Dispute resolution in Bermuda

Conyers

Conyers’ litigation and restructuring department is involved in a variety of the jurisdiction’s high-end and high-value disputes, with particular expertise in commercial disputes and trust litigation. Regularly appearing before leading Bermudan courts and in arbitration proceedings, the group is 'used to handling large-scale litigation'; it also has particular experience acting in international restructuring, insolvency, insurance and reinsurance disputes. Possessing a wide-ranging and impressive client roster, the team is led by Christian Luthi, who has a focus on company disputes, particularly shareholder valuation, minority suppression and corporate governance issues. Other names to note include trusts and estates expert Jeffrey Elkinson, commercial litigators Ben Adamson and Scott Pearman, and associate Rhys Williams, who specialises in insolvency and restructuring matters.

Practice head(s):

Christian Luthi

Testimonials

‘The firm is without doubt the leading firm to go to for litigation and has good relationships with major law firms in the UK and elsewhere who may have disputes in Bermuda, especially work arising out of trusts and companies which have interests outside Bermuda. The team has depth and experience. They are used to handling large scale litigation often on their own but not infrequently with QCs from London.’

‘The two partners I work most with are Jeffrey Elkington and Ben Adamson. Ben specialises in trusts litigation whereas Jeff has a broader practice dealing with a wide range of commercial disputes. Ben is calm and has good judgment. Jeff is an effective and persuasive advocate who is never afraid of pushing his clients case. He can fight back even against the most experienced UK silks.’

Key clients

Noble Group

HSBC

The Bank of N.T. Butterfield & Son Limited

KPMG

E&Y

Bermuda Monetary Authority

Viking River Cruises

American International Company Limited (AIG)

Bacardi International

Treaty Unit, Government of Bermuda

Medlands (PTC) Limited

Director of Public Prosecutions

Chubb Limited

RenaissanceRe Holdings Ltd

Work highlights

  • Acting for the Bermuda Monetary Authority in the presentation of a winding-up petition against a captive insurer for the Venezuelan oil giant Petroleos de Venezuela S.A.
  • Acted for Weatherford International PLC in the Bermuda law elements of its financial restructuring and emergence from a pre-packaged chapter 11 plan of reorganisation in the US Bankruptcy Court, which also included a Bermuda scheme of arrangement.
  • Acting for Medlands (PTC) Limited (trustee) in a variety of multi-jurisdictional disputes.

Appleby

With ‘a first-rate service’, the litigation department at Appleby handles a mix of litigation, insolvency, contentious trusts and regulatory matters for local and international corporations. Notably active in insurance disputes and complex restructuring matters, local practice head John Wasty and counsel Hannah Tildesley are ‘an impressive team, equally at home acting as advocates or as attorneys conducting heavyweight international litigation’. Senior counsel John Riihiluoma primarily focuses on reinsurance disputes, directors and officers liability actions, and shareholder and corporate disputes; while Steven White is instructed on a variety of trust and employment disputes.

Practice head(s):

John Wasty

Testimonials

‘Appleby as a whole worked fantastically well. We relied on Appleby to draft large sections of briefs submitted to federal court in the US, and they had the standing and reputation to be considered experts in Bermuda law by the judge. In all, Appleby provided an extremely high level of service to us and (more importantly) to the client.’

‘We worked with Steven White and Hannah Tildesley. They were both extremely impressive and well-versed in Bermudian law. Steven and Hannah provided clear, detailed answers to difficult questions in such a way that we were able to present them both as legal experts to the US court.’

‘Appleby’s litigation team provides a first-rate service. The combination of their skills running heavyweight international litigation and their experience and knowledge of local courts makes the firm a force to be reckoned with.’

‘John Wasty and Hannah Tildesley in Bermuda are an impressive team, equally at home acting as advocates or as attorneys conducting heavyweight international litigation.’

‘The Dispute Resolution team at Appleby are a pleasure to work with. There is real depth of legal knowledge and tactical capability here in addition to excellent client care.’

‘John Wasty leads the team combining in depth knowledge and tactical know-how with panache.’

‘Hannah Tildesley is an excellent counsel whose legal knowledge and efficiency are outstanding.’

‘We have found the whole team without fail to be informed, professional, diligent, courteous, and responsive to the matter. There is a unity to the approach, and whilst there have been some changes to those on the team these have been seamless, and at no point any single point of failure. Were the lead partner ever unavailable for any reason, we have full confidence that his colleagues would be able to pick up the baton without detriment to the matter.’

