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The first quarter of 2017 has been a busy one, both for the Cayman Islands Government and for the local judiciary. With the commencement of election year, the Legislative Assembly has a number of bills before it, which, given their importance to the financial services industry, will likely be the subject of lengthy debate in the lead-up to the dissolution of parliament. As the general election is scheduled for May 24, 2017, and the final sitting of the Legislative Assembly was under way at the time of writing, there is limited time to implement change and much progress is expected to be made. Meanwhile, the Grand Court has already released a number of interesting judgments that will provide helpful guidance to the finance industry in respect of disputes arising out of merger and acquisition deals, as well as concerning general matters of civil procedure across the Financial Services Division.
Through late 2016 and well into the New Year, the jurisdiction has seen the introduction of a raft of new legislation designed to modernize local law and, in certain instances, to ensure consistency and compliance with global transparency efforts.
In late December 2016, a new suite of legislation was passed into law pursuant to which the Cayman Islands seeks to modernize its intellectual property protection regime. This new suite of legislation, all of which will likely come into force in the first half of 2017, will operate as follows:
Changes to the companies legislation was also pending in the Cayman Islands. As at March 2, 2017, the Legislative Assembly had passed the Companies Amendment No. 2 Bill 2016, the Companies Management Amendment No. 2 Bill 2016, and the Limited Liability Companies Amendment Bill 2016. While their commencement dates had not been announced at the time of writing, these three new pieces of law are expected to be in force by the end of the second quarter of 2017. Together, they will require Cayman Islands companies (other than certain listed or regulated companies) to establish and maintain beneficial ownership registers and for the information on those registers to be made accessible to certain enforcement and tax authorities through a centralized and electronic beneficial ownership platform.
This article was first published in Cayman Financial Review.