Dispute resolution in Bermuda

Appleby

As ‘one of the longest established firms in Bermuda with an outstanding reputation for heavyweight litigation‘, Appleby is instructed on a wide variety of litigation, insolvency claims, contentious trusts and regulatory matters, with a particularly stellar track record in insurance disputes and complex multijurisdictional restructuring mandates. Practice head John Wasty , who applies a ‘steady hand and great litigation instincts to big-ticket litigation’, also displays particular expertise in fund litigation and contentious regulatory work relating to the decisions of the Bermuda Monetary Authority and Regulatory Authority of Bermuda, including enforcement actions. Promoted to partner in April 2021, Hannah Tildesley  is commended as ‘a key member of the litigation team combining an encyclopaedic knowledge of Bermuda law and a willingness to go the extra mile and more to assist her clients‘. Other names to note are senior counsel John Riihiluoma  and Steven White  (‘very responsive, detail-oriented and professional‘), who focuses on complex trust litigation and court-approved restructurings.

Practice head(s):

John Wasty

Testimonials

‘Practical, well-measured, wise.’

‘John Wasty is an excellent lawyer and adviser. He manages client expectations well, and is very honest about the pluses and minuses of any client file/claim.’

‘John Wasty brings first-rate leadership, a steady hand and great litigation instincts to big-ticket litigation.’

Hannah Tildesley is a first-rate lawyer, combining technical know-how with great organisation and excellent client care.’

The team is very familiar with the cases and precedents in Bermuda, which makes its legal advice very accurate and to the point. The team formulated a clear litigation strategy based on a solid understanding of our case, and executed the strategy perfectly. I think it is one of the best teams I have ever met in the past ten years.’

Steven White is very responsive, detail-oriented and professional. I think his service contributed a lot to the satisfactory result of our case.’

Appleby is one of the longest established firms in Bermuda with an outstanding reputation for heavyweight litigation.’

John Wasty is hugely knowledgeable, charming and persuasive; he exudes a winning confidence which clients greatly appreciate. Hannah Tildesley is a key member of the litigation team combining an encyclopaedic knowledge of Bermuda law and a willingness to go the extra mile and more to assist her clients: a winning combination.’

Key clients

KPMG as Joint Provisional Liquidators of Digicel Group One Limited

Credit Suisse Life (Bermuda) Limited

One Communications

The Coordinating Committee on behalf of the lenders of senior secured lenders of Seadrill Limited

SA Re liquidation (Sony)

Zhuhai Holdings Investment Group Limited

HKC Holdings Limited

Over 400 former shareholders in the Bermuda company Nkwe Platinum Limited

Sino Charm International Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising an individual on the Estate of Hung Wen-Hsiung; proceedings are bought by one of the heirs of one of Taiwan’s most significant business empires.
  • Advised KPMG Advisory Limited and KPMG LLP, in their capacity as the Joint Provisional Liquidators of Digicel Group One Limited, on the restructuring of $1bn of debt.
  • Acting for Credit Suisse Life (Bermuda) Limited in claims issued by policyholders and individuals who are the ultimate beneficiaries of those policies; it is alleged that losses were caused to the policies by a fraud perpetrated by an individual employed by the Swiss bank which owns the life insurance company and which retained control of the policy monies.

Conyers

While Conyers has ‘the historical credentials of past glories, the current team matches that and goes beyond to even higher levels‘, renowned for its frequent involvement in the region’s most complex and high-value disputes. With considerable experience appearing before arbitral tribunals, the Bermudan Civil and Commercial Courts, the Court of Appeal and the Privy Council, the ‘very effective and experienced‘ department has expertise in international commercial litigation, trust disputes, large-scale restructuring and insolvencies, and insurance and reinsurance disputes. The department is overseen by Christian Luthi , who focuses on company disputes, namely shareholder valuation, minority suppression and corporate governance issues. Trusts and estates expert Jeffrey Elkinson  and Ben Adamson , in particular, are viewed as ‘exceptionally imaginative and agile lawyers, seemingly unfazed by any eventuality‘. Also adept in this area are ‘true fighterScott Pearman  and the ‘highly knowledgeableRhys Williams , who was promoted to director in April 2021.

