Melanie Jones is an attorney-at-law and Managing Partner in the Barbados office of Lex Caribbean. She leads the firm's international business practice, as well as its Entrepreneurial Business Unit. Melanie also founded and leads Lex's two sister entities: Lex Caribbean Corporate Services Inc., which is licensed to conduct corporate services pursuant to the Corporate and Trust Service Providers Act; and ISM Sponsor Services Ltd., which has been certified by the International Securities Market of the Barbados Stock Exchange as one of five approved listing sponsors in Barbados.
Melanie was born in Barbados, grew up on the island and attended Queen's College, where she was awarded a Barbados Scholarship. Melanie subsequently read law at Trinity Hall, Cambridge and then attended Law School in England. Her 28 years' experience in private practice begun in England at the London office of the international law firm, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, where she established her career and practiced for some years before relocating to the Cayman Islands to work with Maples and Calder for six years. She then returned home to Barbados to join Lex Caribbean in late 2003. Melanie has qualified and been admitted to practice law in England and Wales, the Cayman Islands, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados.
Melanie specializes in international business transactions with Barbados elements, originating and conducted in a multitude of jurisdictions around the world. Her clients include international conglomerates and financial institutions, foreign governments, global private equity firms and high net worth individuals.
In addition, through the Entrepreneurial Business Unit, Melanie and her team advise clients from Barbados and overseas on entrepreneurial ventures conducted in or through Barbados. In this context Melanie specializes in commercial and corporate finance law with an emphasis on business structuring, risk management, private equity and finance, as they relate to start up or early stage businesses.
Melanie serves on the board of directors and is a past President of the Barbados International Business Association ("BIBA"). She is also a member of BIBA's Business Facilitation Committee, which focuses on business facilitation issues, and legislative and regulatory enhancements for Barbados' business ecosystem.
Melanie has been actively involved in several national consultations with Barbados government departments and regulators including in relation to: immigration policy and procedure, securities law and policy reform around a private placement regime; legislation for limited liability partnerships; companies law reform; employment rights legislation; regulation of corporate and trust service providers and the Barbados economy.
Since early 2018, Melanie has also devoted considerable time, pro bono, to work on the private sector task force constituted by BIBA (the Task Force), which undertook a detailed analysis of the implications for Barbados of its execution of the OECD's multilateral treaty on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS). The Task Force drafted and delivered to the Government an extensive report, including recommendations on changes to be made to Barbados' legal and regulatory infrastructure, in order to secure the OECD's endorsement of Barbados' new business regime. This regime was ushered in, pursuant to a host of legislation, and enacted with effect from 1 January 2019. This marked a new era for both domestic and international business conducted in or from Barbados, and presents new opportunities in the entrepreneurship context. During 2019 Melanie worked intensively within a sub-group of the Task Force on the development of Barbados' economic substance regime, another major initiative necessitated by pressure exerted on the jurisdiction by the OECD and the EU.
In addition to her work with BIBA, Melanie undertakes various other charitable and social entrepreneurship initiatives. She is legal adviser to the Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation ("BEF"); as well as a board member, dating back to 2011. Melanie led the BEF's Barbados Free WiFi project, from inception in 2011, and continues to advocate for many other critical aspects of business facilitation in Barbados. She also mentors a number of Barbadian entrepreneurs. Melanie is also a member of the Lex Caribbean group's CSR Committee, which shapes and executes upon the group's third sector projects.
Melanie speaks and writes on Barbados legal and business issues regularly and publishes frequently in local and international magazines and professional journals. She has been highly ranked for multiple consecutive years by the International Financial Law Review and Chambers Global.
Topically, Melanie recently provided expert evidence in a major tax litigation conducted in the Canadian courts, involving the Loblaw Group and the Canada Revenue Authority ("CRA"). A pivotal issue in the case (not previously tested before any court) was whether Barbados entities formerly licensed under the International Financial Services Act of Barbados ("IFSA") were "banks" under Barbados law. The CRA and their Barbados law expert asserted they were not, and that as such, their Canadian parent companies should be taxed on the Barbados subsidiaries' profits, in Canada. The Court was ultimately guided, however, by Melanie's expert testimony. It concluded, in a landmark decision, that IFSA licensees were indeed "banks" under Barbados law.