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Virgin Islands General Licence No. 3, 2023

Friday, 14 April, 2023

On Thursday, 13 April  2023, the Governor agreed to issue and sign the Virgin Islands General Licence No. 03, 2023 (payment of reasonable professional legal fees and expenses), which comes into effect immediately.

In acknowledging the importance of a person’s ability to receive legal advice and representation, the Governor has long held a position of not prohibiting the provision of legal advice to a designated person under an asset freeze. By contrast, payment for legal services, including payment for legal services provided on credit, has required a licence from the Governor.

However, considering the extraordinary number of new designations under the Russia and Belarus regimes, and the correlating increase in the number of those seeking a licence from the Governor for the payment of legal fees, the Governor has issued a general licence to permit the payment of legal fees owed by individuals and entities designated under either of these regimes.

Anyone wanting to make use of these permissions should carefully consider the terms of the General Licence before doing so. Some of the key details of the licence are as follows:

Pre-designation and Post-designation Derogations

The Licence distinguishes between legal fees in relation to pre-designation work and work started post-designation.

For legal work carried out in satisfaction of a prior obligation (for example, where a law firm or barrister is engaged before the designation of the individual or entity), there is a USD$600,000 cap on the amount that can be claimed over the duration of the licence.

For all legal work commenced post-designation, users of the licence will need to demonstrate through their reporting obligations that all fees which have been paid are reasonable. This will be done by providing details of hourly fees, work streams, and evidence that overall fees are at or below a cap of USD$600,000.

Reporting Requirements

Reporting forms for the Virgin Islands Legal Fees General Licence can be found here. In compliance with this licence, reporting obligations to the Governor should be sent to the Governor’s Office ([email protected]). 

Any legal practitioner with an outstanding licence application with the Governor’s Office applied under the licensing ground legal fees who intends to use this general licence should also email the Governor's Office.

Posting Date:
Friday, 14 April, 2023