What is the effect of transitional provisions in an enactment? How do they relate to the other provisions in the same enactment?
Essentially, transitional provisions in an enactment (principal or subsidiary) outline precisely when and how specified operative parts in the enactment are to take effect. They are designed to facilitate a transition from an existing regime to a new regime.
As Thornton (in his book titled “Legislative Drafting”) outlines, “The function of a transitional provision is to make special provision for the application of legislation to the circumstances which exist at the time when that legislation comes into force”. Transitional provisions in an enactment therefore give effect to existing scenarios/matters by outlining how (and when) they should be treated and modify the application of the substantive provisions in the enactment. They must therefore not be read in isolation and, unless they are specifically excluded with respect to existing scenarios/matters, they must be given effect.
Section 248 of the BVI Business Companies Act, 2004, (“BVIBCA”) specifically provides that “the transitional provisions set out in Schedule 2 apply” and that Schedule has the heading “Transitional Provisions”. The effect of the Schedule is to outline how companies under the old regimes (CapCo and IBC) would be treated or transitioned into the BVIBCA and, unless otherwise specifically excluded, the transitional provisions apply to those companies and matters relative to them to the exclusion of any other provision in the Act. Division 5 of Part IV of Schedule 2 of the Act is headed “Bearer Shares in Grandfathered Bearer Share Companies” and thus all bearer shares within the scope of a company which qualifies as a grandfathered bearer share company would fall to be treated in accordance with the terms of that Division as opposed to any other provision of the Act (unless specifically stated otherwise).
Consequently, a grandfathered bearer share company whose memorandum is amended by virtue of the operation of law in accordance with the terms of paragraph 34A (1) of Division 5 of Part IV of Schedule 2 would effectively have its bearer shares disabled (unless “revived” by a court order under paragraph 35 (4)).
Indeed paragraph 35 outlines how an existing bearer share of a grandfathered bearer share company is to be treated and the consequences flowing therefrom.
In this context, the provisions of sections 38 (2) and Division 5 of Part III of the Act relate only to bearer shares that are not the subject of transition; they cannot be read to override the transitional provisions relative to bearer shares in a grandfathered bearer share company. To read this subject differently would be negating the purpose and effect of the transitional provisions and the whole purpose and intent of a transitional provision in an enactment.

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