The three crown dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man have made a joint statement putting on hold their intended plans to open beneficial ownership registers to the public, against the backdrop of high-level judicial concerns over privacy. 

The crown dependencies said on 22 December: "The recent judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union impacts considerations in the Crown Dependencies around implementing the public commitment in line with consideration of factors around data protection and human rights.

"We have all committed to provide access to obliged entities for the purpose of conducting customer due diligence by the end of 2022 and have therefore consulted on the position and produced policy positions.

"However, in light of this CJEU judgment, implementation of this legislation will be delayed for a short period to enable consideration of its impact and obtain specialist legal advice; this is expected to be completed in early 2023. Subject to that advice, our intention is to adopt legislation in our respective jurisdictions as soon as possible after this time."

The statement further said; "In respect of extending access beyond obliged entities, we intend to obtain expert legal advice on all relevant issues and, in due course, intend to review the public commitment in line with that advice and any recent development of international best practice."

In 2019, the three crown dependencies had made a public commitment concerning registers of beneficial ownership of companies.

In a landmark judgment on 22 November, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) held that registers containing the personal details of ‘beneficial owners‘ of companies and accessible to the public at large infringe fundamental rights.