Practice head(s):

Christian Luthi

Testimonials

‘Conyers are the Bermuda leader in this area, with excellent knowledge of local practice and the resources to deliver high quality services within ambitious timelines.’

‘Christian Luthi and Rhys Williams are highly knowledgeable, very responsive and strategic in their approach to complex cases. They also work well with overseas teams to deliver coordinated solutions.’

Simply the best – strength in numbers and in depth and experience. The firm on the island least dependent on English counsel – punches its weight and holds its own. They are in all the biggest of cases. The go-to firm on the Island without question.’

Jeffrey Elkinson and Ben Adamson are exceptionally imaginative and agile lawyers, seemingly unfazed by any eventuality. They are assisted by very able associates.’

Excellent service and highly knowledgeable in insolvency and commercial disputes. One of the top firms in Bermuda for this type of work.’

Conyers in Bermuda is in a class of its own. Not only has it got the past historical credentials of past glories, but the current team matches that and goes beyond to even higher levels. Scott Pearman is a stand-out litigator at the firm. He is a true fighter and has great judgment.’

Conyers have a very effective and experienced team with Jeff Elkington, a first-rate advocate. They work well with the English bar and are able to attack some of the best silks to act in cases with them. They have particular experience in fraud cases and trust disputes.’

Ben Adamson is also a safe pair of hands and is a calm and hardworking lawyer who gives sensible and practical advice. I have worked with a number of firms in Bermuda and I would regard Conyers as one of the best.’

Key clients

Seadrill Ltd

HSBC

The Bank of N.T. Butterfield & Son Limited

KPMG

E&Y

Bermuda Monetary Authority

Viking Cruises

American International Company Limited (AIG)

Bacardi International

Treaty Unit, Government of Bermuda

Bermuda Health Council

Director of Public Prosecutions

Chubb Limited

RenaissanceRe Holdings Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Acting for Grand View Private Trust Company in one of the largest trust disputes in the world.
  • Acting for a number of creditors representing approximately $75m in debt owed by segregated accounts operated by Northstar Financial Limited.
  • Acted for Li & Fung in connection with contentious privatisation of Li & Fung by way of shareholders’ scheme of arrangement in conjunction with Conyers Hong Kong.

Carey Olsen Bermuda Limited

Benefitting from an increase in instructions from Hong Kong in particular, Carey Olsen Bermuda Limited represents an assortment of ultra-high-net-worth individuals and multinationals in complex offshore litigation. With an ‘excellent grasp of Bermuda law and regulation’, insurance and reinsurance expert Michael Hanson , who primarily assists clients in crisis management issues, corporate cases, executive disputes and employment and regulatory investigations, leads the team alongside Keith Robinson , who is a ‘stand-out court litigator in Bermuda’ and is particularly skilled at handling high-value trust litigation and insolvency issues. Providing key support are Kyle Masters  and Jay Webster , who were both recently promoted to counsel, as well as counsel Henry Tucker, who is located in the firm’s Hong Kong hub.

Practice head(s):

Michael Hanson; Keith Robinson

Testimonials

‘Keith Robinson is always my number 1 choice for a Bermuda lawyer.’

‘Keith Robinson is technical and brilliant, the unique combination of being able to translate complex legal points to clients while also being the stand-out court litigator in Bermuda, persuasive, articulate and deeply knowledgeable.’

Michael Hanson has such an excellent grasp of Bermuda law and regulation, but he is able to place his advice in context, immediately understanding my objectives to deliver the advice that seemed so logical but nobody else thought of.

Kyle Masters is clearly the next big thing; he is super responsive with an excellent breadth of knowledge.’

‘The most commercial, logical and responsive advice from any law firm in Bermuda, hands down. They lack the arrogance associated with so many lawyers, they seem to enjoy their jobs, enjoy their clients and as a result can provide connected practical advice.’

Jay Webster is a trusted resource who knows the ins and out of everything employment/labour-related.’

