Full details on all of STEP’s jurisdictions are available below, allowing you to access the most up-to-date information about each area. Key legal information, new developments and useful resource information are included.

The summaries were prepared and updated by the STEP Yearbook editorial board members who devoted their time and energy to share valuable information and insights.

Anguilla is a British Overseas Territory, having a constitutional relationship with Britain similar to that of the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands and Bermuda.
Argentina is a republic established under the 1853 Constitution (amended several times since then but still in force), composed of 23 provinces and the City of Buenos Aires (federal capital)
Australia was first settled by Europeans on 26 January 1788, when the United Kingdom of Great Britain’s government established a penal colony at Sydney under the administration of Captain Arthur Phillip RN , later to become Governor Phillip of the colony of New South Wales.
Austria, the core of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire, is using fully its historical ties ot Central and Eastern Europe. Following the disintegration of the Eastern Bloc, Vienna has become the gateway to Russia, Eastern Europe and the new emerging countries.
The Commonwealth of the Bahamas is a 100,000-square-mile archipelago of several hundred islands, rocks and cays situated in the Atlantic Ocean approximately 50 miles off the coast of Florida.
Barbados is known for its political and economic environment, telecommunications systems, confidentiality laws, regulatory controls, supervision and other attributes. In addition, Barbados has numerous double taxation treaties with other countries.
Belgium is a constitutional monarchy governed by a multi-party coalition. Until 1815, Belgium was part of France and the French Code Napoleon was installed. When Belgium became part of the Netherlands in 1815, the French administration and legal system were adopted.
Belize can trace its history back to 1500BC when the Mayan civilisation flourished. Although Columbus discovered Belize on one of his voyages, the country was kept secure from European occupation until the mid 17th century when British buccaneers settled among the logwood forests along the coast.
The 350 small islands that make up Bermuda are located in the north-west Atlantic, about 570 miles to the east of North Carolina. Bermuda is the United Kingdom’s oldest overseas territory and has been self-governing since 1622.
The federative Republic of Brazil is composed of 26 states, which gained independence from Portugal in 1822. It represents 47 per cent of South American territory and is now the ninth largest economy in the world.
Brunei Darussalam (‘Abode of Peace’) is situated on the north-west coast of Borneo Island. The sultanate is one of the oldest ruling dynasties in Asia.
The British Virgin Islands (BVI) lie east of Puerto Rico in the Caribbean Sea and form part of the archipelago known as the Leeward Islands.
Canada is a federal country made up of ten provinces and three territories, the latter being subject to federal suzerainty but largely under local administration
The Cayman Islands (the Islands) consist of three islands located 475 miles south of Miami and 180 miles west of Montego Bay, Jamaica.
State power within the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is divided among three bodies, namely the Communist Party of China, the State and the People’s Liberation Army.
An independent and sovereign Republic of Cyprus (Cyprus) came into being in 1960, following several decades as a British colony. Early and persistent tension between the Greek Cypriot majority and Turkish Cypriot minority culminated in violence, leading to deployment of UN troops in 1963 and the establishment of enclaves of Turkish Cypriots.
England and Wales
The United Kingdom (UK) of Great Britain and Northern Ireland contains three major legal jursdictions: England and Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland. England and Wales form one jurisdiction; Wales has not had its own legal system distinct from England since medieval times.
French law has no doctrine of trusts. Ownership attaches not to an estate in land of various durations, but to the land itself. As there is no distinction between legal and equitable estates, creating a trust under French law is impossible.
Germany is a civil law, democratic-parliamentary republic, founded in 1949, and reunified with eastern parts in 1990. Consisting of 16 states, Germany is a member of the United Nations, G8 nations and European Union (EU)
For over 300 years, Gibraltar has been a self-governing British Overseas Territory. Having been occupied by the Spanish and Moorish empires in turn, in 1704 Gibraltar became a British Crown colony, and ever since has been strategically important in the defence of Britain and her allies.
Greece is situated on the southern end of the Balkan Peninsula, bordered by Albania the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Bulgaria to the north; and by Turkey to the east.
Located in the English Channel, the Channel Islands were caught between the French and English throughout their many wars. Eventually, the islands were granted autonomy from the English Crown.
Hong Kong
On 1 July 1997, the British government relinquished control over Hong Kong and the territory became a special administrative region (HKSAR) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), after a century and a half of British administration.
Hungary is a parliamentary republic. Following the collapse of the communist system and restoration of full sovereignty in 1989, the legal and economic system was radically reformed. The country joined the European Union on 1 May 2004.
India is the world’s largest democracy, operating within the framework of a federal parliamentary representative democratic republic with 28 states and seven Union Territories.
Ireland is located off the north-west coast of Europe. It is approximately 60 miles from the mainland of the UK and, although an island, is very much part of the European Union (EU). Ireland consists of two seperate legal jurisdictions – the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Isle of Man
The Isle of Man (population approximately 80,000) is located in the Irish Sea. In the tenth century, it was settled by Vikings who established a Norse form of government and laid the island’s foundations as an independent jurisdiction.
The modern state of Israel is a small country political and economic ties with North America. The legal system is based on Anglo-American traditions. Israel had been independent since 1948. The official capital is Jerusalem.
Italy, a democratic republic as of 1946, is a charter member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and the European Economic Community (EEC). The Italian legal system is a civil law system.
