Dispute resolution in British Virgin Islands
'A go-to firm for high-value, BVI-based litigation', Conyers' BVI office has 'a pre-eminent boutique dispute resolution practice'. The group acts in commercial litigation, shareholder disputes and emergency interim relief work, as well as insolvency and restructuring matters involving schemes of arrangement, liquidation and asset tracing. The practice also acts in substantial trust litigation representing trustees, protectors and beneficiaries. Litigation and restructuring head Mark Forte recently acted for KMG International in the enforcement of a high-value arbitration award, and Richard Evans is notably focused on shareholder disputes, particularly Asia-sourced work, and contentious insolvency matters. Also key to the team are Jerry Samuel and newly promoted partner Tameka Davis, while Matthew Brown, Lauren Peaty and Alecia Johns are experienced associates.
Other key lawyers:
‘The work is high value, complex and international, and the team is highly experienced‘.
‘Very capable fellow partners and associates, with excellent knowledge of the procedures and practices of the local court‘.
‘Mark Forte is an excellent lawyer and the go-to-guy for BVI disputes work; for other Caribbean jurisdictions, he is also an invaluable source of recommendations and practical advice‘.
‘Richard Evans is a hugely experienced BVI litigator, with an unsurpassed knowledge of the BVI litigation market. He is a sophisticated, canny operator, with particular skill at assembling the right – and very best – team for any particular case‘.
‘Tameka Davis and associate Matthew Brown are class acts‘.
‘Associate Alecia Johns is a major new talent at Conyers’ BVI office. She has great intellect combined with real commercial savvy – very much one to watch for the future‘.
Custom Marine Ventures
King Bun (and others)
Next Global Investments
Dynamic Link Ventures
- Acted for Renaissance Ventures in its appeal against a Commercial Court order, which refused specific disclosure of certain documents.
- Acted for R&S Trust in seeking to set aside a trust.
- Acted for Kwok in a shareholder dispute.
Harneys fields 'good strategists who are commercial in their thinking and very responsive'. The practice stands out for handling insolvency and restructuring matters, trusts litigation and urgent injunctive relief, as well as Latin America and Asia-related work. BVI litigation and insolvency practice group head Andrew Thorp specialises in cross-border asset recovery and insolvency work; Jonathan Addo acted for the claimant trustee in a major trust dispute surrounding the ownership of shares; Claire Goldstein is experienced in complex multi-jurisdictional commercial litigation, fraud, insolvency and trusts matters; and Peter Ferrer is also highly rated. Stuart Cullen was promoted to partner, while senior associates Lucy Hannett, Christopher Pease and Sarah Thompson are also recommended.
Other key lawyers:
‘Harneys has good knowledge of BVI law and understands what counterparties want to do at different stages – that really helps win cases‘.
‘Andrew Thorp is excellent to work with, and a clear and strategic thinker who is good to have in a client’s corner‘.
‘Jonathan Addo is highly likeable, dependable and friendly, in addition to being professional and knowledgeable‘.
‘Peter Ferrer is a responsive, critical thinker who is personable and has an excellent legal brain‘.
Commercial Bank of Dubai
Joint provisional liquidators of OAS Finance and OAS Investments
- Represented Independent Asset Management Company (the investment manager and controlling shareholder of BVI fund company, Swiss Forfaiting) in a significant ruling for BVI fund and corporate governance professionals, relating to whether its fresh issuance of shares by directors was for a proper purpose or to alter the balance of voting power between shareholders.
- Acted for JTRUST Group, a Japanese financial services provider, in a multi-jurisdictional fraud claim involving an investment in Thailand-based company, Group Lease.
- Represented the Commercial Bank of Dubai in a high-value enforcement claim against members of the UAE’s Al-Sari family.
Walkers BVI has 'a very highly respected and well-established dispute resolution presence in the BVI, with a team of excellent lawyers and support staff who are marked out by their absolute commitment to the client's best interests'. The practice covers major BVI disputes involving ultra-high-value assets, corporate litigation, shareholder and boardroom disputes, insolvency claims, fraud, and litigation arising out of Russia, the CIS and Africa. Oliver Clifton specialises in complex cross-border commercial litigation, with particular experience in fraud and asset tracing; and Rosalind Nicholson represented Madam Chen in a long-running dispute over the ownership of the New Century Hotel and Greek Mythology Casino in Macau. Iain Tucker is particularly focused on international insolvency and fraud-related litigation, and Murray Laing was recently promoted to the partnership. Former senior counsel Gerard Clarke joined Collas Crill.
