Panama: Hatstone Panama Newsletter Q1 2016

At the CityWealth International Financial Centre Awards 2016 held in London on 20 January Hatstone was voted 'Boutique Law Firm of the Year'.

We are delighted to receive this award. For more information please click here.

Growth: Panama's growing economy in 2016

Recently, the government of Panama announced its budget for 2016. It stated that the country expects growth of approximately 6% GDP due to several significant projects within the energy, construction and transport sectors (for example, a new bridge over the Canal and new Metro lines). In comparison, other countries growth expectations are - the US 2.8%, China 7% and Brazil only 1.1%.

Immigration: Moving to Panama?

Continuing a growing trend, several international journals have recently publicised that Panama is one of the best places to retire not only for its growing economy but also because of other factors such as the warm climate, relaxed yet cosmopolitan lifestyle, discounts for senior citizens, a real estate market with competitive prices and private health system accessible to foreigners.

During 2015 we saw a significant increase of persons moving to Panama for work, retirement and planning purposes.

For more information, please contact our Head of Immigration Services – Marta Gordon-Owen

Deadline: Did you miss the bearer shares deadline?

Panamanian bearer shares needed to be registered with an authorized custodian by 31 December 2015.

If you missed the deadline then please contact Alvaro Almengor to discuss your options and alternatives.

Litigation: The new Law 61 – International Private Law Code

The International Private Law Code was approved in Panama by Law 61 of 2015. This new law now applies to international legal relationships that have effect in Panama, where there is no treaty or agreement regulating such matters.

The law also introduces new provisions relating to judicial, family and civil matters as follows:

  • In terms of judicial matters, the new law seeks to improve the relationship of the Panama courts with international courts, increase co-operation with international courts and to assist with the acknowledgement of overseas rulings in Panama.
  • For family matters, this law confirms treaties signed by Panama regarding protection of minors, allows Panamanians to marry under the jurisdiction of a foreign law provided such law does not violate Panama's family laws and, controversially prohibits same-sex marriages.
  • Regarding civil matters, the law confirms the full testamentary freedom of Panamanian's and the use of asset protection structures. In terms of foreign assets located or administered in Panama by way of societies, foundations, local trusts or offshore trusts recognized by the Republic of Panama, such assets shall be subject to Panamanian law with the same privileges afforded by such law.

For more information, please contact Alvaro Almengor.

Litigation: The new Law 75 of 18 December 2015 – Court proceedings

This new law continues with the modernisation of the legal system in Panama with the introduction of a new automated electronic system for court proceedings and requires all lawyers and law firms to be registered with the Fourth Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice, if they wish to practice in Panama.

These changes are to be welcomed as they allow for transparent and uninterrupted administration of justice in Panama in a regulated way.

For more information, please contact Lizst Real.

Tax: Resolution No. 201-0354 - tax residency

This is an important new resolution for individuals and companies seeking tax residency in Panama. It sets out a new way for making an application to the Department of International Taxation and the supporting documentation required.

For more information, please contact Lizst Real or Alvaro Almengor.

Jersey - News from the firm's Jersey office - Litigation

We are pleased to let you know that our litigation team in Jersey has recently grown with the appointment of lawyer Kat Guillemot.

The Head of Litigation, Partner and Advocate Mike Preston has also been sworn in as a Crown Advocate. For more information please click here.

Sport – Lidia Ramos, Ironman Panama

On 31 January 2016, Lidia Ramos will be taking part in Panama's IRONMAN.

This year the tough sporting event will include swimming part of the Panama Canal and cycling around touristic places in Panama such as Casco Viejo, Amador Causeway and Costa del Este.

For more information about Panama's Ironman event please click here

Did you know?

During the first week of February, Panama will celebrate the "Carnavales". Panama's Carnival is the second largest in the World, after Brazil. The first Carnival of Panama was held during colonial times when people dressed as the King and Queen of Spain and is now generally celebrated for the four whole days before Ash Wednesday.

It is a great time to visit Panama.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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