SPECIAL PRACTISING CERTIFICATES ISSUED SUBJECT TO PRIOR APPLICATION AND BAR COUNCIL APPROVAL:
The Bar Council has reviewed its guidelines on admission of foreign leading counsel and the issuance of Special Practicing Certificates. Under the guidelines, Bar Council review the propriety of the use of foreign leading counsel for each hearing in which a client wishes them to appear before the Bermuda courts and for each application for a work permit from the Department of Immigration. If Bar Council determines that the use of foreign leading counsel is appropriate, then it issues a Special Practicing Certificate to that counsel for that hearing. Under Rule 7(2)(a) of the Bermuda Bar (Practicing Certificate) Rules 1984, “for a hearing before the Commercial Court or any appeal from the Commercial Court, without legal aid”, the fee is $2000.00 for each such hearing or application to the Department of Immigration, with a further fee of $350 per application for any additional hearing coming out of the same matter thereafter and which are subject to Bar Council prior approval. The fee payable to the Bermuda Bar Association to issue a Special Practising Certificate for Criminal matters shall be $250
COVID-19 QC APPLICATION PROTOCOL IN RELATION TO VIDEO LINK HEARINGS HELD IN THE BERMUDA COURTS
Due to challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Bermuda Courts have in some instances arranged for hearings to take place via video link. Where this is the case law firms are still required to submit Special Admission applications to Bar Council for review and approval when and where appropriate to do so. Work permits are not currently required for QCs who will not be conducting an in person case on island, that said all of the other usual steps remain in place and should be followed. Upon receiving Bar Council's approval for QCs, please submit a completed Fit & Proper Person (FPP) and Special Practising Certificate application form to the Bar Office for processing. If the hearing is to be held virtually, please indicate on the Special Practising Certificate application form 3 Rule 5 item #2 by crossing off the "valid work permit " sentence by replacing with the wording "virtual hearing scheduled due to Pandemic". Copies of the FPP and Special Practising Certificates will be provided to the Registrar of the Supreme Court to place in the Judges file.
FIT & PROPER PERSON CERTIFICATE REQUIREMENT (Bermuda Bar (Practising Certificate) Rules 1984
Application by Barrister (Form 3) for special practising certificate Rule 5 (2) An application shall be accompanied by the certificate refered to in 12 (1) (a) of the Act.
Senior Counsel or Queen’s Counsel (QCs) applying for Special Admission for a particular case. Please note that Senior Counsel or QCs who have received prior approval by Bar Council that foreign counsel is appropriate for the hearing in question who is to be issued a Special Practising Certificate are also required to submit a Fit & Proper Person Certificate either by their relevant authority in the jurisdiction of legal practice of the barrister, or if time permits applications may be made through the Bar Office.Please apply to the Bar Office in advance allowing for 10 days for the background check to take place.The form is available under the Association Membership Tab. The fee is $100 with the Certificate valid for 90 days once issued.
SPECIAL PRACTISING CERTIFICATE APPLICATION PROCESS WITH THE BAR OFFICE (following approval of the application from Bar Council)
Due to the short window available to issue the Certificate to the QC, in good faith and on the understanding that the signed order of admission will be submitted to the Bar Office, please prepare your QC/Special Counsel Special Practising Certificate (‘SPC”) application as follows:
- Complete Special Practising Certificate Application (form 3)
- Provide copy of the Work Permit (once received). If hearing is scheduled via video link, a Work Permit is not required.
- Include a Fit & Proper Person Certificate issued by Bermuda Bar Council or by the QC's relevant authority (not a Certificate of Good Standing)
- Provide a copy of the "Draft Admission Order" until the "Original" is signed by the Court. Signing of the Roll occasionally takes place the day before the actual Court hearing (submit signed scanned copy to the Bar Office once received)
- One time name of QC/Special Counsel will be entered by the Registrar onto the Roll for the duration of the approved proceedings and will include any follow up hearings coming out of the same matter. If there is a change in QC/Special Counsel a new application is to be provided to Bar Council and opposing counsel for consideration. In the case of Virtual hearings, signing of the Roll is not necessary at this time, however this procedure may be subject to change.
- Fee of $2,000, or $350 for additional hearing coming out of the same matter if maintain same counsel as initial hearing.
A scanned copy of the Special Practising Certificate along with the Fit & Proper Person Certificate is provided by the Bar Office to the Registrar of the Supreme Court to place in the Judge’s file in advance of the hearing.
QC'S OPERATING IN BERMUDA & OBLIGATIONS TO THE OFFICE OF THE TAX COMMISSIONER:
Joelene Lindsay, MBA, CIA, Senior Tax Auditor asks that law firms who bring in QC’s who have provided services in Bermuda be made aware of the requirement to register for Payroll Tax in accordance with the Taxes Management Act 1976.
The updated Payroll Tax registration form & Tax Inactive form can be found at https://www.gov.bm/registering-changing-or-closing-tax-account. These forms must be forwarded to all QC’s who will be providing services here at any point in the future.
The Office of the Tax Commissioner would appreciate your cooperation in ensuring that all QC’s operate in accordance with Bermuda’s tax laws. Should you have any questions please free to email the Tax Office at firstname.lastname@example.org
QC Payroll Tax Guidance Notes (Updated by Tax Commissioner 19 July 2018)