Appleby is 'unique thanks to its thorough approach' and the BVI office is singled out for its shareholder dispute, trust litigation and insolvency work; it is also increasingly involved in fraud and asset tracing work, particularly issues involving Russia and the former CIS States. Andrew Willins leads the practice and recently represented the Donna Union Foundation in the enforcement of shareholder disputes-related arbitral awards. Senior associate Olwyn Barry, who has been on secondment in the firm's Jersey office, returned to the BVI, and associate Fraser Mitchell was hired from Mishcon de Reya LLP. Justin Davis departed to Carey Olsen.
‘One of the best litigation firms in the BVI and involved in all the big fraud cases‘.
‘Andrew Willins is probably one of the best litigators in the BVI. He has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the cases that have been fought in the jurisdiction, and a very good sense for what will and will not fly with the Court‘.
‘The team has grown I the last 18 months with some impressive lawyers and they seem well stocked to handle volume and larger matters. This has freed up senior staff more to do what they do best.‘
‘Andrew Willins has to be the best advocate on island in my opinion; he’s very smooth in the way he handles the issue at hand, unfazed and immaculately prepared. Andrew is a master strategist and wherever possible the person I want in my corner.‘
‘Appleby’s lawyers demonstrated impressive hands-on approach and proved very useful and helpful throughout the BVI proceedings.‘
‘Andrew Willins is the firm’s partner for top-class service, with a clear understanding of the needs and challenges his clients face.‘
‘Working with Andrew Willins and Fraser Mitchell was a great pleasure. I was happy indeed with speed and quality of their response. They guided us very well through the intricacies of the BVI court procedure. I really cannot recall any flaws from their side. Great professionals.‘
‘Andrew Willins is creative, efficient and easy to work with, and Olwyn Barry is also excellent.‘
Donna Union Foundation
Liquidators of Peak Hotels & Resorts
Victory Success Holdings
Curatus Trust Company (Mauritius)
- Acted for Curatus Trust Company (Mauritius) in a dispute between two trusts, which related to the control of a BVI company with interests in the oil and petrochemicals sector.
- Acted for the liquidators of Peak Hotels & Resorts in various issues including successfully obtaining directions on the categories of recoverable costs.
Maples Group's dispute resolution and insolvency team is 'very thorough, 100% on top of cases and a pleasure to work with'. The practice specialises in complex international commercial litigation relating to restructuring and insolvency issues, company law, finance matters, distressed funds and shareholder issues. Other areas of strength span asset tracing work, trust disputes, insurance and reinsurance matters, professional negligence claims, civil fraud issues and contractual claims. Adrian Francis and Alex Hall Taylor jointly lead the dispute resolution and insolvency department, which also counts associate Simon Hall as an experienced adviser.
Practice head(s): Adrian Francis; Alex Hall Taylor
Other key lawyers: Simon Hall
‘The team gives the kind of back up a barrister wants – quick and correct answers to questions, with nothing being too much trouble‘.
‘Alex Hall Taylor stands out for his knowledge, experience and responsiveness‘.
‘Adrian Francis is a very cool, experienced, lawyer with outstanding commercial savvy and absolute commitment to clients‘.
‘A fantastic, close-knit litigation team, who are a pleasure to work with.‘
‘Associate Simon Hall is an experienced and fearless BVI litigator who is well able to hold his own against London silks‘.
‘Alex Hall Taylor is an exceptionally bright, sensible litigator with years of top-end experience at the London bar behind him. A huge asset to the firm.‘
Gany Holdings (PTC)
Federal Republic of Brazil
Municipality of Sao Paolo
Ogier's BVI dispute resolution team is praised by clients as 'one of the best in the BVI in terms of legal ability, quality of service and plain old fashioned client care'. The group has particular expertise in commercial disputes and fraud matters, restructuring and insolvency work, contentious regulatory advice and contentious trust mandates. The practice also has a significant Russian and CIS and Far East client base. Brian Lacy leads the BVI dispute resolution team, which includes international litigation and arbitration specialist Nicholas Burkill, whose expertise extends to civil fraud, breach of fiduciary duty and asset tracing cases. Grant Carroll was recently promoted to the partnership and Nicholas Brookes was made managing associate. Senior associates Ewelina Clyde-Smith and Alexander Muksinov are also key names to note.
Other key lawyers:
‘Winning decent work, Ogier has some very impressive team members at all levels and it comes up with novel approaches and solutions‘.
