With self-isolation and social distancing now the rule rather than the recommendation, working from home has become the norm. Although these actions have proven necessary, they also present certain logistical and administrative obstacles to companies continuing their business efficiently and effectively. Key questions in this regard are whether the directors of a Guernsey company can execute documents electronically and whether they can rely on documents executed in such a manner.
A variety of factors are fuelling a sustained boom in M&A activity around the world, including a number of mega-deals across a variety of sectors. Irrespective of deal size, a wide range of positive factors has driven deal volume. All of this is good news for the financial services community in Guernsey, which is seeing significant growth in work as a result – not least law firms with experienced M&A teams.
The perennial conversations around restrictive covenants in employment contracts and service contracts of a similar nature are familiar. Employers want maximum restriction on employees who leave but must be careful not to overstep the mark as covenants which are unduly restrictive risk being struck out by the courts.
The Guernsey Financial Services Commission recently introduced the Guernsey Green Fund designation to provide investment managers with an opportunity to "assure investors that their investments are contributing to initiatives that have a positive environmental impact on the planet and in so doing inspire confidence that their investments are well regulated". The designation is available to registered and authorised schemes run in accordance with the Guernsey Green Fund Rules.
Many of the key emergency legislative measures put in place to combat the effects of COVID-19 have been aimed at protecting the local economy, with the focus on the prevention of insolvency rather than insolvency itself. These measures include a payroll co-funding scheme, a grant for small businesses and the self-employed and a guarantee scheme, under which the states will work with the high street banks to provide loans to trading businesses with an annual turnover of less than £10 million.
The States of Guernsey recently passed the Companies (Guernsey) Law 2008 (Insolvency) (Amendment) Ordinance 2020, making Guernsey an even more desirable forum for insolvency proceedings. The changes show that Guernsey is prepared to arm insolvency office holders with the necessary tools and powers to tackle, draw in and preserve the assets of an insolvent company for the benefit of creditors.
Two joint administrators recently applied to the Royal Court of Guernsey seeking an order that it issue the High Court of Justice of England and Wales with a letter of request to act in aid of and auxiliary to the Royal Court in recognising their appointment as administrators of a company. While the Royal Court has dealt with incoming letters of requests, in making the application, counsel was unaware of any case where the Royal Court's jurisdiction to issue a letter of request had previously been considered.