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Getting “Schooled” in Nord Anglia – Extra Safeguards for Companies Facing Appraisal Litigation in Cayman

In Nord Anglia, Justice Kawaley made directions orders regarding the use of key word searches, the number and scope of information requests and the conduct of management meetings consistent with the orders made in the recent Xiaodou case. 

However, the judgment went further, providing welcome safeguards for companies facing appraisal litigation in the Cayman Islands if adopted on a wider basis.

The Company, which operates international schools, expressed concern about the confidentiality of both proprietary research and staff personal information. Accordingly, it sought specific protection of highly sensitive documents (HSDs). While the directions granted did not go as far as the Company originally proposed, they expressly allow redaction of HSDs, strictly limit who can view unredacted HSDs (experts and counsel, not dissenter clients) and where the Dissenters’ expert wishes to refer to HSDs in a memorandum or draft report to be shared with dissenter clients, only the redacted versions of the relevant HSD may be mentioned.

Addressing the issue of management meetings , Justice Kawaley acknowledged the problematic history and inconsistent approaches to management meetings to date (see Trina, E-Commerce and KongZhong) with some meetings held on a “without prejudice” basis and others being “open”. Having put safeguards in place similar to those set out in the Xiaodu ruling, Justice Kawaley went further granting the Company’s request that only experts and local lawyers (not dissenter clients) attend the meetings finding that “a ‘professionals only’ attendance restriction is more likely to be conducive to the free flow of information”.

While there is no set of standard directions in Cayman appraisal proceedings, Justice Kawaley expressed the need “to strive for a consistent approach to similar issues on the part of the various judges” of the Grand Court. The authors of this blog believe that the Xiaodu and Nord Anglia directions form the basis of an improved suite of standard directions, subject to any necessary fact specific issues, for the future.

 

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