Mr Christopher McKenzie
TEP MA(Oxon)

Membership category: Full Member i

'TEP' status denotes full membership of STEP and is the top level of STEP membership. TEPs are fully qualified practitioners with proven qualifications and experience. They can use the letters 'TEP' after their name. TEPs must adhere to STEP's Code of Professional Conduct.

2 John Street
United Kingdom

Telephone: +44 (0)20 3405 4279
Practice Areas: Charity formation/administration, Company formation/management, Contentious trusts and estates, Cross-border estates, Elderly and vulnerable clients, Estate planning/administration, Family business, Trust planning/administration, Wills and probate
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O'Neal Webster (UK) LLP
STEP British Virgin Islands
British Virgin Islands Branch Committee
Special Interest Groups:
Business Families | Contentious Trusts and Estates | Cross-Border Estates | International Client | Mental Capacity

Christopher McKenzie is a Partner in the Trusts and Estate Planning Department at O'Neal Webster and specialises in advising on all aspects of the BVI’s laws relating to trusts, wills and estates.

Prior Employment Experience

After practising in the private client departments of the leading London and provincial UK law firms of Cameron Markby (now Cameron McKenna) and Taylor Walton, he moved to the BVI in 1996 and headed up the trusts team of Harneys until 2004; he was subsequently the partner in charge of the private client department at Walkers' BVI office for eight years before joining O'Neal Webster.

Boards and Associations

Chris was the founding chair of the BVI Branch of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) and was the chair of STEP's Caribbean and Latin America Region from 2010 to 2013. He is an emeritus member of the STEP Caribbean Conference steering committee and was elected by the Region to serve four consecutive terms as a council member and director of STEP worldwide from 1999 to 2010. He was also vice-president of the BVI Bar Association from 2003 to 2007 and now chairs the Bar Association’s probate reform committee; he was appointed by the Cabinet to serve three consecutive terms on the BVI Government’s Marketing Advisory Committee.

Chris chaired the committee, the proposals of which led to the enactment of the Virgin Islands Special Trusts Act, 2003 (VISTA), the Trustee (Amendment) Act, 2003, and the Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2003 and the BVI’s regulations enabling exempt private trust companies to be set up; he was also chair of that committee (which is now chaired by O’Neal Webster partner Vanessa King) when it made proposals leading to the 2013 amendments to VISTA and the BVI’s other laws relating to trusts and estates.

Chris is a frequent lecturer at international trust conferences and has contributed to a number of leading publications on trusts and estates: he is the author of the chapter on VISTA Trusts in Thomas & Hudson's The Law of Trusts (OUP) and the British Virgin Islands chapters in International Succession (OUP), Trusts in Prime Jurisdictions and Disputes Involving Trusts and is the co-author of the British Virgin Islands chapters in International Trust Laws, International Trust Precedents and The Planning and Administration of Offshore and Onshore Trusts. He is Trusts and Trustees' country correspondent for the BVI and has also written numerous articles which have been published in that periodical, the Journal of International Trust and Corporate Planning and Private Client Business and various other industry journals.

Other Distinctions

Awarded the STEP Founders Award for Outstanding Achievement

Ranked in 2010 Financial Centres International (FCI) 500 List

2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 Citywealth Leaders Lists – “Leading International Lawyer.”

IFLR1000 2013 – “Christopher McKenzie [is] ‘… singled out for praise by clients and competitors. Competitors refer to McKenzie as ‘one of the leaders at Walkers in BVI’ and ‘one of the leading trust lawyers in BVI’, with one noting: ‘I have a lot of respect for him’.“

Legal 500 2012 – “Strongly rated by peers”

2012 Chambers Global Guide – “Christopher McKenzie specialises in trust law and has gained a large following in this field.”

IFLR1000 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 – “Leading Lawyer.”

2010 Chambers Global Guide – “Christopher McKenzie is praised for his academic rigour, seniority and long history with BVI trust law.”

2009 Chambers Global Guide – “Sources praise the technical and academic prowess of BVI private client chief Christopher McKenzie.”

PLC Which Lawyer? 2008 – Leading BVI Lawyer – “Most well established and respected trusts lawyer in the BVI.”

2008 Chambers Global Guide – “He has a great grasp of the big picture according to interviewees, who note his international reputation as a trust lawyer.”

IFLR1000 2008 – “Chris McKenzie [is] known by the market as the leading trust lawyer in the BVI.”

Chris won an open exhibition to St Catherine’s College, Oxford and was a member of the Trusts Group which won the STEP award for legal team of the year in 2006.

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