They go above and beyond to understand their clients’ businesses, enabling them to offer sound and commercial advice. The individuals I have worked with offer first-class client care and are ultra-responsive and easy to work with.’

Clarity of thought, clarity of purpose and excellent team of lawyers led by Keith Robinson, who combines advocacy and analytical skills, make Carey Olsen a go-to team for clients.’

Key clients

Annuity & Life Re Ltd and Pope Asset Management LLP

Arch Reinsurance

Argo Group

Bank of N.T. Butterfield and Son Ltd

BCT Limited

BF&M

Convex Insurance

The Hamilton Medical Centre Limited

Fidelity National Title Insurance Company Limited

Horseshoe Insurance Services Holding Ltd

Liberty Group Limited

Mexico Infrastructure Finance LLC

Sinopoly Strategic Investment Limited

Sino Power Resources Inc

Work highlights

  • Representing BCT Limited, which is the trustee appointed as a result of the Court of Appeal decision in February 2021, in litigation concerning a very substantial Bermuda trust.
  • Acted for the Bank of N T Butterfield and Son Ltd in respect of the historic Commission of Inquiry into Land Losses in Bermuda.
  • Acted for Horseshoe in a cross-jurisdictional minority shareholder/wrongful dismissal action with proceedings issued in both Bermuda and Cayman.

Cox Hallett Wilkinson Limited

Cox Hallett Wilkinson Limited possesses ‘the strength in depth to handle the big-ticket litigation’. With regards to multijurisdictional litigation, the department, which is spearheaded by ‘class actCraig Rothwell , is particularly active in trust and estate disputes, shareholder and director disputes, insolvency and restructuring matters, and other corporate and commercial disputes, particularly in the financial services space. In domestic work, the team excels in medical claims, employment litigation, property disputes, and divorce and financial ancillary relief matters. Experienced senior counsel David Kessaram and director Matthew Watson (who is ‘a good up-and-coming advocate who is able to step into the breach’) are further names to note.

Practice head(s):

Craig Rothwell

Other key lawyers:

David Kessaram; Matthew Watson

Testimonials

‘The ability and stamina to sustain long-term engagement fighting very complex international high-value cases on a multiplicity of fronts, maintain good relations, and carry out focused and effective work under the time pressure, stress and distractions of large team litigation.’

‘Matt Watson is available for his clients at all times of day and night, week and weekend until the job is done, and retains an easy-going manner while reaching balanced decisions as to how to fight aggressive high-value litigation.’

‘CHW have a great balance of work in the offshore sector. It is clear that they possess the strength in depth to handle the big-ticket litigation.’

Very impressive practice with excellent client skills, unwavering dedication to excellence and total commitment to the case. Matthew Watson, in particular, is incredibly hard-working, a first-class lawyer with superb tactical litigation skills.’

‘Matthew Watson is a pleasure to work with. He is very commercial in his approach, user-friendly, transparent and is particularly good at managing client expectations both in terms of budget and success.’

CHW has provided consistent and sound support and representation on contentious matters for many years. Highly experienced, pragmatic and cost-sensitive. Very effective advocates, exceptionally organised and extremely reliable.’

Craig Rothwell is a class act attorney with a very eloquent and effective style of advocacy. Extremely helpful and proactive in terms of exploring all options available and providing in-depth analysis accordingly. Highly reliable and genuine.

Cox Hallett Wilkinson are an extremely user-friendly and accessible firm. Matthew Watson is a good up-and-coming advocate who is able to step into the breach. Matthew is very responsive to client demands and gives good commercial advice.’

