Legal market overview in British Virgin Islands

The British Virgin Islands (BVI) remains a highly attractive business destination for the offshore registration of companies and modern legal framework. Around 500,000 foreign businesses are incorporated in the BVI and approximately 40% of all offshore companies in the world are BVI registered.

Confirming the BVI’s commitment to international best practices, The Economic Substance (Companies and Limited Partnership) Act 2018 (ESA) came into force in early 2019; this was in response to the concerns of the EU Code of Conduct Group for Business Taxation and requires certain legal entities incorporated or registered in the BVI to maintain economic substance in the jurisdiction. To supplement the ESA, in April 2019 the BVI International Tax Authority published a draft Economic Substance Code that contains rules on how the economic substance requirements can be met.

Notable developments among the jurisdiction's law firms include the introduction of Collas Crill, which launched its BVI office in 2017 following a merger with local firm Farara Kerins, appointing Ian Montgomery (previously located in its Jersey office) as head of corporate, finance and funds in the BVI. Elsewhere, following the relocation of Walkers BVI's former managing partner David Collins to the firm's Cayman Islands' office, Patrick Ormond now heads up the BVI office.