Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Moot - Issues related to the law of trusts and estate planning

Announcement of winners: (l-r) Tonya Bastian Galanis, Principal of the Law School, Jatequa Bain, Christina Davis, Megan Curry and Cecil Ferguson, Chairman of STEP Bahamas Branch

By Dwana Davis-Imhoff

On April 6 2017 the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) Bahamas Branch  and the Commercial & Financial Services Clinic of the Eugene Dupuch Law School (CFS Clinic) hosted a Moot involving issues related to the law of trusts and estate planning.

The issues were derived from an intricately crafted Moot Question which involved a dispute between 3 parties with competing claims to assets held in a bank account over which the settlor had declared a trust for his wife and children for him to distribute to any or all of them upon his discretion during his lifetime.  Sean McWeeney, QC, Partner, of Graham Thompson prepared the Moot Question.

The Moot was an amalgamation of the annual STEP Moot and the International Commercial and Financial Services Law Moot of the CFS Clinic.  This Moot celebrated and highlighted the local young legal talent who represent the vibrant future of the financial services industry and also exposed the participating CFS Clinic students to training by experts in the industry and provided them with an invaluable mentorship experience.

Three of the major law firms in The Bahamas represented the parties: Higgs & Johnson, STEP 2012 Moot winner, Graham Thompson and McKinney, Bancroft & Hughes, STEP 2010 Moot winner.  Each team comprised junior attorneys (under 7 years of call) from the participating firms, and Eugene Dupuch Law School students enrolled in the CFS Clinic.

 The distinguished members of the panel of judges were The Honourable Mr. Justice Ganpatsingh, Consultant, Lennox Paton; The Honourable Mr. Justice K Neville Adderley, Justice of the Court of Appeal of the Turks & Caicos Islands and retired Justice of the Court of Appeal of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas; and Thomas Evans QC, Partner, Evans & Co.

In the end, the team which represented Graham Thompson won the competition.  The members of the Graham Thompson team are Christina Davis, Associate and advocate; Megan Curry, law student and student advocate; Jatequa Bain, law student and research assistant; Robert Adams, Partner, Leif Farquharson, Partner; and John Minns, Partner.

The Higgs & Johnson team was a close second, followed by the McKinney, Bancroft & Hughes team. Theo Burrows, Associate and advocate; Fania Joseph, law student and student advocate; and Jayel Gibson, law student and research assistant, represented Higgs & Johnson.  Krysta Moxey, Associate and advocate; Erin Turnquest Associate and research assistant; and Berchel Wilson, law student and student advocate, represented McKinney, Bancroft & Hughes.

The Moot was attended by STEP members, students and faculty of the Law School and members of The Bahamas Bar Association.

Panel of Judges: (l-r) The Honourable Mr Justice K Neville Adderley, Justice of the Court of Appeal of the Turks & Caicos Islands and Retired Justice of the Court of Appeal of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas; The Honourable Mr Justice Ganpatsingh (Ret.), Consultant, Lennox Paton; Thomas Evans QC, Partner, Evans & Co

 Winning team: (seated) Moot team in front (standing) attorneys in the firm of Graham Thomson

 Moot Teams: (first row) Team Higgs & Johsnon: Fania Joseph, Jayel Gibson and Theo Burrows  (second row) Team Graham, Thompson: Megan Curry, Jatequa Bain and Christina Davis (third row) Team McKinney, Bancroft & Hughes: Berchel Wilson, Erin Turnquest and Krysta Moxey

 Attendees considering the arguments of the Moot teams

 (seated) Judges of the Moot (standing) Advocates from each of the 3 Moot Teams

 (seated) Sean McWeeney QC and Judges of the Moot (standing) representatives from EDLS and STEP Bahamas