Key clients

Advanced Lithium Electrochemistry Cayman Co. Limited

Senior Noteholders of Goldin Financial Holdings Limited

Various Policyholders of Northstar Financial Services (Bermuda) Limited (In Liquidation)

Substantial Policyholder of VL Assurance (Bermuda) Limited (In Liquidation)

KRyS Globa as Joint Liquidators of San Antonio Oil & Gas Services Limited

KPMG Advisory Services Limited as the Joint Liquidators of Par-la-Ville Hotel and Residences Limited (in Liquidation)

Bermuda Hospitals Board and Medical Protection Society

Colonial Insurance, Freisenbruch-Meyer Group, Ascendant Group (including BELCO)

Work highlights

  • Representing minority shareholders in fair value appraisal litigation arising out of the $5.5bn acquisition by Jardine Matheson of minority holdings in Jardine Strategic Holdings Limited.
  • Acting for creditors in cross-border insolvency/restructuring proceedings arising out of financially distressed HK listed companies during the Covid-19 pandemic.

MJM Limited

The dispute resolution practice at MJM Limited has ‘strong capabilities and significant experience in contentious trusts issues’, from sophisticated restructurings to high-stakes disputes. Lauded as ‘one of the best litigators in Bermuda’, Fozeia Rana-Fahy  handles trusts matters and also receives a steady flow of instructions concerning insolvencies, commercial litigation, employment claims and contentious regulatory matters. Elsewhere, the ‘knowledgeable, measured and easy to work withJennifer Haworth excels in fraud, asset recovery and tracing matters, while Tim Molton (who was promoted to senior associate in March 2021) displays ‘excellent judgment and has proved himself in working on extremely complicated matters’. In April 2021, Andrew Martin  retired.

Other key lawyers:

Alan Dunch; Tim Molton

Testimonials

It is a young but enthusiastic and driven team.’

Fozeia Rana-Fahy and Tim Molton are both excellent, particularly in the trusts litigation arena. They are able to juggle multiple large cases, which is impressive for a team so young.’

‘Jennifer Howarth is knowledgeable, measured and easy to work with.’

‘Fozeia Rana-Fahy is one of the best litigators in Bermuda. She has a wealth of experience and is not fazed by anything.’

Tim Molton has only just been made up as a senior associate, but will go very far. He has excellent judgment and has proved himself in working on extremely complicated matters.’

‘Very strong capabilities and significant experience in contentious trust issues. great team – easy to work with.’

‘Fozeia Rana Fahy is very hardworking, and has excellent client skills and a great understanding of the practice area.’

Tim Molton is very impressive, hard-working and enthusiastic.’

Key clients

Baker & McKenzie (Taiwan)

KRyS Global and Alvarez & Marsal Asia Limited (FDG)

Finance & Risk Services Limited and AJ Capital Advisory Pte Limited (Agritrade)

Deloitte

HSBC Bank Bermuda Limited

Commissioner of Police

Bermuda Civil Aviation Authority

Renaissance Holdings Limited (Subsidiary of Renaissance Re, Bermuda)

Work highlights

  • Representing Baker & McKenzie (Taiwan) in contentious trust litigation (over $10bn) concerning the validity of trusts and estate representation matters.
  • Representing Stewarts LLP (the primary beneficiaries) in a contentious family trust restructuring.
  • Representing KrysGlobal & Alvaraz Marsal Asia Limited (the joint provisional liquidators of FDG) in a complex restructuring/insolvency matter.

Walkers

The insolvency and dispute resolution team at Walkers is commended not only for ‘its availability, its proactivity but also for its expertise, its common sense and the speed with which it was able to advise’. Appearing regularly before the Supreme Court of Bermuda and Bermuda Court of Appeal, practice head Kevin Taylor concentrates on commercial disputes, in particular contentious liquidation proceedings, receiverships, shareholder disputes and asset recovery issues. Peter Dunlop specialises in insurance and reinsurance disputes, while Nicole Tovey (‘an excellent practitioner who delivers insightful, highly commercial advice in a timely fashion‘) regularly represents international clients in insolvency and trust litigation. At the senior associate level, Benjamin McCosker is the key name to note.

Practice head(s):

Kevin Taylor

Testimonials

‘A good network of international connections to draw on and an outstanding commitment to client service and responsiveness.’

‘Kevin Taylor and Nicole Tovey work well as a team, and fight to protect their clients’ position. Always available and a good approach to solving difficult problems.’

