It seems that 2017 will be remembered as the year of the initial coin offering (ICO). The Cayman Islands is witnessing an upsurge in ICO-related business and structuring an ICO through the territory remains an attractive proposition. However, ICO-specific guidance is yet to be issued by the government or the regulator, and a number of legal uncertainties remain. Existing statutory and regulatory regimes must therefore be considered when structuring an ICO.
As Cayman Islands entities are not directly subject to the so-called 'automatic exchange of information' agreements, the government has introduced legislation to implement these under the Tax Information Authority Law. Guidance notes have also been issued, providing details of the notification, reporting and ongoing obligations that apply, as well as a useful reminder of the differences between the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act and the Common Reporting Standard.
The Cayman Islands Court of Appeal has held that a liquidator cannot use his or her statutory power pursuant to Section 112(2) of the Companies Law to rectify the register of members where the effect would be to override investors' proprietary rights. It held that the section does not aim to provide for substitution of incorrect net asset value if, despite its incorrectness, it has been calculated in accordance with a member's contractual rights.
The Trademarks Law 2016, the Patents and Trademarks (Amendment) Law 2016 and the Design Rights Registration Law 2016 recently came into force, introducing a new IP regime in the Cayman Islands. The legislation establishes a standalone trademark registration system, prohibits the assertion of patent infringement in bad faith and allows existing UK and EU-registered design rights to be extended to the Cayman Islands, among other things.
The Court of Appeal has unanimously allowed every ground of an appeal by the liquidators of Argyle Funds SPC Inc. The key takeaway for the Cayman Islands professional services industry is that where work is delegated to be carried out by related entities outside the Cayman Islands, any attempt to contractually limit clients' rights to bring claims against those entities must be expressly articulated within the contract.
A recent Grand Court decision is significant for Cayman master-feeder fund structures. Funds and their advisers should review the redemption provisions in master fund articles of association and partnership agreements to ensure that, operationally, redemptions are being effected in accordance with such documents.
Following the recent Court of Appeal decision in Qunar, the Grand Court handed down written reasons for its further directions for dissenters' discovery in a Section 238 appraisal action. The reasons acknowledge that the Grand Court's approach to discovery has changed as a result of the Court of Appeal's decision, such that a "general requirement for automatic mutual disclosure" now applies.
The Grand Court has set out the requirements for pleading a cause of action of dishonest assistance and reaffirmed the established principles of the defence of estoppel. The decision provides welcome comfort to corporate entities with robust and thorough systems for detecting fraud.
During the early stages of litigation, a well-advised defendant will consider how to enforce a Cayman Islands court costs order in the foreign jurisdiction where the claimant's assets are located, and whether it should seek security from the claimant for the costs of doing so. The Court of Appeal has recently considered whether a foreign claimant should give security limited to the costs of enforcing an order in the foreign jurisdiction only or for the (much greater) amount of defending the appeal.