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What do your Family and Friends mean to you?

1000 877 Clare Evans, Personal and Business Coach

LifeFamily

This is the fifth in a series of articles to help you focus on a different aspect of your life and to inspire and motivate you to make a change in one or more areas.

What do your Family and Friends mean to you?

• How often do you see close family?
• Do you have a circle of good friends?
• How often do you spend time with them?
• Do you have a good relationship with your children?

This week is about focusing on the important people in your lives.

When you’re putting in the hours at work, it’s too easy to ignore or take for granted those closest to you and those that know you best. You snatch a couple of hours in the evening and maybe you manage a bit of time at the weekend. Are you zoning out or trying to relax with a bit of TV, eating meals while you work or check social media or emails? Are you still thinking about work as you read the children a bedtime story, catching up on work when they’re in bed or getting home so late you miss their evening routine?

Maybe friends have moved away and you don’t see members of your family as often. You keep meaning to call and arrange to meet up but ‘you’re too busy this week’, you’ve got a report due next month, you’re busy for the next two weekends … Next week becomes next month and then next year and before you know it years have passed and you’ve lost touch.

You’ll have friends you don’t see often but when you reconnect it’s as if you’ve never been apart.

While social media can help you to stay connected with friends and family you don’t get a chance to see as often, it can also make you more isolated. Even families living together retreat to separate locations to chat to their ‘online’ friends but forget to have real conversations with the people right there in front of them.

Friends come and go during the course of our lives. You may have friends you’ve known since childhood. Friends you’ve met at different stages of your life and then move on to new and different friends.

Action:

What difference could you make to your Family & Friends this week?

• Who in your family haven’t you spoken to in a while?
• Phone a friend you’ve been meaning to talk to for a while.
• Write a letter or send an email to a friend or family.

Spend time this week with the important people in your life. Not just time you would normally spend together but plan something different.

Re-evaluate your relationships with your friends. Do you have friends who always seem to want something from you? Do some of your friends drag you down more than they lift you up.

Only have people around you who respect and support you, who you enjoy being with and make the time and effort to see or talk to them regularly.

Enjoy the time spent with your family and friends this week.

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Privacy and Confidentiality – The last bastion or a tactical retreat?

1024 774 Stephen Ffrench Davis

poor communication

The Courts of offshore jurisdictions tend to be somewhat removed from the central issues in international proceedings – with those being more apt to be fought in the larger centres – London, New York, etc. We that pursue the practice of law in the courts of Gibraltar, as our counterparts in other British overseas territories – whatever their proper denomination – are regularly called upon, however, to assist in proceedings ancillary to those in the main arena.

Traditionally, the level of secrecy attaching to fiduciary relationships pertaining in offshore centres was comparable to that pertaining in the larger commercial hubs. Indeed, because of the importance of confidential relationships to the maintenance of confidence in an offshore centre there resulted the enactment of specific legislation whereby the obligation of confidentiality of the fiduciary – banker, trustee, nominee or otherwise – was buttressed by criminal sanctions in the event of breach of that duty. The favourite case of the offshore practitioner was Government of India v Taylor Government of India v Taylor – indeed at times it may have seemed the only case on many lips.

Such precepts achieved their greatest level of transcendence, it is suggested, in or about 1995. By that time the great majority of common law jurisdictions in the offshore world had legislation styled “Confidential Relationships Ordinance” or similar. The Confidential Relationships (Preservation) Law of the Cayman Islands (1976) was one of the earlier examples of this type of legislation. It is interesting to note that that statute was revised and updated in 2009 – in light of the changing international promontory and the significantly different professional considerations pertaining. The preoccupations of the law in 2009 – as now – were clearly very different to those that had obtained in 1976. Looking at the modifications, with their clear interest in upholding justice – however international or transnational that might in fact be, of removing the doubts of practising lawyers as to where they stand in relation to confidentiality and by confirming the supremacy of the Grand Court (of Cayman) as to when a professional may breach his obligation of confidentiality. Perhaps the greatest merit here is to ensure that the professional himself is not the one to judge whether such a breach is merited – surely one of the most difficult decisions to make for oneself, given the extremes of professional culture and even emotion that make a calm decision that much more elusive.

As we are most of us aware, a plethora of international initiatives has resulted in significantly increased levels of cooperation both judicial and by State and quasi State organisations within and without law enforcement, often resulting from the polymorphous European and other international institutions and the treaties and conventions that sustain them. The OECD, EU, UN and now the US – led FATCA initiative have all assisted in breaching the citadel of confidentiality that once surrounded offshore affairs. In the process, notions of the privacy and the reliability of professional secrecy have had to be largely rethought. So far from the sort of compartmentalisation that once characterised not just liability to assessment enforcement of tax obligations outside the State relative to nationality, domicile and residence, we now see a material and philosophical change so that the condition of smaller territories, vulnerable to sanction, to blacklist and to the sort of direct action to which larger states are seldom if ever subjected, has threatened to become more akin to that of vassal state.

There may be some truth in the suggestion that confidentiality and secrecy as a way of professional life in relation to the conduct of offshore affairs were apt to breed bad practice as well as less than elegant solutions – that did not, perhaps, adequately dovetail with the legal prescriptions in the client’s home territory. Whatever the case, lawyers in offshore practices must now be more creative than ever – only now more of their time is devoted to the deconstruction of legal montages, in such manner as to have the least negative consequences possible in the round. It is anticipated that in the pursuit of just such goals the offshore territories are likely to develop new and deviant jurisprudence that is as purposive as it is distinct from main stream Common Law tradition. No doubt such cases will as ever, be qualified by later jurists as “very much decided on their facts”.

It is notable that as the law and its practitioners have adapted to today’s more qualified notion of confidentiality, more and more privacy orders are being made in the Common Law world – regarding proceedings in being, reporting of information deriving from Freedom of Information requests, etc. Is it not ironic, then, that privacy is achieving greater significance even to the point where rights not traditionally acknowledged in the Common Law would seem to be finding more and more judicial approval just as the very notion of confidentiality would seem to be in the process of redefinition.