The Legal 500

Isle of Man

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Although e-gaming remains a growing sector and an important part of the Isle of Man’s economy, many firms have reported that the number of instructions they have received has diminished. Aside from a handful of large transactions, companies in this sector have seemingly not been in need of much external legal advice.

Similarly, while there are many private space-travel and satellite companies based on the island, this industry is not a major source of legal work.

The same is not true of the shipping and aviation sectors, which have been lucrative sources of instructions for several firms. The jurisdiction’s shipping and aircraft registries remain a success, the latter being especially popular for business-jet owners. The majority of work comes from banks acting as lenders in financing transactions, or from those wishing to establish aircraft-leasing agreements.

Litigation departments have generally reported a busy 2014, and instructions have come from a range of sources, notably trust companies and onshore firms seeking Manx advocates to represent Isle of Man-based clients in major disputes. Representations at the employment tribunal have been common. It will be interesting to see how the landscape changes if the tribunal fees are introduced and if the island’s legislature passes an Equality Bill, based on the UK’s Equality Act 2010.

The market for legal services is a stable one: there have been no significant mergers in 2014, and few new entrants. Appleby remains the only firm with real multi-jurisdictional capability and, with Cains, it is one of the two largest firms on the island. Behind them in terms of headcount are DQ Advocates (formerly Dougherty Quinn) and Simcocks. There are several smaller firms on the island offering a variety of services, including M&P Legal and MannBenham Advocates Limited, as well as litigation boutiques such as Gough Law.

Major personnel changes included the departure of Paul Kerruish from DQ Advocates in September 2014, and Kevin O’Riordan’s move from Simcocks to Kelly Luft Stanley Ashton in July 2014.

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