In 1921, the U.S. Virgin Islands enacted a common law reception statute adopting the common law of England. Almost one hundred years later, in Banks v. International Rental & Leasing Corp., the Virgin Islands Supreme Court held that its establishment as the court of last resort allowed it to shape the common law, and was thereby a de facto repeal of the reception statute. Notably, no other American state or territory had ever invalidated a reception statute in its entirety. While the effects were not immediately apparent, the past several years have demonstrated the remarkable impact of the court’s decision. However, the decision has precipitated numerous unintended consequences.

This Article explains the reasoning behind the Banks decision and the subsequent development of the law. The Author begins by examining the history of how other jurisdictions received the common law in an attempt to place the Virgin Islands within the national context. The Article also traces the history of the 1921 reception statute and its subsequent invalidation by the Virgin Islands Supreme Court. Ultimately, the Article argues for a clarification on Banks and for the reenactment of the reception statute, albeit without the historic “restatement mandate.” By eliminating the “restatement mandate” from the reception statute, the Legislature can preserve common law while simultaneously upholding its creation of a court of last resort.