Firm Profile > McKinney, Bancroft & Hughes > Nassau, Bahamas

McKinney, Bancroft & Hughes
PO BOX N-3937

Corporate law (including banking, finance and M&A) Tier 2

Working in conjunction with the firm’s litigation department, the corporate team at McKinney, Bancroft & Hughes has considerable experience across a range of commercial and corporate law matters. In addition to day-to-day advice including assisting with entity establishments and management issues, the group handles regulatory compliance matters relating to liquidations, estate and tax planning work, credit facilities, bond reductions, debt restructurings and corporate restructuring. Names to note are senior partner John Wilson QC, transactional specialist Campbell Cleare III and Kimberley Rolle, who sits as chair of the corporate and commercial transactions practice. The team’s client roster ranges from ultra-high-net-worth individuals and domestic corporations to large multinational companies. April Turner, who leads the financial services and regulation practice, and senior associate Gia Sands are also key names to note.

Practice head(s):


‘We have always received a fully professional service, especially in respect to the companies law. We have always received competent and precise support in respect of our actions. The team of McKinney Bancroft & Hughes consist of the qualified persons, who complement each other. That makes us feel fully supported and secured and we are more than happy to entrust McKinney Bancroft & Hughes with our matters. Undoubtedly, McKinney Bancroft & Hughes are a recommendable firm.’

‘April Turner’s conscientiousness makes her stand out. She pays attention to the point of her clients view and always provides the favourable solution to them.’

‘Efficient and all work together well with clients interest at heart. They consult with each other to provide the best possible service and have members on the team that specialise in different areas.’

‘I came to MB&H because of Campbell Cleare who I’ve know for many years. When I began to need legal advice and assistance I knew there was nowhere else for me to go but to this man who had built an outstanding career and reputation. I trust no one more with my personal legal needs. Campbell is well respected in the community and give solid well thought out advice and follows thru in a timely manner.’

‘Gia Sands has become a lawyer that I am very comfortable with and trust. Gia is always available to discuss issues. I can call on her day or night. Gia is quick to respond and quick to see things get done. Gia is kind but firm and operates with caution to ensure advice given is good and proper. I am extremely pleased with Gia’s work and her work ethic.’

‘Deal with Campbell Cleare, Gia Sands and April Turner. They are all knowledgeable in how to address matters and find solutions in a very friendly, responsive, knowledgeable manner.’

‘My lawyer Mr Campbell Clear is someone I trust and respect. I know he works on my behalf. Mr. Cleare has given me sound advice and acts quickly to deal with my various issues. Along with Mr. Cleare I am grateful for Gia Sands who is always available , gives good sound advice in a timely manner. I trust them both completely with any and all my business and personal affairs.’

Key clients

RAV Bahamas Ltd.

Mitsubishi Logistics Corporation

Lyford Holdings N.V.

Neworld One Bay Street Limited

Dispute resolution Tier 2

Led by the experienced John Wilson QC, who has carved out a strong arbitration practice in the region, McKinney, Bancroft & Hughes specialises in commercial litigation. Shareholder disputes, contractual claims, trust litigation and insolvency mandates are key pillars of the practice, which also has particular expertise in the insurance, financial services and construction sectors. Acting as chair of the firm’s trust and private client practice, Sean Moree represents multinational corporations and ultra-high-net-worth families in a range of commercial and trust disputes including derivative actions, third-party claims and restructurings. Other key names include Genell Sands, who is active before the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal, and Kevin Moree, who co-leads the tax and trade practice group.

Practice head(s):


‘Partner Vanessa Lee Smith is not only an outstanding solutions oriented lawyer, she is very responsive to all our legal needs.’

‘I have found that my representation is done with my interest at heart. Good sound advice is always offered and recommendations made to help resolve issues rather than prolong them.’

‘Extremely pronounced technical skills. Solution driven approach Client management skills.’

‘The quality of service rendered by John Wilson QC and the tenacity and dedication with which he inspires his direct Associates to roll up their sleeves and defend the clients’ best interest.’

‘Prompt access and profound knowledge of local legislative framework. Solid strategic thought process and positioning of the appropriate case law for the positive outcome of the disputes.’

