Simone Fitzcharles | Partner

Simone Fitzcharles is a Partner in the Litigation and Insolvency and Restructuring Groups. She specialises in commercial law and is regularly instructed by leading international law firms and diverse clients to handle matters involving the law of trusts, contract, company, insolvency, banking, enforcement of foreign judgments, civil aspects of commercial fraud and asset recovery. When required, she acts in multi-jurisdictional cases which call for careful coordination of talents with foreign legal or other professional teams.

Simone commenced her studies at Florida Memorial University in Miami, Florida where she graduated in 1989 with a First Class Honours B.A. degree in Criminal Justice in 1989. She went on to earn an LL.B. degree with Honours from the University of the West Indies, Barbados. Thereafter, she did Bar School training and in 1994 obtained a Certificate of Legal Education with top academic awards in Trial Advocacy from the Sir Hugh Wooding Law School, Trinidad. In 1994 Simone was admitted to The Bahamas Bar.

Before joining Lennox Paton in 1998, Simone worked at another Bahamian firm with a wide practice range encompassing both civil and criminal aspects of the law. She also worked at Cititrust (Bahamas) Limited handling Latin American trust issues.

She has been a Partner at Lennox Paton since 2003.

Simone is a member of The Bahamas Bar, INSOL and the International Women's Insolvency and Restructuring Confederation.

She is an accomplished speaker and writer. She has been a guest panellist at a number of trust and financial services conferences over the last 7 years, organised by English chambers and solicitors for presentation in The Bahamas. She is also the author of several internationally published articles on aspects of insolvency and trust law for such publications the INSOL World Quarterly Journal, International Law Office and the Global Insolvency and Restructuring Yearbook.

Simone is an enthusiastic supporter of the performing arts in The Bahamas. She is the President of The Nassau Music Society, a charitable organization. She is also a tutor for Project Read Bahamas, a Rotary Club-sponsored project for the promotion of adult literacy.

Simone's recent work has included the following:

Insolvency / Receivership Cases

L & M v. MSILM & Others. Representing large London insurance company headquartered in Japan, Receivers from PwC London and major Bahamian resort in a dispute involving resort development asset sale contracts.

In the Matter of EBR Subsidiaries. Represented joint-liquidators from PricewaterhouseCoopers, Bahamas in relation to the court-supervised winding up of five subsidiaries in a complex arrangement of corporate entities connected with a mega resort in The Bahamas. Also involved were intricate issues of lending and security.

Re N Fund. Advising 'Big Four' accountants who acted as former auditor of an investment fund now in liquidation due to alleged fraud of investment manager. Issues centre on conflict of interest of liquidators, fraud, negligence and disclosure.

Cantrade Privatbank AG & Others v. Fortis Fund Services (Bahamas) Ltd. Represented major shareholder in dispute with the Bank in relation to a Bahamian mutual fund in liquidation. Worked with a large team of London solicitors and counsel.

C v H & Others Re: Oracle Fund Limited (In Liquidation). Represented a large class of shareholders in a Bahamian mutual fund in this dispute with another major class of shareholders. The case primarily involved issues of the rights and ranking of shareholders affecting their entitlement to distributions in a winding up. Our clients won the case both in the Bahamian Court of Appeal and at the level of Her Majesty's Privy Council, final appellate court for The Bahamas.

Re Caledonia (In Liquidation). Represented U.S. Department of Justice in relation to claiming distributions from a Bahamian company in liquidation. The matter involved aspects of multi-jurisdictional fraud, US judgments against its citizens as well as questions of Bahamian insolvency.

Lady Henrietta St. George & Others v. Sir Jack Hayward & Others. Represented receivers and managers of The Grand Bahama Port Authority, Ltd. and Port Group Limited and subsidiaries placed in receivership by shareholders claiming, inter alia, oppression of minority shareholders. The case involved complicated issues of company law and the law as it relates to receivers, managers and quasi-governmental corporations.

Banco Andino (Nassau) Limited (In Liquidation). Representing the official liquidator of Bahamian bank with Colombian parent. The matter centres around cross-border issues and claims by the Bahamian liquidator in the insolvency of the bank's Colombian parent.  Several claims are made by foreign creditors in the Bahamian liquidation.

 

Trust Cases

BBT & Others v. C Trust. Appearing along with Brian Simms QC as representative of a trust company which is an affiliate a multi-national financial institution. The case involves complex questions of trust accounting and the duties owed by co-trustees and bankers.

Re E Trust. Represented large corporate trustee in an application to rectify provisions in trust deed affecting a large number of beneficiaries to a high value family trust. Issues of mistake and rectification and minor and unborn beneficiaries' rights were involved, with multi-jurisdictional aspects. Simone worked with US and Middle Eastern Counsel.

Re H Trust. Represented familial beneficiaries against non-family beneficiaries in trust dispute. Successfully led negotiations amongst parties from which emerged a compromise and settlement which was presented to and approved by the Bahamian Court. The case involved aspects of company, probate and trust law and Counsel from the UK, Cayman Islands and Guernsey worked along with Simone.

Re Estate of GT. Representing family members who are beneficiaries of a Bahamian estate with Belgian links against the widow of the deceased. Issues of trust, estate and probate law (competing wills) are involved. Simone is working along with European counsel and solicitors in this matter.

Re Krishna Books Publishing Trust. Represented a co-trustee in a challenge to the validity of a trust. The case involved a determination on the issues whether the trust was a pure purpose trust or a trust for beneficiaries, and if the former, whether it was a charitable purpose trust or a non-charitable purpose trust.

 

Asset Tracing & Recovery / Civil Fraud Cases

ESR Insurance Company Ltd. (in administration) v. Royal Bank of Canada & Others. Successfully acted for administrators of UK insurance company and along with Grant Thornton, London, in tracing acting involving freezing of accounts in the jurisdiction and obtaining pre-trial disclosure of information from various entities, by affidavit and cross-examination. The case presented issues of insurance fraud involving multi-jurisdictional links. Simone worked with London solicitors, Clifford Chance.

Jacobson & Others v. Sullitzer & Others. Successfully represented a spouse and minor children in an asset freezing and tracing matter also involving Bahamian banking institutions and some issues of French family law. Simone worked with French and Canadian Counsel.

 

Banking / Mutual Legal Assistance / Proceeds of Crime Cases

Re O F Limited. Advising successful multi-million dollar Latin American investment fund in relation to Bahamian mutual legal assistance issues. The case contains elements of Italian, Brazilian, Caymanian, US and English law. Simone is working closely with Brazilian and Caymanian Counsel.

Attorney General v. J L & Others. Advising third party financial services institution in The Bahamas on injunctive and disclosure orders, aspects of mutual legal assistance law, and Proceeds of Crime legislation.

L B v. P Bank. Represented Bahamian bank with Swiss parent in a labour dispute which involved some allegations of money laundering by former bank executive. Case included some questions as to the bank's obligations vis a vis reporting to Central Bank of The Bahamas and issues as to framing and relevance of the allegations made.

Re D Bank. Represented a Belgian bank in a case involving Bahamian law elements of fraud and money laundering by a former employee. Case also involved questions of asset tracing and recovery.