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Graham Thompson

Sean  McWeeney, QC, Q.C.

Sean McWeeney, QC, Q.C.

Partner

Graham Thompson
Bahamas

tel: +1-242-322-4130
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Profile

Sean McWeeney QC, a senior partner in the law firm of Graham Thompson, is a specialist in trusts and corporate law. A former Attorney-General of The Bahamas, he is also one of Her Majesty’s Counsel (QC) and as such a member of the Inner Bar of The Bahamas.

Mr. McWeeney was the first Ambassador from The Bahamas to the Holy See (the Vatican). He has also served successive governments as the Chairman of important public commissions.

A member of the Bahamas Bar since March, 1978, Mr. McWeeney served as Attorney-General of The Bahamas from January, 1989 to August, 1992. He also served as a Senator from 1985 to 1992, and Leader of the Government in the Senate in the latter part of his parliamentary tenure.

It was during Mr. McWeeney’s tenure as Attorney-General that the company laws of the Bahamas were modernized with the introduction of the International Companies Act and the Companies Act. Similarly, the Trusts (Choice of Governing Law) Act (designed to insulate Bahamian trusts against foreign forced heirship claims) and the Fraudulent Dispositions Act (designed to facilitate asset protection trusts) were among the many legislative reforms instituted during Mr. McWeeney’s tenure aimed at enhancing the competitive position of the Bahamas in the offshore financial services market.

Mr. McWeeney has been consistently ranked as a Tier 1 trust lawyer by the leading international legal ratings publications, including the prestigious London-based Chambers & Partners, the IFLR 1000, and Citywealth’s Leader’s List. He is also generally acknowledged as the leading expert in The Bahamas on the law relating to stamp duty, a major source of revenue in The Bahamas.

In 1998, on the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of Bahamian Independence, the Government of then Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham awarded Mr. McWeeney the Silver Jubilee Medal for “Outstanding Contribution to National Development in the Area of Law”.

In April, 2000, Mr. McWeeney was appointed by Prime Minister Ingraham, and again in 2002 by then Prime Minister Perry Christie as Chairman of the Judicial Review Commission to review the terms and conditions of service of Supreme Court and Appellate Court judges and public legal officers.

In 2000, Mr. McWeeney was also appointed by Prime Minister Ingraham as Chairman of the Steering and Implementation Committees responsible for overseeing the re-structuring and modernization of the Royal Bahamas Police Force.

In May 2002, and again in 2012, following the election of a new Government, Prime Minister, Perry Christie appointed Mr. McWeeney the Chairman of his Transition Team. He was also appointed as the first Chairman of the Clifton Heritage Authority.

In August 2012, Mr. McWeeney was appointed to chair the Constitutional Reform Commission. Mr McWeeney has written extensively and spoken at international conferences on various aspects of Bahamian trust and company law. He has also published on various aspects of early 19th Bahamian history.

Recent transactions include:

  • Acted for major international trust companies in relation to formal variation-of-trust applications to the Bahamas Supreme Court;
  • Acted for a number of ultra-high net worth families in relation to the succession-oriented re-structuring of their trust and corporate affairs;
  • Acted for a major international bank and trust company in relation to the re-structuring of its domestic operations in The Bahamas;
  • Acted for a number of banks in relation to the regulatory aspects of their re-structured ownership; and
  • Acted as the Bahamian legal adviser to a British-based petroleum company in relation to its proposed exploration activities in the Bahamas.

Bar Admissions

The Bahamas Bar, 1978


The Inner Bar (Queen’s Counsel), 2009

Education

Queen's College
Nassau, Bahamas
Areas of Practice
Professional Career

Significant Accomplishments

Appointed one of Her Majesty’s Counsel (Queen’s Counsel), 2009


Bahamas Silver Jubilee Medal for “Outstanding Contribution to National Development in the Area of Law”, 1998


Citiwealth Offshore Leaders List as one of the Caribbean’s leading lawyers in wealth management


Leading Lawyer (Band 1) in field of Trust and Estate Planning, Chambers and Partners, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016


Chambers and Partners, Leading Lawyer (Band 1) in field of High Net Worth Advisors for Trusts, 2017



Professional Associations

The Bahamas Bar Association


Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP)




Professional Activities and Experience

“Financial Institutions as Constructive Trustees” (Bahamas Association of Compliance Officers, 2000)


“The Rule in Hastings-Bass - Help for Trustees Who Make Mistakes” (STEP Bahamas, 2007)


“International Asset Protection Planning and Domestic Creditor Recovery Tactics: Two Mock Trials” (STEP Canada, Osgoode Hall, University of Toronto, 2008 – served as trial judge)


“The Effectiveness of Statutory Provisions Outlawing Forced Heirship Claims” (STEP Caribbean Conference, Panama, 2008)


“Trust Fundamentals – Back to Basics”, (STEP Trust Immersion Seminar, 2010)


“Protectors and Trust Disputes” (OPC Trust Law Conference, 2011)


“Getting Rid of Trusts and moving Towards Companies Limited by Guarantee Without a Share Capital as Trust Substitutes” (STEP, 2013)


“What Now? Survival and Adaptation Strategies for Offshore Financial Centres” (STEP Caribbean Conference, 2014)


Articles

Reflections on the Reality and the Vision for Financial Services in The Bahamas
Graham Thompson, September 2018

My time is short, so let me get to my subject without delay.I begin with a few observations on the Reality we face.First, the bad news - not all of it, just some of it; just four things that I regard as being among the more worrisome realities that confront us today.Firstly, in terms of aggregate dollar volume, we are a much smaller industry now than we were just a few years ago...

Reflections on the Reality and the Vision for Financial Services in The Bahamas
Graham Thompson, September 2018

My time is short, so let me get to my subject without delay.I begin with a few observations on the Reality we face.First, the bad news - not all of it, just some of it; just four things that I regard as being among the more worrisome realities that confront us today.Firstly, in terms of aggregate dollar volume, we are a much smaller industry now than we were just a few years ago...

Additional Articles

Sean authored the monograph "Creditor Protection Trusts Under Bahamian Law" in 1992.


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