‘Compared to other law firms in Bermuda, but also in other countries, we were impressed not only for its availability, its proactivity but also for its expertise, its common sense and the speed with which it was able to advise us on a particularly complex case.’ 

‘Peter Dunlop – highly knowledgeable, very good sense of the strategy and reasonable counsel. Always try to make himself available despite the workload. Efficient. Great ability to clearly explain complex files and procedures.’

Walkers has offices in Bermuda and Cayman Islands. They work together extremely well creating efficiencies when dealing with legal situations across the two jurisdictions.’

Nicole Tovey and Kevin Taylor are both very experienced in the Bermuda litigation process. Very organised. They stay on top of key dates and when and what information needs to be provided. Never missed a deadline. Always available to discuss and explain matters.’

Walkers is now one of Bermuda’s full service firms, competing effectively with other longer-established firms and driving changes within the legal market here. Walkers has an excellent restructuring and insolvency practice.’

Nicole Tovey is an excellent practitioner who delivers insightful, highly commercial advice in a timely fashion. She has great appreciation of cross-border issues and is also very well connected locally. Kevin Taylor is rapidly becoming one of the market leaders in Bermuda for restructuring and insolvency advice.’

Key clients

CITGO Petroleum Corporation

Credit Suisse ILS

Clarien Bank Limited

PriceWaterhouseCoopers Limited (Hong Kong)

Bermuda Monetary Authority

Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) Limited

Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited (Hong Kong)

The Commissioner of the Bermuda Police Service

Norwegian Cruise Lines

Princess Cruise Lines

Aon

Allianz

US Bancorp

National Australia Bank

Citi Group

ASW Law Limited

ASW Law Limited‘s commercial litigation and arbitration team has particular expertise in insurance and reinsurance law. It also has experience in banking litigation, fraud litigation, shipping disputes, trusts disputes and international arbitration proceedings. Kehinde George  and Rod Attride-Stirling are the names to note.

Kennedys

Kennedys’ team stands out for its track record in commercial litigation, arbitration proceedings and dispute resolution arising from the insurance and reinsurance sector. It is especially active in complex reinsurance disputes, particularly large international arbitrations governed by Bermuda, English and US law. Additionally, the department, which is led by Mark Chudleigh , also has experience representing clients in disputes relating to trusts and the financial services sector, and handles professional negligence claims, corporate shareholder issues and insolvencies. Senior associate Lewis Preston and associate Laura Williamson also play key roles in the department.

Practice head(s):

Mark Chudleigh

Other key lawyers:

Lewis Preston; Laura Williamson

Testimonials

This practice is unique because it combines strong local Bermuda law expertise with experienced multinational attorneys who happen to be Bermudian. The firm also has a strong multinational footprint, which the Bermuda team utilises efficiently.’

Mark Chudleigh is amazing. He combines both gravitas and leadership along with a hard work ethic and willingness to dig in and get to the details.’

Key clients

Bermuda Commercial Bank

Alpine Global Management LLC and associated Alpine entities

Athos Asia Event Driven Master Fund and associated Athos entities

Citadel Equity Fund Ltd

Norges Bank

Wakefield Securities LLC and associated Elliott entities

FourWorld Event Opportunities LP and associated FourWorld entities

Integrated Core Strategies (Asia) Pte Ltd and Millennium entities

Pentwater Equity Opportunities Master Fund

Syquant Capital and associated entities

Apex Fund Services Limited

AXA XL

Kalo Advisors as liquidators of the Kingate Funds

Work highlights

  • Representing the largest group of shareholder plaintiffs (61 in total) in the “Jardine appraisal action”, the largest such action to be brought in Bermuda.
  • Acting for the protector of a multi-billion dollar private trust plagued by litigation resulting from a dispute between the trustee and settlor and issues resulting from a US Department of Justice tax evasion investigation, including hearings before and judgments issued by Bermuda’s Supreme Court and Court of Appeal.
  • Acting for a leading Bermuda insurance-linked securities fund manager in the first dispute to come before the Bermuda courts concerning the operation of “alternative” reinsurance arrangements.