The Grand Court (Amendment) Law, 2014 was enacted on 20 October 2014, and will come into force on 24 November 2014. This new legislation addresses the Cayman Islands courts' jurisdiction to grant interim ancillary relief in support of foreign proceedings.
These changes come against the backdrop of recent case law which has helped to develop and define the position in the Cayman Islands. In VTB Capital plc v Universal Telecom Management & Anor1, the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal confirmed the availability in the Cayman Islands of "free standing" freezing injunctions in support of foreign proceedings, including against third parties.2 However, in its earlier decision, VTB Capital plc v Malofeev3, the Court of Appeal found that there was no jurisdiction to grant leave to serve a defendant out of the jurisdiction where the only relief sought against him was an interim freezing injunction in support of foreign proceedings.4 The Court of Appeal declined to expand the courts' jurisdiction, saying "that may well be a desirable step to take, but it is a step which should be taken by the rule-making body, or perhaps the legislature". This left an arguably odd lacuna in that, while a plaintiff could seek a freezing injunction in the Cayman Islands in support of foreign proceedings, it could only do so if the party against whom the injunction was sought was located in the Cayman Islands. If they were not in the Cayman Islands, but had assets located there, the Cayman Islands courts could not assist.
The Grand Court (Amendment) Law, 2014 seeks to address this issue, and also to give statutory force to the Cayman Islands courts' jurisdiction to grant purely ancillary interim relief in support of foreign proceedings. However, new Grand Court rules will be necessary to give effect to the new procedural aspects of the Law (particularly in connection with service out of the jurisdiction), but those rules have not yet been published. As and when these new rules come into force we will provide a further update as to the full scope and effect of these reforms.