‘Steven White, Partner at Appleby Bermuda, has been the primary point of contact and lead in the matter. There is no doubt in my mind that Steven is a highly competent and professional first-class lawyer. At all times I found Steven to be patient, kind and compassionate and able to clearly expound legal principles and the strategic approach, and boil down to first principles that were easily digestible. It is hard to pin a weakness on him.’

‘One of the oldest “magic circle” law firms on the island, Appleby has a thriving, well resourced litigation team with vast knowledge and experience of the Bermuda courts.’

‘John Wasty – Head of Dispute Resolution – a creative strategist whose no nonsense approach makes him a firm favourite with clients.’

‘Hannah Tildesley – knowledgeable, industrious and meticulous, with enormous enthusiasm for the job at hand – the safest pair of hands a client could wish for.’

Key clients

Credit Suisse Life (Bermuda) Limited

Syncora Holdings Ltd.

Over 400 former shareholders in the Bermuda company Nkwe Platinum Limited

Sino Charm International Limited

GCX Limited

Seabras 1 Limited

GTL International Limited

PRS

Work highlights

  • Instructed by Credit Suisse Life (Bermuda) Limited as counsel in claims issued by policyholders and individuals who are the ultimate beneficiaries of those policies.
  • 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.
  • Representing Sino Charm (the Petitioner) in proceedings to wind up Hong Kong Stock exchange-listed company, Titan Petrochemicals Group Ltd (Titan).

Carey Olsen Bermuda Limited

Jointly led by Michael Hanson and Keith Robinson, the dispute resolution team at Carey Olsen Bermuda Limited attracts an array of instructions from ultra-high-net-worth individuals and multinationals. Notably strong in the insurance sector, Hanson specialises in crisis management issues, corporate cases, employment and regulatory investigations, and executive disputes; while Robinson has considerable experience acting in high-value offshore trust litigation and insolvency issues. Other areas of focus for the department include multi-jurisdictional freezing injunctions, asset tracing matters and cross-border restructurings; counsel Henry Tucker, who divides his time between Bermuda and Hong Kong, specialises in the latter. Counsel Sam Stevens and senior associates Cheri Minors and Kyle Masters are further names to note.

Practice head(s):

Michael Hanson; Keith Robinson

Testimonials

‘Keith Robinson is head and shoulders above other litigators in Bermuda.’

‘Keith Robinson is a very experienced trusts lawyer as well as being a very experienced advocate. This makes him a very good adviser who knows what works. Kyle Masters is a very practical commercial-minded lawyer and very good to work with. Smart and effective.’

‘The Carey Olsen lawyers take the time to understand the needs of the business and together with their sound legal advice and consistent responsiveness, have proven to be valuable business partners. They are subject matters experts and pleasant to work with.’

‘The Carey Olsen lawyers instructed by us are subject matter experts, are very responsive and understand our business needs and dispute resolution objectives. Michael Hanson, Keith Robinson and Kyle Masters have provided valuable legal support and continue to be our lawyers of choice.’

‘This team stands out above its competitors for its responsiveness, technical expertise and commercial awareness. Having dealt with a broad range of firms I can say confidently that Carey Olsen now leads the pack as the provider of choice.’

‘Michael Hanson – the go to guy for board and c-suite whether it relates to board governance, corporate or employment disputes and regulatory advice. He answers the phone whenever you call and always comes back with the simple commercial solution that nobody thought about! His track record of resolving disputes without recourse to costly litigation is unmatched. Highly savvy.’

‘Jay Webster – up and coming talent, his support of employment disputes is excellent, commercial and responsive with excellent attention to detail. He leave no stone unturned.’

‘Keith Robinson – he stands alone as the best litigator on island, unmatched intellect and litigation skills, capable of handling the heaviest and most complex of litigation as if he is strolling to the park! He is the guy nobody wants to have on the other side.’

‘Kyle Masters – provides solid advice set in great context. He has great market experience which he used to his advantage when resolving disputes and finding solutions.’

‘Extremely responsive and sensitive to commercial realities of the advice that they provide. Great understanding of local market place. They are keen, intelligent and efficient.’

‘Clear and concise advice. They appear to always be available and certainly make you feel as if you are the client that matters the most.’

Key clients

Arch Capital Group

Axa XL

Apex Group Limited

Applied Computer Technologies

Bermuda Electric Light Company Limited

Butterfield Trust (Bermuda) Limited

Fidelity National Title Insurance Company Limited

Hiscox Group

Island Heritage

Jet Blue Airways Corporation

KRyS Global

Lyndhurst Limited

Mexico Infrastructure Finance LLC

MS Amlin AG

One Communications Limited

Sino Power Resources Inc

Third Point Reinsurance Ltd.