‘I think they have the most respected litigation practice in the country, decades of experience and therefore great research capacity. They do thorough work and you get what you pay for. Hardly any firm in the Bahamas can match their set of skills and capacities.’

‘Sean Moree – very fast, great wealth of knowledge, especially on Bahamas jurisdictional issues. Despite his fairly young age he already has great experience and ties his firm’s specialists well into a case team if needed.’

‘Kevin Moree worked hard in the case. He always kept the client updated on the matter. Kevin deserves recommendation for sure.’

Key clients

Private Trust Corporation Limited

Lyford International Bank

EFG Bank Bahamas

Executors of the Estate of James Martin

Butterfield Trust

First Caribbean International Bank (Bahamas) Ltd.

Real estate Tier 2

McKinney, Bancroft & Hughes' real estate practice attracts praise for its 'responsiveness and thoroughness' and has expertise in handling matters ranging from residential deals for high-net-worth individuals and families to high-value development projects including luxury hotels and large-scale condominiums for multinational developers. Kimberley Rolle, who is a key real estate lawyer at the firm, focuses on transactions in the hospitality and tourism sectors. Other names to note include senior associate Gia Sands and Timothy Eneas, who has extensive experience in conveyancing and property litigation, specifically title issues and property rights work.

Practice head(s):


‘Responsiveness and thoroughness. In our experience, Gia Sands and Campbell Cleare provide prompt, well-considered responses to queries. They also proactively follow-up on outstanding matters.’

‘Gia Sands and Campbell Cleare provide courteous, prompt, and efficient service. They are also able to clearly articulate legal concepts and positions in terms that the client understands.’

‘We have used them several times for real estate work over the years. You just know that they do the job properly. Thorough title research and they wont forget a single item on the expansive to do list. Gives any buyer or seller confidence that they are looked after.’

‘Sean Moree – good handling of cases, delegates and works well with associates, but also very strong in communication with third parties or opposition. Gia Sands – very efficient and thorough when executing the legal work on property deals. persistent on getting all done correctly, and communicates well with client.’

‘The interaction with the team at McKinney Bancroft & Hughes was extremely professional yet personal.’

‘My interaction with Gia Sands of McKinney Bancroft & Hughes really exemplified professionalism and personalisation joining hands. The experience with Gia made me comfortable where I knew my transaction was getting the attention required and I was informed throughout the process of how things were moving along. I was given reasonable expectations and knew exactly what to expect along the way. The process was seamless. I would certainly recommend Gia and McKinney for property transactions.’

‘Attentive to needs of clients, competent, personable team. Team takes a proactive approach to problem solving and meeting needs of clients. Very good at relationship building and going above and beyond to meet the needs of clients in a timely fashion. Exceptionally responsive with emails.’

‘The team is highly knowledgeable, results driven and accessible. Associate Gia Sands is smart, affable and dedicated to needs of her clients. She has ability to “think out the box” to provide effective and innovative solutions for her clients. Always positive! Partner Kimberley Rolle exudes calm and confidence in legal problem solving. Partner Campbell Cleare is thoughtful and insightful in his approach to legal practice. Team represents diversity and competence at its best!’

‘McKinney Bancroft & Hughes’ team is comprised of top notch, intelligent individuals that keep its clients and client objectives as its highest priority. There was never a time that we felt that disregarded or that they were not willing to put down their pencils to talk to us or to respond to our questions or concerns. Their attention to detail and the speed at which they respond to requests is unmatched. They are fully capable of what any client could throw at them and I would not hesitate for an instance of contacting them with any issue.’

‘They genuinely care about their clients and it shows in their work and effort. They practically become a part of the company and we view their insight, intelligence and integrity at the highest level.’

Key clients

Pineapple Grove Limited

Leeward Yacht Club


McKinney, Bancroft & Hughes is one of the largest and oldest firms in The Bahamas

McKINNEY, BANCROFT & HUGHES is one of the largest and oldest firms in The Bahamas and conducts an extensive international and domestic practice from its offices in the cities of Nassau and Freeport. Established in 1945, the Firm’s philosophy of delivering superior levels of service by industry specialists was established by its founding partners, Donald McKinney, Sir Oswald Bancroft and Sir Leonard Knowles. Dr. Colin A. Hughes joined the partnership in 1947 following the departure of Sir Leonard Knowles and the Firm was restyled McKinney, Bancroft & Hughes.

