The BVI is a British overseas territory. BVI law is comprised of locally enacted legislation supplemented by BVI common law precedent. Decisions of the courts of England and Wales, and other countries within the Commonwealth, are of persuasive authority.
The court system in the BVI is part of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court. For civil matters, the High Court is the court of first instance. The High Court also has a Commercial Division, often referred to as the Commercial Court, which is cited in the BVI and hears many of our jurisdiction’s international and large-scale disputes. Appeals from the High Court, including the Commercial Division, go up to the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal. Any appeals from the Court of Appeal go to the Privy Council in London.
The BVI has a reputation for having a reliable and efficient legal system. However, various measures have been taken in recent years to establish itself as a centre for international arbitration.
The BVI International Arbitration Centre (BVI IAC), an independent not-for-profit institution, was established to meet the demands of the international business community for a neutral, impartial, efficient, and reliable dispute resolution institution in the Caribbean, Latin America and beyond.
The Arbitration Act, through which the BVI largely adopted the UNCITRAL Model Law, and the BVI's accession to the New York Convention on 25 May 2014, have played a pivotal role in the establishment of the BVI as a viable and internationally respected arbitration centre.
Lord Goldsmith singled out the BVI International Arbitration Centre as having the potential to become the “best thought out and thus most popular” centre in the region. A well-run and well-equipped state of the art centre, together with the acknowledged quality of the BVI legal framework and the stable political environment offered by a British Overseas Territory, will enable the BVI to rapidly become a leading arbitration hub in Latin America, the Caribbean and, beyond.