Solicitor General says Regional Insolvency Treaty Needed


Solicitor General, Douglas Leys Q.C. has expressed the view that there is need for a CARICOM Regional Insolvency Pact, which would ensure greater creditability and elements of certainty in the regional trading block.
To this end, Mr. Leys argued that the possibility exists for a special jurisdiction for the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), in respect of insolvencies arising out of the Treaty.
“If the treaty is amended or there is a separate insolvency treaty among CARICOM states, a specialised jurisdiction could be conferred on the CCJ to adjudicate on insolvency claims where a state fails to enact local law in accordance with the insolvency treaty,” Mr. Leys said.
He put forward this argument on Friday (March 26) as he addressed participants in the three-day Conference being held under the heading “Bank Insolvency in the Caribbean: Law and best practice” at the Rose Hall Resort and Spa in Montego Bay (March 24 to 26).
“I am of the view that there should be a special jurisdiction for the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) the adjudicating arm of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, so that where trade disputes arise in the treaty, the CCJ has exclusive jurisdictions to adjudicate both claims from states and individuals under the revised treaty,” Mr. Leys noted.
Pointing out that cross border insolvencies could be complex and protracted, the Solicitor General expressed the view that there was a strong case for reforming the insolvency laws throughout the region.
“Common insolvency regime would boost investor confidence as trade and commerce would benefit from clear rules of law,” he added.
“If we are to go by way of a regional insolvency treaty, then that treaty should also confer on the CCJ a special jurisdiction to deal with these issues which will inevitably arise. I would therefore recommend that this become a state obligation and if in a cross border insolvency, a creditor or investor finds that he has been prejudiced because of the failure of a country to enact the provisions in accordance with the treaty then he could launch a claim in the CCJ for relief against that particular state,” Mr. Leys suggested.
He further expressed the view that this would give an element of certainty and predictability which investors were looking for when they carried out their activities in a regional trading block and would “certainly enhance the credibility of the region as a whole.”
“Based on the foregoing, it is my hope that CARICOM governments will act now and address these issues before it is too late. Failure to act now is to court a disaster,” the Solicitor General added.

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