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Clarke Willmott LLP’s debt recovery team is renowned for its ‘strength in depth’ and is praised for its ‘excellent enthusiasm exhibited in a most professional manner’. Associate Karen Chapman heads the commercial team within the debt recovery group and ‘cannot be praised highly enough’. Chapman provides ongoing advice to Viridor Limited regarding debt recoveries in connection with its varied debt portfolio; in 2016, it handled 298 debt recovery matters for the client. Department head Jane Dunlop provides ‘consistently excellent client care’ and advises one of the team’s most prominent clients – The Insolvency Service – for which the debt recovery group handles the collection of income payment agreements, book debts and antecedent/specialist recoveries under The Insolvency Act. Senior associate Stuart Hoysted focuses on antecedent recovery and handles the recovery of directors loans, transactions at undervalue, preferences and illegal dividends on behalf of The Insolvency Service. ‘Calm and reassuring’ senior associate Phil Roberts is acting for The Football Association Group to recover unpaid seat licence fees for Wembley Stadium.

TLT handles a range of debt recovery matters including mortgage repossessions, the sale of repossessed property, the appointment of receivers and unsecured debt recovery. Graham Walters leads the practice and has extensive experience acting for banks, mortgage lenders and LPA receivers in mortgage-related disputes. Richard Hayllar acts for a number of high street banks and fixed charge receivers, and Deborah Sheldon has experience of a range of recovery matters. The firm is known for its specialised financial services litigation capabilities. Jonathan Hoey focuses on banking and financial services advice and contentious banking issues. Notable clients include Barclays Banks, Lloyds Banking Group and The Royal Bank of Scotland.

Bond Dickinson LLP’s debt recovery service falls under the larger dispute resolution practice and handles recovery matters for clients such as B&Q, British Gas and the Pension Protection Fund. The group has developed specialisms in the energy, financial services, pensions, transport, retail and manufacturing sectors, and has experience of consumer and commercial disputes and insolvencies. Merging contentious and non-contentious expertise, the group handles pre-litigation asset searches as well as litigation and enforcement. Plymouth-based Gareth Kaganengenders commerciality’ and has acted for national clients in matters ranging from the defence of consumer claims to the pursuit of overdue banking facilities. Stephen Dilley is a key contact in the Bristol office and the South West teams work closely alongside the London nationwide disputes resolution department. Other notable clients include LV=, Princess Yachts International, Post Office Limited and Friends Life.

The recovery and insolvency department at DAC Beachcroft LLP has experience of recovery matters involving a wide-range of assets and is especially active in large, cross-border recoveries. In a recent example, the department acted for Sovereign Global on the arrest and recovery of a ship in Djibouti, and in a separate matter acted for Western Union Business Solutions UK in relation to the recovery of a debt from an international mining company. Practice head Giles Hindle acted for a US corporate in relation to the seizure of two planes, and also assisted a US law firm in the enforcement of a debt in England. Christopher Stoate is an active senior associate in the practice group and has particular expertise in cross-border insolvency restructuring and asset tracing and recovery. Other notable clients include Stellar Logistics, Post Office Limited and Wessex Eagle.

Michelmores LLP has a dedicated asset and debt recovery department that acts for a wide-ranging client base, from large public sector bodies to multinational corporates. Through its network of international referral relationships, the team is well positioned to handle cross-border asset tracing and recovery matters. The team acts as sole recovery advisers for a number of national and international governmental agencies and corporates such as Intelsat. Simon Barnett heads the asset and debt recovery team, which works closely alongside the commercial and regulatory dispute resolution department, headed by Tim Richards. Bill Duncan, Ellen Yeates and Shona Houghton are also active members of the recovery team. Sara Chisholm-Batten handles a variety of commercial disputes and has particular experience in cross-border enforcement matters. The group also works closely with the insolvency team in recovery matters following personal or corporate insolvency.

VWV (Veale Wasbrough Vizards) handles the gamut of debt recovery matters in the financial services, energy, utilities and telecoms sectors. The department is well known for its work involving school fees recovery schemes; Tabitha Cave leads a team that acts for over 250 independent schools and nurseries in the pursuit of fee debts from parents or third parties. Recent work includes a heavily disputed contractual claim against the parents of a former pupil valued at £30,000. Ed Husband heads the practice group and acts for longstanding client Brandon Hire Limited on a variety of recovery issues, but primarily involving commercial debts and personal guarantees. Husband also acts for major energy companies and professional consultancy services. The group continues to grow its debt recovery; in 2016, Dee Kundi joined the firm from the now-defunct HL Solicitors.

The asset recovery team at Ashfords LLP acts for local authorities, commercial organisations and financial institutions, and has expertise in cross-border debt recovery and the recovery of invoice debts. Headed by legal director Katie Farmer, the group regularly acts for Smith & Williamson in connection with invoice debt recovery matters. Farmer’s recent work includes pursuing an unpaid debt for professional fees from a company registered in the Isle of Man. She also works in the firm’s insolvency department and has experience of contentious banking and insolvency litigation. Other areas of expertise include acting for high street lenders and estate agents such as Hampton Estates and Bradleys Estate Agents.

Burges Salmon LLP handles high-volume recovery matters with its computerised debt collection system, and also acts for public sector clients and financial institutions. The team comprises Paul Haggett, who heads the dispute resolution department, and Amanda Vaughan, a debt recovery manager with over ten years of experience. Haggett and Vaughan’s clients include the Horserace Betting Levy Board, for which they submitted a letter before action and issued a claim for unpaid levy liability.

Lester Aldridge LLP’s contentious banking practice has particular experience of consumer finance disputes involving consumer credit legislation and FCA regulations, and regularly advises on regulatory investigations in the motor finance industry. Practice head Ann Lloyd is a notable practitioner in captive motor finance, and regularly advises on cross-border recovery exercises. Notable clients include Volkswagen Financial Services UK, Toyota Financial Services UK, MotoNovo Finance and R Raphael & Sons. The department also acts for start-up and internet-based lenders, such as Buy as You View Limited and Clearly Loans Limited.

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Legal Developments in South West for Debt recovery

  • US rules regarding offshore accounts

    The Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act 2010, enacted on 18 March 2010, imposes a new US withholding tax and reporting regime, known as the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). The FATCA regime applies generally to payments made after 31 December 2012, except on obligations (to be defined in future guidance) outstanding on 18 March 2012. Substantial effort is required by foreign entities to bring their worldwide operations and policies into compliance with the FATCA rules as of the effective date.

    - Jones Day

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