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Offshore Cases

Minister of Finance -v- A Company [2015] SC (Bda) 51 Civ (24 July 2015)

July 2015 Tax Information Exchange Agreements

BERMUDA

SUPREME COURT

INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION (TAX INFORMATION EXCHANGE AGREEMENTS) ACT, 2005 (THE “2005 ACT”) – CONTEMPT – COSTS

The Plaintiff alleged that the Defendant Company had failed to comply with a Production Order made under the 2005 Act. It was common ground that, by the date of the hearing, the Company had in fact complied; the Plaintiff therefore sought the imposition of a fine.

The Company denied that it had in fact breached the Order, and sought an Order that each party bear its own costs. The Company asserted that it had only been required to disclose documents that were in existence and were in its custody, and also that it was only required to disclose documents it considered relevant. The Court held that the wide definition of “document” as held in Derby & Co Ltd -v- Weldon (No.9) [1991] WLR 652 applied to Production Orders under the Act. The Court also held that the scope of ‘information’, which may be requested and made the subject of a Production Order under the 2005 Act, is much broader than particular documents, as may be requested in foreign judicial proceedings. As to relevance, the Court held that it is a matter for the Court, not for the Company or its legal advisors to determine. If the Company believed that some documents were irrelevant, or the Order overly burdensome, it should have applied to Court to vary the Order.

 

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Minister of Finance -v- A Company [2015] SC (Bda) 51 Civ (24 July 2015)

 

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