The Japanese legal system is based on statute law, primarily the Constitution of Japan (1946), the Civil Code (1896) the criminal code (1907), the commercial code (1899), the code of Civil Procedure (1996), and the Code of Criminal Procedure (1948).
When William the Conqueror defeated Harold in 1066, the Channel Islands, including Jersey, were part of his Norman possessions.
In 1719, Emperor Charles VI of the Austro-Hungarian Empire united the Barony of Schellenbery and the County of Vaduz, creating an imperial principality.
Lithuania is a parliamentary republic. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union and restoration of independence in 1990, the legal and economic system was radically reformed. Lithuania joined the European Union on 1 May 2004.
Luxembourg is a parliamentary representative democracy with a constitutional monarchy, governed by a multi-party coalition.
Malaysia is an independent federation consisting of two geographical regions separated from each other by the South China Sea: Peninsula Malaysia (or West Malaysia) and East Malaysia, comprising Sabah, Sararwak and the Federal Territory of Labuan.
The Maltese Archipelago is composed of five islands. Malta is the largest, followed by Gozo, its sister island.
Mauritius is an island situated in the Indian Ocean approximately 2,400 kilometres from the south-east coast of Africa in the GMT four hours time zone and has a population of approximately 1.2 million.
Mexico is currently the 13th largest economy in the world (11th if considered by purchasing power standards). It is also the only member of the OECD from Central and South America.
The Principality of Monaco, a sovereign state borded by France, is located on the French Riviera close to the Italian border.
The Kingdom of the Netherlands was founded in 1813, having been part of France since 1810. Before 1795, most of the current territory was governed by a confederation of sovereign provinces.
Nevis is a 36-square-mile island, located in the Caribbean, 25 miles southeast of Puerto Rico and two miles south of its sister island, St Kitts. The island is curcular in shape with a 3,232ft cloud-capped moutain rising in its centre called Nevis Peak.
New Zealand
New Zealand comprises two main islands and a number of smaller islands situated in the South Pacific Ocean, approximately 2,100 kilometres south east of the Australian coastline.
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom with its own regional Assembly, but is subject to direct rule from the UK Parliament in Westminister in relation to certain reserved matters, including taxation.
The Republic of Panama is located in the narrowest and most central part of the American Continent and forms the isthmus that links North and South America.
Poland is a parliamentary republic. Following the collapse of the communist system and restoration of full sovereignty in 1989, the legal and economic system was radically reformed. Poland joined the European Union on 1 May 2004
Russia (Rossiyskaya Federatsiya) is the largest country in the world. It is a federation and semi-presidential republic consisting of 85 federal subjects, divided into six categories, seven federal districts and 12 economic regions, and a civil law jurisdiction.
The United Kingdom (UK) of Great Britain and Northern Ireland contains three major legal jurisdictions: Scotland, England and Wales, and Northern Ireland.
Modern Singapore was founded in 1819 when the East India Company established it as a trading post. After a century and a half of British colonial rule, Singapore became an independent nation on 9 August 1965.
South Africa
South Africa is a democratic republic consisting of nine provinces. A new constitution, adopted on 8 May 1996, radically transformed the legal system. This constitution embodies the supreme law of the land, binding all organs of state at all levels of government.
Spain is a parliamentary monarchy with the King as Head of State. The current Constitution was enacted in 1978, following the death of General Franco and the return of democracy.
St Kitts
The Caribbean island of St Kitts (formally know as Saint Christopher) is part of the Federation of St Kitts-Nevis (the federation), which has been independent of Britain since 1983.
St Lucia
The prized Caribbean port of call was fought over by Britain and France during a 150-year period from 1664, changing possession 14 times. British sovereignty was established in 1814, with self-government being granted in 1967 and independence in 1979.
St Vincent
St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) consist of a group of islands approximately 100 miles due west of Barbados. The main island is St Vincent, the islets to the south of which consist of primarily of Bequia, Canouan, Union Island and Mustique, the home of a large number of high-net-worth individuals.
In the 13th century, the cantons of Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden concluded the Federal Charter of 1291 and founded the first Swiss Confederation. It achieved full self-governance in 1499.
Trinidad Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago is an independent republic within the British Commonwealth. Its economy is based largely on the petrochemical industry and has widely developed financial, banking, insurance and manufacturing sectors.
Turks Caicos
The Turks and Caicos Islands (the Islands) are situated some 600 miles to the south-east of Florida. They have the status of a British overseas territory presided over by the governor as the Queen’s representative and a House of Assembly (formerly a Legislative Council).
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federation of seven emirates (Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm Al Quwain).
The United Kingdom (UK) of Great Britain and Northern Ireland incorporates three legal jurisdictions: England and Wales (the latter has not had a district legal system since the Middle Ages), Northern Ireland and Scotland.
The Oriental Republic of Uruguay, which gained independence from Spain in 1825, is located on the Atlantic coast of southern South America, between Argentina and Brazil. The capital city is Montevideo.
The United States (US) is a union of 50 sovereign states plus the District of Columbia and 15 dependencies.



The material included in these summaries is not intended to be advice on any specific matter. No one reading these summaries should rely on or act on the basis of any matter contained in the summaries without taking appropriate professional advice in the jurisdiction concerned. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in these summaries, neither the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners nor Barker Brooks Media Ltd accept any liability or responsibility for inaccuracies that may appear, or for loss or damage resulting from any acts undertaken in reliance on the content of these summaries.

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