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The Dispute Resolution Review, 8th Ed.: British Virgin Islands

Thursday, 10th June 2016


The British Virgin Islands (BVI) is a British Overseas Territory, and the British government is responsible for foreign affairs and defence. Executive authority is vested in Queen Elizabeth II and is exercised on her behalf by the Governor, currently His Excellency Mr John Duncan OBE. There is, however, a large degree of internal self-government. A new Constitution was adopted in 2007, and the country is now led by the Premier, who is elected in a general election and who nominates a Cabinet, which is appointed by the Governor. The legislature consists of the Queen (represented by the Governor) and a House of Assembly. The official currency is the US dollar. There are no exchange controls and no restrictions on the free movement of currency.

Since the 1960s the BVI has steadily moved from an agriculture-based economy towards tourism (mainly boat chartering, although it is also a cruise ship destination and popular beach resort) and financial services. It is now a leading offshore financial centre. Over 1 million companies have been incorporated in the BVI and it is the second-largest domicile for the formation of offshore investment funds.

The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) is the superior court of record for the BVI, as well as for Anguilla, Montserrat, Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, and Dominica. The ECSC is headquartered in Saint Lucia, although each member state has its own High Court Registry and its own High Court Judiciary. Since 2009 the ECSC has had a dedicated commercial division, located in the BVI, with its own judge (currently Mr Justice Barry Leon) and its own modern premises. Saint Lucia is also to have a Commercial Division from the end of 2015. Appeals from the High Court are to the ECSC Court of Appeal, which sits in the BVI approximately three times a year, and appeals from the Court of Appeal are to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London. The BVI also has a Magistrates Court, which has both a criminal and a civil jurisdiction, and from which appeals lie directly to the Court of Appeal.


Read this article in full. 

Source: Maples and Calder
Language: English
Contact: John MacDonald and Arabella di Iorio

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