Since its inception McKinney, Bancroft & Hughes has grown from a small practice of three attorneys with a support staff of three to a team of over thirty attorneys with a support staff of more than one hundred.  Originally housed in a single office in the Boyle Building, downtown Nassau, in 1990 the firm moved to offices located on George Street in the heart of Nassau. McKinney, Bancroft & Hughes also has offices at Lyford Cay in Western New Providence and in Freeport, the nation’s second city, on the Island of Grand Bahama.

Each client of the firm is the responsibility of an individual lawyer, through whom the collective expertise and resources of the firm become available. While each client’s work is handled on a personal basis, the high degree of interchange of information and cooperation between individual attorneys ensures that the client’s work is effectively supervised and guided within the firm to the appropriate areas of expertise.

The Firm is The Bahamas member of Lex Mundi, a Global Association of over 160 Independent Law Firms that represent over 60 countries. High professional standards of performance and quality representation are the main membership selection criteria. Through the effective and efficient professional association of Lex Mundi, the Firm is able to respond to requirements for legal services throughout the markets of the world and virtually every country.

Founded principally as a corporate and commercial firm, today McKinney, Bancroft & Hughes is engaged in the general practice of law and services its clientele through the expertise of its attorneys in over 35 practice areas.

Department Name Email Telephone
Trusts & Private Client John F. Wilson 1 (242) 322-4195
Competition Law Kimberley A. Rolle 1 (242) 322-4195
Family Law Justine A. Smith 1 (242) 322-4195
Real Estate Lourey C. Smith 1 (242) 362-7723
Admiralty, Shipping & Aviation H. Campbell Cleare, III 1 (242) 322-4195
Banking & Finance J. Oliver Liddell 1 (242) 322-4195
Tax & Trade Beatrice E. Miranda 1 (242) 322-4195
Immigration H. Campbell Cleare, III 1 (242) 322-4195
Litigation & Dispute Resolution John F. Wilson 1 (242) 322-4195
Corporate & Commercial Lourey C. Smith 1 (242) 362-7723
Foreign & Local Investment H. Campbell Cleare, III 1 (242) 322-4195
Labour & Employment Justine A. Smith 1 (242) 322-4195
Financial Services & Regulation April N. Turner 1 (242) 322-4195
Photo Name Position Profile
Ms Peteche Bethell  photo Ms Peteche Bethell Pupil
Mr Alexander Christie photo Mr Alexander Christie Partner Specializes in commercial transactions, and is particularly experienced with matters involving…
Mr Miguel Darling  photo Mr Miguel Darling Associate – Trusts & Private Client
Mrs Michelle Deveaux photo Mrs Michelle Deveaux Partner, Trusts and Private Client, Competition Law, Labour & Employment Law
Miss Demi Forbes  photo Miss Demi Forbes Associate
Mrs Vanessa Hall  photo Mrs Vanessa Hall Associate in areas of Real Estate, Private Wealth Client, Corporate and Commercial,…
Mrs Erin Hill  photo Mrs Erin Hill Associate Erin M. Hill is an associate of the firm who is…
Miss D'Andra Johnson photo Miss D'Andra Johnson D’Andra is an Associate at McKinney Bancroft & Hughes. Her practice focuses…
Mrs Beatrice Miranda photo Mrs Beatrice Miranda Partner (Working in the above-mentioned practice areas).
Mr Sean Moree photo Mr Sean Moree Partner Sean N.C. Moree chairs the Trust & Private Client Practice Group…
Mr Kevin Moree photo Mr Kevin Moree Partner Co-chair of Tax & Trade practice group: Advise clients on issues…
Mrs Gia Sands photo Mrs Gia Sands Gia R. Sands is developing a reputation for collegiality in addition to…
Mrs Vanessa Smith photo Mrs Vanessa Smith Partner – Commercial and Civil Litigation, Trust law, General Business Law and…
Mrs Justine Smith  photo Mrs Justine Smith Partner – Family Law, Labour  & Employment
Mr John Willson photo Mr John Willson Senior Partner, Chair of MBH Executive Committee
Lex Mundi
The Legal 500
Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners (STEP)

John F. Wilson QC, Senior Partner

Senior Partner John F. Wilson QC discusses why timely efficient and excellent client service is his firm’s competitive advantage

What do you see as the main points that differentiate McKinney, Bancroft & Hughes (MBH) from your competitors?

