Twitter Logo Youtube Circle Icon LinkedIn Icon

British Virgin Islands > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Doing Business in the BVI

Contributed by Appleby

Business Environment

The British Virgin Islands (BVI) is a UK overseas territory with a population of approximately 32,000. Its economy, considered one of the most stable and prosperous in the Caribbean, is dependent on tourism and the offshore financial sector. The BVI is a well-established, sophisticated financial centre offering accounting, banking, legal services, captive insurance, insolvency practitioners, company incorporations, mutual funds administration, investment management and advisory services, trust formation and administration, and marine vessel and aircraft registration.

A 2017 report by Capital Economics examining the BVI’s contribution to the world economy noted that the assets held by BVI business companies had an estimated worldwide value of USD1.5 trillion.

Read more…

Legal market overview

In addition to its reputation as a tourism destination, the British Virgin Islands (BVI) is a highly attractive destination for international business and for the offshore registration of companies.

Partly due to high-profile scandals, such as the Panama Papers, which revealed the real owners behind thousands of shell companies - over half of which were set up in the BVI - the jurisdiction, however, recently faced challenges to its reputation.

Meanwhile, the BVI beneficial ownership regime came into force in June 2017; it created a secure, non-public search platform called BOSS (Beneficial Ownership Secure Search System), giving effect to commitments made to the UK to facilitate the sharing of beneficial ownership information.

In 2017, the jurisdiction experienced a new entrant when Channel Islands-based law firm Collas Crill merged with BVI legal practice Farara Kerins to become Collas Crill Farara Kerins, named as such for a transitional period in the BVI; while high-profile moves included Maples and Calder hiring corporate lawyer Christopher Newton from Ogier, which itself recruited senior commercial litigator Nicholas Burkill from Dorsey & Whitney, where he headed the London trial group. Other significant news included Maples and Calder’s former funds and regulatory head Tim Clipstone leaving the firm; BVI litigation and trusts head Arabella di Iorio intends to join Advocates BVI.

This year the Legal 500 introduces banking, finance and capital markets and real estate sections into the BVI chapter to reflect the growth of these practice areas. In real estate, the jurisdiction’s lawyers regularly advise overseas investors, purchasing property in the BVI, on the requirement for a Non-Belonger Land Holding Licence.

It would be remiss of us to ignore the ‘Paradise Papers’ leak of November 2017, which involved the leaking of millions of financial documents that were quickly obtained by the press. Over half of those documents came from Appleby and Estera, Appleby’s former fiduciary arm. Naturally, this led to much international press attention for Appleby, which was founded in Bermuda and also has offices in the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands.

It remains to be seen the extent to which this adverse publicity will impact the firm’s reputational credibility (and thereby the volume and consistency of its work for a premium client base). But at this stage – we write this mere weeks after the leak – it is too early to allow even this level of press attention to affect our rankings.

The In-House Lawyer

International comparative guides

In association with a leading international law firm, Legalease are producing a series of online country comparative legal guides, designed to give the in-house community greater insight to the law and regulations in unfamiliar jurisdictions.

Interview with...

Law firm partners and practice heads explain how their firms are adapting to clients' changing needs

Press releases

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to

Legal Developments in British Virgin Islands

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to

Press Releases worldwide

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to