Legal Market Overview
The elite of the English commercial Bar are known for their international practices, and this includes work in international financial centres and offshore jurisdictions. What exactly constitutes an offshore jurisdiction is subject to debate, but this section includes within its scope the Anglophone jurisdictions in The Legal 500 Caribbean, in which English counsel can easily obtain rights of audience to appear before the courts. Moving towards Europe, it also includes Gibraltar and the Isle of Man, which also to varying extents are open to the London Bar, as well as advisory work assisting litigation in Jersey and Guernsey, where advocacy is reserved for the local Bar before the local courts. The common thread linking these jurisdictions is that the apex court of these British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies is the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, in effect the UK Supreme Court sitting under another name, before which London silks are almost always used. This section does not consider the Dubai International Financial Centre, or Abu Dhabi Global Market as Offshore jurisdictions – these are covered in The English Bar in the Middle East section of The Legal 500 EMEA.
Much of this work is now the staple of the Chancery Bar’s work, thanks to global wealth’s preference for offshore rather than onshore trusts, as well as the international popularity of company structures in the British Overseas Territories. In addition, more mainstream commercial disputes appear in international financial centres, spanning professional negligence, the enforcement of arbitral awards and foreign judgments, civil fraud and more, and this section also includes related public law matters and a number of those who have expertise in other areas of law in these jurisdictions.
Unlike Asia-Pacific, which has seen sets create small presences in Singapore, and more like the Middle East, chambers have resisted the temptation to plant flags on the ground in the Caribbean, which would pose its own challenges. Instead, in person hearings are handled on a fly-in-fly-out basis from London, although a number of jurisdictions listed continued to be working on the basis that hearings are remote by default in late 2022, given the long lead-up times to multi-week complex trials, coupled with the need to provide judges for cases and Covid-19 travel restrictions into early 2022.