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Cross-border insolvency

Recognition of foreign proceedings

Under what circumstances will the courts in your jurisdiction recognise the validity of foreign insolvency proceedings?

The Bahamian court will recognise a ‘foreign representative’ (defined as a trustee, liquidator or other official appointed in respect of a debtor for the purposes of a foreign proceeding) appointed in a foreign proceeding – including an interim proceeding – in a relevant foreign country, pursuant to a law relating to liquidation or insolvency, in which the property and affairs of the ‘debtor’ (defined as the foreign corporation or other foreign legal entity subject to foreign proceedings in the country in which it is incorporated or established) are subject to control or supervision by a foreign court, for the purpose of reorganisation, rehabilitation, liquidation or bankruptcy of an insolvent debtor. 

The Bahamian court may make an order recognising the right of a foreign representative to act in the Bahamas on behalf of or in the name of a debtor and, in the court’s discretion, to do so jointly with a qualified insolvency practitioner. Once recognised, the court may also make ancillary orders, such as:

  • granting a stay of proceedings or enforcing a judgment against a debtor;
  • requiring certain persons with information concerning the debtor’s business or affairs to be examined or to produce documents; or
  • ordering the turnover of the debtor’s property to the foreign representative.

Winding up foreign companies

What is the extent of the courts’ powers to order the winding up of foreign companies doing business in your jurisdiction?

The court has jurisdiction to make winding-up orders in respect of:

  • an existing company;
  • a company incorporated and registered under the Companies Winding-Up Amendment Act;
  • a body incorporated under any other law; and
  • a foreign company which:
    • has property located in the Bahamas;
    • is carrying on business in the Bahamas; or
    • is registered as a foreign company in accordance with the Companies Act.

Centre of main interests

How is the centre of main interests determined in your jurisdiction?

The centre of main interests is determined by the company’s place of incorporation and the location of its registered office. The court may also consider the expectations of creditors which may contemplate the opening of insolvency proceedings in the Bahamas. 

Cross-border cooperation

What is the general approach of the courts in your jurisdiction to cooperating with foreign courts in managing cross-border insolvencies?

The Bahamian courts seek to encourage international cooperation and can grant recognition to foreign representatives appointed in foreign proceedings in 142 countries.

Liquidators have a statutory duty to consider whether to enter into international protocols with foreign officeholders where:

  • a Bahamian company in liquidation is the subject of a concurrent bankruptcy proceeding under the law of a foreign country; or
  • the assets of a company in liquidation located in a foreign country are the subject of a bankruptcy proceeding or receivership under the law of that country. 

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