Transworld Payment Solutions Limited

VMS Investment Group Limited

Work highlights

  • Successfully petitioned the Supreme Court of Bermuda in relation to Hsin Chong Group Holdings Limited (HCGH) and obtained order to appoint RSM Corporate Advisory (Hong Kong) Limited (RSM) and KRyS & Associates (Bermuda) Ltd (KRyS) as joint provisional liquidators for restructuring purposes in 2019.
  • Acted for Bermuda Electric Light Company Limited (BELCO) in a test case and appeal brought by the capital city of Hamilton to determine important aspects of the rights of the municipality unilaterally to require changes to the manner of supply of power by BELCO as the only licensed bulk electricity provider in Bermuda.
  • Acted for Transworld Payment Solutions in a matter in which the Chief Justice set aside an ex parte order recognising in Bermuda the appointment of a UK liquidator of a UK company.

Cox Hallett Wilkinson Limited

Singled out for its ‘extremely user-friendly and accessible’ advice, the group at Cox Hallett Wilkinson Limited handles the full gamut of international litigation, including trust and estate disputes, shareholder and director disputes, and insolvency and restructuring matters. Locally, the practice acts in medical claims, employment litigation, property disputes, and divorce and financial ancillary relief matters. Headed up by Craig Rothwell, who specialises in personal injury claims, the team includes experienced senior counsel David Kessaram and newly promoted director Matthew Watson, who have both seen an uptick in high-value trust and estate disputes. Kim White is also notably active in this space.

Practice head(s):

Craig Rothwell

Testimonials

‘Cox Hallett Williamson are extremely user friendly and accessible.’

‘Matthew Watson is a good up and coming individual who is able to step into the breach. Matthew is very responsive to client demands and gives good commercial advice.’

‘Established, extremely well-respected entity in Bermuda. Vital combination of ethical, experienced long-standing upper management aided by newer international and domestic colleagues.’

‘David Kessaram: total integrity, learned, patient and persistent.’

‘Matthew Watson: honest, studious, legal-detail oriented, energetic presence.’

‘Possibly smaller than some of its Bermudian rivals, but that gives it an advantage in terms of personal attention applied to the case and it is deservedly attracting top quality work.’

‘Matt Watson is an absolute delight to work with: incredibly hard-working, excellent commercial brain, superb attention to detail and a first-rate lawyer. No praise for him is too high.’

‘David Kessaram offers decades of experience and brings a steady and reassuring elder statesman hand to his cases.’

‘The hidden gem of the Caribbean! CHW bring an unusually creative and imaginative approach to dispute resolution, along with top-level commitment and round-the-clock availability. At CHW they are light on their feet and able to move very fast to cover the sudden twists and turns which inevitably arise in litigation.’

‘Matthew Watson is an absolute star. He’s done it all in Australia, and is now revelling in the global dispute resolution work on offer in Bermuda. He is not just reactive, but is strategic, and gives deep and incisive thought to all issues confronting his clients. David Kessaram has a wealth of experience to draw on, and to share with his colleagues. if he has not seen it, it never happened. Craig Rothwell is a remarkably firm hand on the tiller.’

‘David Kessaram’s experienced and steady hand is very reassuring for clients. Matthew Watson is very proactive and an effective operator in the court room.’ 

Key clients

GCX Limited / Reliance Globalcom Limited

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

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

Caroline Bay Limited

Bermuda Hospitals Board/ Medical Protection Society

Work highlights

  • Advised telecoms giant GCX Limited and Reliance Globalcom Limited on its successful emergence from US Chapter 11 proceedings with parallel Bermuda proceedings.
  • Acted for KPMG as joint liquidators in the long-running liquidation of Par-la-Ville Hotel and Residences Limited (in liquidation) with cross-border asset recovery.

MJM Limited

Headed up by Fozeia Rana-Fahy, who is singled out for her involvement in high-value trust litigation, MJM Limited regularly acts for clients in insolvency litigation, banking-related disputes, employment claims and regulatory matters. Leading the firm’s recovery and enforcement team, Jennifer Haworth is noted for her expertise in fraud, asset recovery and tracing matters, while senior counsel Andrew Martin is experienced in international insolvencies, debt restructuring issues and schemes of arrangement. Another senior counsel to note is Alan Dunch.

