The financial services and commercial litigation sector are expecting a marked increase in face-to-face operations now that the BVI has eased COVID-19 restrictions in the territory.
According to Vanessa King, the head of Banking & Finance at O’Neal Webster Law Firm, the financial services and commercial litigation sector has been largely unscathed by the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. She further said the BVI is lucky to have one of its major economic pillars still standing with how the virus has devastated the tourism sector.
“We haven’t been badly impacted because a lot of our clients are overseas, we can continue to work as we always did by email and by Zoom. People are flexible now. They are fine with having virtual meetings. So, I don’t think we are significantly impacted. I thought we would have been impacted more than we have been. Luckily, this one pillar is still standing,” King said recently.
However, she still expects an increase in operations as more lawyers return to the territory for court trials, which she hopes will resume face-to-face operations very soon.
“From a financial services sector, we expect the courts to reopen with in-person matters. We expect clients to return to the territory to do work as opposed to everything being done reopen remotely,” the managing partner said.
In-person trials will boost economy
Meanwhile, Dan Wise, a partner who specialises in Corporate and Commercial litigation at O’Neal Webster Law Firm, said the commercial litigation service offered in the BVI is lucrative. And when more in-person trials resume, this can help to stimulate the territory’s economy.
“In the commercial litigation service, the product we offer in the BVI is big disputes from all over the world. I think it will be dealt with much better when we go back to hearings in person and I think that is going to be good for the territory because there is going to be significant collateral spend that comes from that in the community,” Wise said.
“You have something like a five-week trial, for example, with affluent witness and clients from New York, London and other places and it percolates a lot of money through the community and obviously with Zoom that money doesn’t filter into the daily operations of the territory,” the corporate and commercial litigator stated.
Wise was attending the opening ceremony of the Nanny Cay Resort and Marina’s new Seaview Wing block which he said he is looking forward to once clients start returning to the territory.
He said it is always good to have a place on the outskirts of town where Queen Counsels and clients can stay for a few weeks when trials are happening.
Earlier this year, the BVI government had reported an increase in growth of the financial sector in the first half of 2021. There was a marked increase in company incorporations and registration of limited partnerships.
The financial services sector along with the tourism industry are the two main economic drivers in the territory.
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