittedly due "in default committal". The court found that it was not proved to the satisfaction of the magistrate – as required by the act – that the taxpayer had the means to pay the sum ordered.

Supreme Court of Judicature (Amendment) Act
Belize | 08 December 2011

The Supreme Court of Judicature (Amendment) Act No 7 of 2011 provides that an appeal against the decision of a magistrate shall not operate as an automatic stay of execution of the decision under appeal. The amendment specifically amends Section 112 of the principal act, which previously made provision for the execution of the decision under appeal from the inferior court to be suspended until determination or abandonment of the appeal once the appellant had given notice of and security for the appeal.

Ninth Amendment to the Constitution proposed
Belize | 01 December 2011

The government recently introduced the Constitution (Ninth Amendment) Bill in the House of Representatives, which proposes far-reaching changes to the Constitution. Since its introduction, the bill has been the subject of widespread discussion and analysis because it would affect both the ownership of public utilities and the rights of the judiciary.

Nationalisation of Belize Electricity Limited
Belize | 24 November 2011

The Belize government has nationalised Belize Electricity Limited (BEL), the major supplier of electricity to the Belizean public. When presenting the bill concerning BEL's nationalisation in the National Assembly, the prime minister said that the reason for nationalising BEL was to prevent Belize from being plunged into rolling blackouts.

The Petroleum Act: landowner rights
Belize | 17 November 2011

The government has entered into several production sharing agreements with different contractors pursuant to the Petroleum Act. Each contractor is authorised to conduct petroleum explorations as defined by the act, within a designated area defined by the relevant agreement. However, the owner of the land which is the subject of an agreement retains certain rights in relation to the conduct of petroleum operations on and under such land.

Regulating public utilities in Belize
Belize | 20 October 2011

In the 1980s and 1990s Belize privatised its state-owned utilities. The underlying rationale behind the privatisation varied from seeking to stem the losses caused by ailing state enterprises to selling the state assets in order to generate much-needed government income. The process started with the privatisation of the state-owned telecommunications monopoly, followed by the state-owned electricity monopoly and finally the state-owned water company. The results have been mixed.

Labour Act amended
Belize | 15 September 2011

The Labour (Amendment) Act will make significant changes to the law relating to employer/employee relationships in Belize. While some of the changes are not as extensive as originally drafted and therefore unsatisfactory to the unions, they have still caused concern among employers which are already facing challenges in keeping their businesses afloat. This update summarises the main changes introduced by the amended act.

Income and Business Tax (Amendment (No 2)) Act 2010 approved
Belize | 25 August 2011

The Income and Business Tax (Amendment (No 2)) Act 2010 was approved by the governor general at the end of 2010. The amendment introduced two significant changes to the Income and Business Tax Act as it relates to income tax. The first amendment provides further tax relief to employed persons who earn no more than $29,000 a year. The second relates to Section 108(1) of the principal act, which sets forth income which is exempt from tax.