Inclement Weather

Walkers continues to monitor inclement weather in the Caribbean region and Americas.

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Walkers Asset Recovery

Fifteen Walkers lawyers were recognised in the 2017 Who's Who Legal Asset Recovery guide. This is more than any other global law firm worldwide.

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'Band One'

Walkers has been ranked as a Band One 'Global-Wide' provider of offshore legal services in Chambers and Partners' 2017 Global Guide.

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Brexit

Following the recent result in the United Kingdom's EU referendum, Walkers has created a Brexit page dedicated to providing our clients relevant information about the jurisdictions in which we practice.

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Dubai Award

Walkers (Dubai) has been awarded Best Offshore Law Firm 2017 at the MENA Fund Manager Fund Awards.

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Walkers is a leading international law firm. We advise on the laws of Bermuda*, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Guernsey, Ireland and Jersey.
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Legal Internships, Scholarships and Articles of Clerkship

Walkers is pleased to announce that it has opened the application process for its 2017 legal scholarships, internships and Articles of Clerkship programmes.

 

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Restructuring Ocean Rig - Treading Ultra-Deep Water in the Cayman Islands

The Cayman Court recently sanctioned schemes of arrangement for four companies within the Ocean Rig group. All involved a "COMI shift" from the Marshall Islands to the Cayman Islands and also utilised the Cayman Islands provisional liquidation toolkit.

The process was complex and contested with a number of significant objections to one of the schemes. Many of those objections raised novel and interesting points of law which will be of relevance to participants in the global restructuring market.

The Ocean Rig restructuring process demonstrates that the Cayman Islands scheme of arrangement process is flexible and is well equipped to work through complex restructurings. Whilst there will be occasions where a larger insolvency or restructuring process is called for, in many circumstances where a targeted financial restructuring is all that is necessary, the Cayman Islands scheme of arrangement process can deliver an effective solution, including where the debt is governed by New York law and where the relevant debtors are Cayman Islands companies or other offshore companies that can be "COMI-shifted" to be brought within the Cayman Court’s jurisdiction.

 

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Irish MiFID II Implementing Legislation Now Published

The European Union (Markets in Financial Instruments) Regulations 2017 (S.I. 375/2017) (the “MiFID II Regulations”) have now been signed into Irish law and will come into operation on 3 January 2018.

The MiFID II Regulations transpose Directive 2014/65/EU on Markets in Financial Instruments, along with elements of Regulation 600/2014/ EU, the Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation, together, for the purposes of this briefing (“MiFID II”).

The delay in publishing the MiFID II Regulations (which should have been published by 3 July) will increase pressure on impacted firms to ensure that they are fully compliant with all aspects of the MiFID II Regulations prior to 3 January 2018.

 

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Anti-Suit Injunction Preventing Foreign Arbitration - a Bermuda First

In a first of its kind for Bermuda, Taylors successfully obtained an anti-suit injunction preventing a foreign arbitration, in favour of Bermuda Court proceedings.

The Plaintiffs in AK Bakri & Sons Ltd (& Ors) v Asma Abdul Kader Bakri Al Bakri (& anor) [2017] SC (Bda) 40 Com, sought to stay Bermuda court proceedings they had commenced, in favour of arbitration in Saudi Arabia. The Defendants, represented by Taylors, opposed the stay application and also applied for an anti-suit injunction preventing the arbitration.

Mr Justice Hellman’s decision to grant the anti-suit injunction and to refuse the stay, turned on whether there were ‘exceptional circumstances’ both for justifying a stay, and for granting the injunction, per the reasoning of Madam Justice Gloster in Excalibur Ventures LLC v Texas Keystone [2012] All ER (Comm) 933 QB.

 

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Irish MiFID II Implementation - Help for Collateral Managers

As detailed in Walkers MiFID implementation updated (available here), the European Union (Markets in Financial Instruments) Regulations 2017 (S.I. 375/2017) (the “MiFID II Regulations”) have now been signed into Irish law and will come into operation on 3 January 2018.

The Department of Finance has previously indicated to the market in its national discretions feedback statement that Ireland will be largely adopting a copy-out approach when implementing MiFID II. Our previous client briefing on this feedback statement is available here.

One key aspect of the MiFID II Regulations that is likely to be of considerable comfort to collateral managers based both in the UK and outside the EEA is the retention (albeit in somewhat limited form) of the current Irish MiFID I “safe harbour” exemption for third country firms.

 

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Protection of Dissenters’ Rights - Appointment Of Forensic Experts

In the matter of Qihoo 360 Technology Co Ltd (Unreported, Mangatal J, 24 July 2017)

In a recent application made before the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands (the “Court”), Walkers, along with Robert Levy QC as leading counsel, has successfully argued that the Court does have the power to order the appointment of an independent forensic information technology expert to conduct a forensic information technology audit of a party’s discovery in proceedings commenced under section 238 of the Companies Law (2016 Revision) (the “Law” and “Fair Value Proceedings”), provided the circumstances of the case are exceptional.

In this case, the dissenting shareholders, which are all funds managed by Hong Kong based fund manager Maso Capital (the “Dissenters”), had their shares cancelled as part of a management buy-out that was completed by way of statutory merger under Part XVI of the Law and exercised their statutory right to dissent from the merger. In the first case of its kind in Fair Value Proceedings, the Court was asked, inter alia, in a contested matter to order that Qihoo 360 Technology Co. Ltd. (the “Company”) and the Dissenters jointly appoint an independent forensic technology expert to conduct an audit of the Company’s information technology systems and electronic devices to ascertain the Company’s compliance with its discovery obligations.

Mangatal J. held, after considering various authorities, that “this Court does have the inherent jurisdiction to order discovery to be carried out by a forensic information technology expert who will perform a forensic audit. It is also in keeping with the overriding objective of dealing with cases justly, in a way which is proportionate to the amount of money involved, the importance of the case, and the complexity of the issues, to give that flexible interpretation to the GCR set out in Order 24 as to discovery” [110].

Mangatal J. considered that the case was an ‘exceptional’ one, “not only because of the central importance of discovery in section 238 proceedings and the Company’s role in the process, but also because of the Company’s inconsistent and cavalier approach to discovery resulting in insufficient discovery under previous orders” [112].

As such, Mangatal J. confirmed that “the circumstances of the case warrant the Court granting orders in relation to the appointment of a forensic expert to carry out a forensic audit. This is necessary to avoid a denial of justice to the Dissenters, as well as to allow the Court to properly carry out the function which it will have to carry out at the end of the day, namely appraising the fair value of the Dissenting Shares. Whilst the Order is undoubtedly intrusive, it is justified in this case” [113].

 

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