‘The Ogier team is pragmatic, responsive and highly-skilled at dealing with multi-jurisdictional “bet-the-company” disputes. It is a pleasure to work with them.‘
‘It is a team which has great clients for good reason: very capable, excellent quality of advice and hard working.‘
‘The super busy and impressive team includes Nicholas Burkill and Brian Lacy and has a genuinely global client base and particular expertise in dealing with CIS clients.‘
‘Nicholas Burkill brings years of City of London experience to the Caribbean and is a great strategist‘.
‘Brian Lacy has excellent understanding of Russian and CIS disputes‘.
‘Grant Carroll considers issues from all angles and is a fantastic problem solver‘.
‘Managing associate Nicholas Brookes has great knowledge of rules of practice and procedure‘.
Essar Global Fund
VTB – Miccros Group
CHC Investments Holding
- Represented a beneficiary seeking an account from the trustee of a corporate trust in the BVI.
- Acted for the liquidator of two Madoff feeder funds in litigation with the Madoff trustee in New York.
- Acted for Essar Global Fund in resisting enforcement in the BVI of a New York confession of judgment.
Campbells 'provides practical, business-oriented advice' and acts in commercial and trusts litigation, insolvency and investment fund disputes; the group also has experience in cross-border liquidations, commercial fraud matters and corporate reorganisations. Recently promoted partner Brian Child has significant experience in complex international insolvencies, restructurings and security enforcement work, and Matthew Freeman is a well-regarded associate. Mo Haque QC left for Candey in London.
‘Brian Child is truly passionate about the practice of law – he gives 100% effort all the time because he enjoys what he does‘.
‘The team has strong insolvency experience and capabilities. Commercial and responsive at all times. High quality through out the team at every grade.‘
‘One of the smaller firms in the BVI, but punching above its weight – the addition to the team of Matt Freeman has given the firm a renewed vigour.‘
‘Brian Child is a strategic thinker, who is happy to roll up his sleeves and fight his client’s corner with gusto and flair.‘
‘Matt Freeman is a stellar performer with a vast knowledge of BVI law and practice.‘
‘Senior associate Chalotte Walker is industrious and creative, and conveys an infectious enthusiasm for her client’s case.‘
‘Brian Child is knowledgeable, authoritative, and always courteous and ethical.‘
‘Brian Child is a business partner as opposed to an indifferent advisor. Applies his knowledge of the law, practically to achieve results. Excellent to work with.‘
Dreymoor Fertilizers Overseas PTE
Gaz Du Cameroun
- Defended Alexander Shishkin against a claim by Eurochem (Russia and Switzerland) relating to alleged personal involvement in commission payments made to senior Eurochem employees.
- Acted for the joint receivers of Million Dragon Wealth in multiple proceedings, which concerned the estate of a deceased businessman who held significant interests in Singapore.
- Represented Gaz du Cameroun in a dispute involving services and machinery, which were provided to an offshore gas drilling rig.
Carey Olsen's 'experienced and responsive practice' covers corporate and commercial disputes, trust litigation, shareholder disputes, fraud and asset tracing issues, corporate investigations, professional negligence cases, contractual claims, and insolvency and regulatory issues. BVI litigation head Ben Mays is experienced in cross-border corporate insolvency and restructuring work, and the enforcement of securities. Counsel Justin Davis was hired from Appleby, while Tim Wright left for Bedell Cristin.
Other key lawyers:
‘Highest quality advice and effective application of that advice‘.
‘Ben Mays is technically streets ahead of anyone else and uses that ability to provide common sense advice that is practical. He is also exceptionally hardworking and makes himself available even at short notice‘.
‘Highly professional and motivated team, providing rapid responses and commercial solutions in a joined up manner across a multitude of jurisdictions.‘
‘Ben Mays is a standout in the BVI and is the best litigator on island; he is extremely responsive, hard working, focused and extremely intelligent.‘
‘They really are a safe pair of hands for offshore litigation and insolvency matters and it’s really handy being able to get advice in real time from someone who knows the BVI courts, judges etc.‘
‘Ben Mays is a star performer assisted ably by his team.‘
‘Ben Mays is my first port of call for contentious matters with a BVI element. He is technically excellent, responsive and provides clear and concise advice, and does so in a calm and personable manner. A pleasure to work alongside.‘
Aurelius Capital Management
Alden Global Capital
Bank of America
Ben Oldman Special Situations Fund
Ciban Management Corporation
Joint liquidators of Oscatello and related BVI Companies
Peak Hotels and Resorts Group
Ping An Bank
- Acted for Key Platinum Holdings in a trust and probate-related ownership dispute.
