06 July 2020

Carey Olsen acts in BVI's first major virtual trial since COVID-19 lockdown

Lawyers from Carey Olsen's Singapore litigation team have acted in the first major trial to take place remotely before the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court since the British Virgin Islands (BVI) introduced emergency court measures in late March in response to the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The case, which has had to be conducted remotely due to the COVID-19 travel restrictions in place in the BVI, saw Carey Olsen acting for claimant Kathryn Ma, the executrix of the estate of her late husband Datuk Wong Kie Nai (the former CEO of Bursa Malaysia-listed company WTK Holdings and son of the WTK Group's late founder Datuk Seri Wong Tuong Kwang), in a derivative claim brought on behalf of a Liberian entity against two BVI companies and the late Datuk Wong's two brothers, Datuk Wong Kie Yik and Wong Kie Chie.

It is understood to be the the first fully virtual trial of its kind ever to be held in the BVI, and saw submissions and cross-examination of witnesses take place via real-time video and audio conferencing facilities, with parties, witnesses and legal representatives located in BVI, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, South Africa, the UK and the US participating simultaneously.

The Carey Olsen team was led by James Noble, partner and head of the firm's litigation practice in Asia. He was assisted by senior associate Kate Lan and associates Amelia Tan, Keng Huang Goh, Monique Hansen and Vivian Siah.

James said: "The coronavirus pandemic has had a dramatic impact on the operational aspects of businesses and institutions across all sectors with the judicial system being no exception. However, the BVI courts have reacted diligently and efficiently to ensure the continuation of legal proceedings wherever possible.

"Carey Olsen is proud to have been involved in what we understand is the first fully virtual trial of this nature ever to have been heard before the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court."

Judgment in the derivative action is expected in the coming weeks.