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MAPLES GROUP ACTS IN BVI COMMERCIAL COURT'S FIRST REMOTE TRIAL

Date: September 09, 2020

Originally published by Maples Group

Written by Aisling Dwyer and Aline Mooney 

Maples and Calder, the Maples Group's law firm, was pleased to act in a recently concluded trial conducted over a four-week period before the British Virgin Islands (BVI) Commercial Court.  The trial was conducted completely via remote means and was the first of its kind in the BVI.


The trial was conducted in accordance with the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court Practice Direction: COVID-19 Emergency Measures which was brought swiftly into effect by the Chief Justice earlier this year in response to COVID-19.

The hearing was conducted using the video and audio conferencing platform Zoom, allowing practitioners based in the BVI, Hong Kong, England and Singapore to attend court. 
 
The trial featured lengthy cross-examinations of witnesses located in Hong Kong, Malaysia and Sydney, sometimes with the assistance of an interpreter, and experts on foreign law were also cross-examined.  In another apparent first for the BVI, the parties employed LiveNote Stream transcription services for some of the witnesses' testimonies.

Demonstrating its flexibility in these unusual times, and in order to accommodate witnesses in different time zones, the BVI Commercial Court adopted novel sitting hours starting as early as 8:00am to sitting as late as 8:00pm.

The claim was a derivative action for claims of breach of fiduciary duty and dishonest assistance against two individual defendants, said to have been de facto directors of the claimant company, and two related BVI companies.  Judgment has been reserved.

Maples and Calder represented two of the defendants to the claim.  The Group's cross-jurisdictional team was led by Hong Kong-based Partner, Aisling Dwyer who was assisted by BVI Associates Simon Hall and Scott Tolliss plus Hong Kong-based Associate Aline Mooney. The firm also instructed David Alexander QC of South Square.

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