Insolvency and Recovery

When a business is facing financial distress, it is essential for all stakeholders that expedient, practical advice and strategies are provided.

We have an in-depth understanding of every stage of insolvency and recovery. We understand our clients’ needs and pride ourselves on building strong and lasting relationships with our clients, through our ability to work alongside them and steer them through what are generally highly complex issues.

We work closely with:

  • Lenders and private investors advising on debt restructuring, customer workouts and security recoveries.
  • Companies at all stages of the financial stress curve.
  • Directors navigating through the often grey area of financial distress, ensuring exposure to personal risk is minimalised.
  • Landlords, suppliers and other unsecured creditors negotiating solutions to preserve income streams and assets or in maximising recoveries.
  • Insolvency practitioners, implementing recovery strategies and delivering results in both corporate and personal insolvency projects.

Our experienced lawyers are acutely aware that insolvency dispute resolution is not the same as litigation in the general commercial arena. We have a proven track record of working cohesively with our clients in complex, multi-layered litigation, providing effective bespoke and practical advice, quickly and with confidence.

We are highly regarded for our expertise in enforcement and recovery, advising on banking facilities and security instruments. Specifically, we act for over 25 lenders from across the lending market in connection with their recovery cases. These include regulated and unregulated loans, development finance and buy-to-let portfolios. We will act on their behalf in the appointment of LPA Receivers and administrators. We understand the need for practical and holistic advice to ensure maximum recovery, underpinned by an understanding of our clients’ reputational considerations.

Examples of experience

We have significant experience within the team in acting for office-holders and stakeholders in every aspect of insolvency and recovery. Our team members’ experience includes:

  • Acting for the joint liquidators in a large heavily contested liquidation that involved an application to remove the joint liquidators, numerous section 127 IA1986 Applications, a preference claim, a mediation with a debtor and a large wrongful trading claim which were all successfully brought (and settled) but which also culminated in an application for committal against our legal team including the barrister. That application was dismissed at the first hurdle with indemnity costs and which subsequently gave rise to bankruptcy petitions.
  • Acting in a cross-jurisdictional partnership dispute involving claims in England and overseas, requiring an accounting and reconciliation of partnership accounts in excess of £5m, a jurisdictional dispute, as well as concurrent overseas proceedings, in addition attending to overseas liquidations and realisations of assets.
  • Acting for the administrators of a property development company in proceedings against the former director in bringing preference claims and claims for transactions at an undervalue for property worth hundreds of thousands of pounds, and breach of duty claims, and successfully settling the matter.
  • Acting successfully for the joint liquidators in bringing claims against the company in liquidation’s former administrator for misfeasance and breach of duty in in the underselling of niche company assets, being television channels. The court found that the former administrator’s conduct amounted to a breach of fiduciary duty (not simply negligence) and awarded a substitutive performance measure of equitable compensation. Re ARY Digital UK Ltd; Brewer v Iqbal [2019] EWHC 182 (Ch), [2019] 1 BCLC 487, [2019] BCC 746, [2019] BPIR 529, [2019] PNLR 284
  • Acting for liquidators in a cross-border insolvency to avoid distribution of funds to a sovereign wealth fund the subject of sanctions, including the sale of company assets worth £20million.
  • Acting for a trustee in bankruptcy in bringing proceedings against a bankrupt’s wife to set aside a property transaction on the basis that a deed of trust gifting the property to her constituted a transaction to defraud creditors.
  • Acting for BPRA scheme members in the administration and liquidation of a hotel group to develop the hotels worth over £40 million.
  • Acting for the liquidators of group companies in proceedings which involve bringing preference claims and TUV claims for dissipation of property assets worth £5 million and sold to a related party for £1.
  • Acting for the administrators of a bridging loan provider and administrators of a borrower company in bringing claims against (and successfully defending counter-claims brought by) the former directors of the borrower and connected parties. This matter concerned unlawful distribution of assets, antecedent transactions and together with the spurious counterclaims was worth in excess of £50million.
  • Acting for a lender in defending a heavily contested application to set aside a statutory demand served on a director/guarantor, where our client demanded over £3 million due in guarantee liabilities.
  • The administrations of Habitat, MFI, Allied Carpets and Sofa Workshop in the accelerated sale of those businesses and advising the administrators generally.
  • The administrations of a group of companies which are notable in the oil & gas and renewables sector in placing the companies into administration, the sales of the businesses and the resolution of disputes with its major suppliers and counterparties.
  • Acting for the Lender and Administrators of a listed building where unauthorised works had been carried out by the borrower and exploring options to satisfy the requirements of the local authority in connection with the borrower’s breaches of a s.106 Agreement and advising on potential liability issues for the Administrators and the Lender for over £1M repair costs.
  • Acting for a lender and successfully expediting recovery by obtaining summary judgment against guarantors for their breach of contract where the guaranteed liabilities amounted to £5million.
  • Working with LPA Receivers of two separate properties to obtain security over adjoining properties owned by the borrowers using their Power of Attorney in the security documents in order to facilitate disposal of the security properties.
  • Acting for LPA Receivers in possession proceedings where a borrower had converted 8 residential units into 25 units without obtaining planning or building control approval and which have health and safety issues.
  • Acting regularly for lenders in bringing claims under the Land Registry Compensation Scheme in cases of fraudulent transactions where charges and/or transfers have been set aside.
  • Dealing with subrogation claims where funds advanced have been used to repay existing secured lenders and the security for the new lender is challenged.
  • Working with LPA Receivers and Administrators to manage and build out incomplete developments including advising on funding arrangements. These schemes are often in the early stages and the build out costs are often significant. These have included a development of 64 flats, a substantial block of student accommodation and residential housing development of over 20 houses.
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