Law firm bills first trust summit a hit

Cayman Islands law firm Conyers Dill & Pearman hosted its first Trusts and Trust Litigation Forum in February at London’s Coq d’Argent addressing conflict of law issues that affect offshore trustees face involved in foreign court proceedings.

Contentious and non-contentious trust lawyers attended the forum where they listened to a panel of expert litigators drawn from several jurisdictions in which Conyers advises.

Chaired by Alec Anderson, global head of trust and private client and Edward Stone, head of UK trust and private client, the forum had input from lawyers Paul Smith and Nigel Meeson QC, who are based in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, respectively.

The panel answered questions on issues including how trustees should react to the service of English proceedings in connection with offshore trusts; the enforcement offshore or English judgments and injunctions; comparisons between offshore protective legislation in Bermuda, Cayman and the British Virgin Islands and trustee actions before and after divorce proceedings.

Mr. Smith addressed the possibility and extent of English divorce judgments being enforced in the offshore world, in light of recent big-money divorce cases in England where matrimonial assets are held in offshore trusts.

In particular, he cited the decision of the Bermuda court in Charman not to accede to the letters of request issued by the English court.

Mr. Meeson, meanwhile, addressed the approach Cayman would take in such cases and discussed recent decisions of the Cayman Islands court affecting trusts, in general, as well as developments regarding the enforcement in Cayman of non-monetary judgments of foreign courts.

‘The event provided a forum for us to bring together and share some of the experience of Conyers’ litigation team in the trust arena, which continues to develop as trusts and trustees face additional scrutiny of their actions in the light of the current economic climate, particularly disputes related to trust investments,’ said Mr. Stone.

‘We were able to share insights on the laws of Bermuda, Cayman and BVI in relation to these issues. We were very pleased by the turnout of the forum, which we hosted in London in order to reach those most frequently dealing with these issues. The audience’s response was very positive and we look forward to the next forum.’

It was something of an encore for Mr. Smith and Mr. Meeson who also spoke at the Legal Week Trust & Estates Forum on February 26 to 28, which saw experts gather in Provence to discuss and offer advice on managing disputes amid market turbulence to an audience of lawyers, banks and financial companies.

The Conyers Trusts & Trust Litigation Forum follows the Conyers Annual Offshore Seminar in New York started eight years ago.

The 2009 seminar will be held in New York in October – further details are available from [email protected].

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