Practice head(s):

Fozeia Rana-Fahy

Testimonials

‘The MJM team really has a personal touch with their new clients. From the beginning of the relationship, I felt I was with a group that cared about my situation and was going to do everything in their power to get the best outcome for me.’

‘The two individuals that stand out most in my mind are Fozeia Rana-Fahy and Tim Molton. Fozeia helped me to feel that I was cared for and was able to boil down a very emotional situation to the basics and to see clearly what the real issues were and to help devise an appropriate strategy. Tim was someone who would comb through all the details, answer every question I had and respond to the most insignificant issues that I would question. Both of them made me feel like I was the most important client they had and that they had empathy and understanding for the situation I was in. More importantly, they never judged me and had great compassion through the entire case.’

Key clients

Baker & McKenzie (Taiwan)

Mishcon De Reya LLP

HSBC Bank Bermuda Limited

Winchester Global Trust Company

Clarien Bank Limited

Apex

Weatherford

Bermuda Civil Aviation Authority

Renaissance Holdings Limited

Work highlights

  • Representing Baker & McKenzie (Taiwan) in an extremely high-value contentious trust litigation (over $10bn) concerning the validity of trusts and estate representation matters.
  • Representing the creditors committee of Weatherford in a scheme of arrangement of Bermuda group and international holding companies in $100m debt reorganisation in conjunction with a US Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Plan.
  • Representing HSBC in various disputes and advisory matters, including drafting contractual advice regarding internal construction works being conducted on behalf of the Bank (Path to Green), a dispute with customer regarding merchant services (PremierTix) and advice regarding an adverse possession claim relating to a repossessed property.

Walkers

The ‘very solid’ litigation team at Walkers is led in Bermuda by managing partner Kevin Taylor, who frequently appears before the Supreme Court of Bermuda and Bermuda Court of Appeal. The team has a strong local track record in insolvency litigation, schemes of arrangement, shareholder claims, professional negligence disputes, trust litigation, debt recovery work and employment claims. Peter Dunlop specialises in insurance and reinsurance disputes, with additional experience in international reinsurance arbitration proceedings. Nicole Tovey and senior associate Benjamin McCosker are other key names to note.

Practice head(s):

Kevin Taylor

Testimonials

‘Always quick to reply to queries. Aware of all issues and time lines. Focus is protecting the client. Work well with large groups of lawyers representing different clients but with common interests. Big picture focus so always have end game in sight rather than get distracted by smaller issues.’

‘Nicole Tovey – Calm and empathetic to client circumstances.’

‘Kevin Taylor – Listens well to client. Strong advocate for client position.’

‘On the project I have worked with Walkers I have primarily dealt with Kevin Taylor and Benjamin McCosker. Benjamin takes the lead in service delivery overseen by Kevin. Throughout the project Benjamin was available at short notice to take a call to answer urgent queries regardless of the time difference. This was important for us in being able to deliver on our requirements.’

‘Walkers has a very solid team and we welcome their expertise in Bermuda insolvency matters.’

‘Benjamin McCosker really carried the matter, in being very available and clear in his communications.’

Key clients

Athene Holding Ltd

CITGO Petroleum Corporation

Ernst & Young Transactions Limited, Hong Kong and EY Cayman Ltd

Ernst & Young Limited (Bermuda) and RSM Corporate Advisory (Hong Kong Limited)

North Mining Shares Companies Limited

KPMG Advisory Ltd (Bermuda)

Grant Thornton Specialist Services (Cayman) Limited and Grand Thornton Recovery and Reorganization Limited

PT Tenaga Bumi Bali

Panacorp Casa de Valores, S.A.

Alexis Enterprises Limited

CNA Hardy

TransAsia Private Capital Group

Work highlights

  • Engaged by North Mining to seek the appointment of ‘light touch’ provisional liquidators to the company, for restructuring purposes, and to seek the issuance of a Letter of Request to the Hong Kong Court.
  • Acted for Athene Holding Ltd in commenced proceedings in the Supreme Court of Bermuda against former directors and officers of the company arising in the context of a bid for the acquisition of a third party leading issuer of fixed index annuities.
  • Acting for the cross-border Joint Provisional Liquidators of Up Energy Development Group Limited; a Bermuda registered Hong Kong Stock Exchange listed company, and the parent of the Up Energy Group of companies involved in coal mining.