– Responsiveness. All of our lawyers are under strict directives to respond to every client email within 24 hours. We can say we have excellent attorneys, while we believe our attorneys are the best in the Bahamas, other firms also have excellent attorneys, but it is our responsiveness that sets us apart from our competitors.

– A culture of efficiency. MBH has provided world class legal solutions since its formation in 1945, we continue to do so aided by our Association with Lex Mundi the leading network of independent law firms.

Which practises do you see growing in the next 12 months? What are the drivers behind that?

Tax & Trade and Trust and Private Client practice groups.

Tax & Trade

The introduction of value added tax in The Bahamas has resulted in a paradigm shift in how The Bahamian government raises revenue and this has resulted in an entirely new practice area. There is a significant amount of work to be done in assisting clients to navigate the new landscape.

Trust and Private Client

With the recent changes in how international financial centres operate, ushered in by the initiatives implemented by various multinational bodies, a generous amount of work is being created in dealing with issues such as registers of beneficial ownership, legislative substance requirements and base erosion and profit sharing legislation. Ultra High Net Worth individuals will now need lawyers adept at navigating this landscape.

What’s the main change you’ve made in the firm that will benefit clients?

MBH recently re-launched its website which widens our outreach to clients and offers a better opportunity to manage market ideals while making more information available to our client base. By providing a more user-friendly platform we have leveraged this medium to better inform clients and meet their needs.

Is technology changing the way you interact with your clients, and the services you can provide them?

Absolutely, it provides us with the opportunity for connective thinking. As a firm we have certainly embraced technological advances to transform our service platform in a way that makes for better interaction with clients, and we have also capitalized on the way in which technology has improved productivity.

Our firm operates on a bank of connected databases and we have always utilized technology to grow and maintain the links of service between our several offices in Nassau New Providence, Freeport Grand Bahama and in Lyford Cay. This day-to-day use of technology has also proved useful in providing efficiency to clients we serve in various time zones and markets. MBH has recently taken advantage of practice management and knowledge management software, keeping our practitioners accountable and significantly improving productivity. However, the most impactful and rewarding enhancement to client interaction which we have seen is with the use of social media to transform our customer relationship management.

Can you give us a practical example of how you helped a client add value to their business?

This is certainly a forte of our strong team in the Trusts and Private Client practice comprising of diverse legal backgrounds and years of experience in complex commercial litigation and wealth management advice. A ready example of our innovative solutions-based service to clients can be found in our service to a longstanding family owned group of entities which include the largest local retailers in the pharmaceutical business and manufacturers/wholesalers of home improvement supplies and construction materials, with a combined net worth of $150 million. The recent restructuring of this group of entities for tax efficiency and wealth management purposes prepared the group for, and optimized its value in the wake of, the implementation of a new tax regime in The Bahamas.

Are clients looking for stability and strategic direction from their law firms? – where do you see the firm in three years’ time?

Yes I certainly believe so. Recent transitions at MBH have proved that stability and strategic direction is imperative for most clients. We have always provided long-standing contributions to the legal profession. As one of the oldest law firms in the Bahamas having been established in 1945, our founding Partners and many of our practitioners who have led the profession at the Bar, have gone on to make stellar contributions to the Judiciary. This has meant that MBH has had to maintain client confidence in the stability provided by experienced and competent legal minds by offering premium efficiency and excellence with innovative and strategic thinking. The ability to manage client’s expectations while delivering quality service, will position the firm over the next 3 years to smoothly transition while appealing to a younger more demanding client demographic.