Current Issues in Offshore Financial Law

Recent disputes between the Department of Justice and banks such as HSBC and UBS have kept the spotlight shining on the phenomenon of offshore banking; but it also ensures that it remains an exciting area for research and study.  Offshore Financial law has been defined as legislation, legal practices and law concerned with investment, financial arrangements and entities created by non-residents of a particular jurisdiction but structured within that jurisdiction.  Offshore financial entities in the Caribbean, (and elsewhere), banks and trust companies in the main, offer advantages to the investor in flexible business arrangements, tax avoidance, privacy/confidentiality and protection from creditors.  Thus, the offshore centers in the Caribbean, which is the main focus of case study in this course, offer American mainland residents a viable alternative to the on-shore banking sector and benefits of higher interests on deposits, low or no tax rates and confidentiality.  The international reaction to offshore facilities has been negative, in particular that of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).  Trends in legislation, case law and policy in the United States also have implications for Americans looking offshore alternatives as investment for their wealth.

The course will examine a number of topical issues concerning Offshore Financial Law.  At the end of the course students will be graded based on a research paper treating on the viability of offshore banking, with emphasis on the unique situation in the Caribbean, which is in close proximity to the United States and is uniquely placed to provide alternatives to investors. 

Credits: 2

Is this course open to LL.M. students? Yes