ASW Law Limited

At ASW Law Limited, the commercial litigation and arbitration team is instructed on a broad range of insolvency and cross-border commercial disputes and is notably strong at handling complex contentious insurance and reinsurance matters. Led by ‘excellent advocateJan Woloniecki, who has a substantial arbitration practice, the team also fields insolvency head Kehinde George and the ‘very knowledgeableRod Attride-Stirling, who also deals with trust and hedge fund disputes, maritime claims and shareholder litigation.

Practice head(s):

Jan Woloniecki

Testimonials

‘Rod Attride-Stirling – very knowledgeable and always pleasant to work with – supported by an excellent team.’

‘The team works very well together, and ensures that they are in constant contact with the client on developments in the case and developments in Bermuda generally. Highly responsive and organized.’

‘Jan Woloniecki is an excellent advocate and has literally written the book on reinsurance law.’

‘Rod Attride-Stirling prepares well and presents his client’s position forcefully.’

‘This practice combines specialization in insurance and related commercial work, whether in litigation or arbitration, with an ability to provide excellent local representation in matters outside that sphere, including very high value trust and fiduciary relationships disputes.’

‘More generally ASW Law have proven themselves capable of handling the full range of litigation that one expects to see in the Bermuda courts or in arbitrations related to Bermuda-based commercial/wealth management structures. The firm’s practice extends beyond this to local matters of substantial importance, including matters with a wide public law or constitutional dimension.’

‘Rod Attride-Sterling is one of the leading members of the Bermudian legal profession with a proven/long-term track record of success in all facets of civil litigation. He’s a fine team leader/player and is very adept at handling cases with a wide international element. However, I think it needs to be emphasized that Rod is an excellent advocate in his own right and in my experience certainly as able as those members of the English Bar who frequently appear in Bermuda courts.’

‘This practice is unique because of the breadth of experience of the main litigators, particularly Rod Attride-Stirling. The team is very hands on and able to handle big litigation without being unwieldy or needing to put to many lawyers on each issue.’

‘Rod Attride-Stirling is a senior Bermuda litigator in the first rank of local advocates.’

‘Rod Attride Stirling is a star individual who truly knows his stuff and really fights for his client. I would highly recommend him.’

Key clients

OUTBermuda

Deloitte Ltd

Finance & Risk Services Ltd

PricewaterhouseCoopers

Work highlights

  • Representing Deloitte Ltd, the joint provisional liquidators of PDV Insurance Company Limited, an insurance / reinsurance company which is the captive (re)insurer for Venezuelan Government-owned group of companies headed by Petroleos de Venezuela S.A.
  • Acting for Deloitte Ltd, the provisional liquidators of Spencer Capital Holdings Ltd, the holding company of a group previously engaged in insurance and reinsurance services in various jurisdictions, including finance and insurance products and services to auto dealers in the US.
  • Acted for Ernst & Young, members of which were appointed by the Bermuda Court as joint provisional liquidators (and subsequently Joint Liquidators) of Seadrill Limited, North Atlantic Drilling Limited and Sevan Drilling Limited.

Kennedys

Praised as ‘clever and hugely experienced’, particularly in insurance disputes, managing partner Mark Chudleigh heads up the litigation group at Kennedys, which has expertise in an assortment of commercial disputes, trust litigation, professional negligence claims, contentious restructuring and insolvency issues, and public law and regulatory disputes. Senior associate Lewis Preston regularly assists Chudleigh with many of the firm’s high-profile mandates. Alex Potts QC  departed to Conyers' Cayman office in early 2020.

Practice head(s):

Mark Chudleigh

Other key lawyers:

Lewis Preston

Testimonials

‘Unparalleled on-island insurance disputes experience, and very capable in other areas as well.’

‘Mark Chudleigh: clever and hugely experienced insurance disputes practitioner.’

Key clients

Covea Group

Annuity & Life Re Ltd (Full Apex)

Annuity & Life Re Ltd (Kingboard)

Apex Fund Services Limited

AXA XL

Kalo Advisors as liquidators of the Kingate Funds

Work highlights

  • Representing the French Covea Group in connection with two related proceedings in the Bermuda courts involving litigation between Covea and Bermuda insurance broker, Priosma.
  • Representing Annuity & Life Re Ltd., a substantial minority shareholder of Full Apex Holdings Limited, in pursuing a just and equitable winding up petition, alternatively a section 111 petition seeking relief from the Court for minority oppression and unfair prejudice.
  • Representing an individual in substantial litigation taking place before the Supreme Court of Bermuda and the Court of Appeal for Bermuda, against Athene Holding Ltd (one of Bermuda’s largest life insurance companies).