BVI Governor released new legal services General Licence and accompanying reporting requirements
On 13 October 2023, the BVI Governor issued General Licence No. 5 2023 (payment of reasonable professional legal fees and expenses), replacing General Licence No. 3.
Under this new General Licence, BVI legal practitioners who provide legal services to designated persons can receive payments without needing a specific licence, provided that the conditions in the licence are adhered to. The new General Licence also covers expenses for these designated individuals.
Changes to caps:
- Professional legal fees caps and expenses under the new General Licence have been reset. Users can now make use of legal fees caps of up to US$600,000 and expenses caps of up to10 per cent of the legal fees ie up to US$60,000) under Parts A and B of the new General Licence.
- Fees and expenses paid under the previous General Licence will not count toward these caps.
- The new General Licence allows the combining of the two legal fees caps (ie under the old and the new General Licences) to potentially allowing payments to be made up to US$1.2 million for certain cases.
- Professional legal fees and expenses for defamation cases are not covered by the new General Licence.
This new licence is valid for six months and expires on 13 April 2024.
BVI legal practitioners who use the new General Licence must report payments to the BVI Governor within seven days of receipt and keep the financial records for up to six years.