- Advised David and Christopher St George in claims against the Milio group of companies, an international oil and commodities trading business.
- Acted for the Fairfield Greenwich Group in pursuing Madoff-related indemnity claims against funds in liquidation.
Forbes Hare's 'really excellent practice' acts in large, complex offshore cases including company, trust and investment fund disputes, as well as corporate insolvency issues. Head of litigation and insolvency William Hare splits his time between the firm's London and BVI offices, and Robert Nader is a highly regarded litigator and insolvency practitioner who also acts in commercial arbitrations. Richard Baird is also singled out.
‘William Hare and Robert Nader are excellent‘.
Liquidators to the Fairfield Funds
North and Western Insurance
National Bank of Anguilla
- Represented the liquidators of a collapsed Caribbean insurance company in a successful recovery, which arose from a negligence claim against former auditors.
- Acted for the main defendant in ongoing litigation related to an alleged fraud involving a Japanese investment in a South East Asian financial services provider.
- Advised the Fairfield Sentry liquidators on defendants’ applications for anti-suit relief.
Mourant has 'a responsive team, which does not hesitate to dive into the middle of an ongoing matter and give timely, concise advice'. The practice is experienced in disputes involving insolvency aspects, trusts, shareholders, fraud elements, and interlocutory relief and enforcement issues. Eleanor Morgan heads up the litigation and insolvency department, which also fields recently promoted counsel Catriona Hunter and senior associate Shane Donovan. Nicholas Fox relocated to the firm's Cayman Islands office.
‘One of the smaller firms on island but able to look to its global network of offices as necessary. It has gained a stellar reputation in the litigation field for the consistent high quality of its service to clients‘.
‘Eleanor Morgan is a no-nonsense litigator whose direct and forthright approach to litigation has won her many admirers‘.
‘Counsel Catriona Hunter is approachable and available, and does excellent work‘.
‘A first-class act, senior associate Shane Donovan is one of the rising stars in the BVI litigation scene; his meticulous attention to detail, diligence and creativity are second to none‘.
‘The Mourant team in the BVI provides exactly what clients need from an offshore firm – local knowledge combined with the level of commercial experience and quality that you would expect from an onshore city firm.‘
‘Eleanor Morgan and Shane Donovan are an excellent team: easy to deal with, approachable, commercial and sensible with sound judgment. Eleanor Morgan has virtually unrivalled experience in the BVI, and seems to get on well with peers at all of the other major firms there, making the litigation experience both efficient and as painless as possible. Shane Donovan is a top-quality litigator who could succeed anywhere.‘
Rawlinson & Hunter Trust Co (BVI)
Citco Trust Corporation
Ernst & Young
- Acted for the joint liquidators of the two Kingate Funds, which included recovery efforts and adverse proceedings in various jurisdictions.
- Defended Malcolm King and Formal Holdings against claims for breach of trust, dishonest assistance, knowing receipt, conspiracy, fraudulent misrepresentation and unfair prejudice.
- Successfully defended a section 273 Insolvency Act application brought against the liquidators of Barrington Capital Group.
O'Neal Webster is experienced in disputes involving distressed funds, debt restructuring issues, schemes of arrangement, tracing and recovery actions, and the appointment and removal of liquidators, receivers, and corporate trustees. Senior partner Paul Dennis QC leads the firm’s commercial litigation and arbitration department, and Nadine Whyte focuses exclusively on commercial litigation, corporate insolvency disputes and probate claims. Dan Wise joined from Martin Kenney & Co. and Asha Johnson-Willins is an experienced senior associate.
Paul Dennis QC
‘O’Neal webster has proven itself to be a very diligent firm, nothing slid through the cracks. we had a relatively long case and the awareness, follow up and diligent work that the team exercised were remarkable.‘
‘I valued the fact that the individuals were up front about were the case may go, gave a pretty good estimate of what it’ll take and set my expectations very well for things to come.‘
Magnum Investment Trading Corporation
British Virgin Islands Electricity Corporation
Eastern Caribbean Central Bank
Asian View Overseas
- Acted for BVI Finance in an application to enforce a judgment.
- Represented Tingalayo (BVI) in an insurance dispute concerning the 2017 hurricane damage to a villa rental business.
- Acted for Magnum Investment Trading Corporation and Niteroi in a case involving the fundamental right of a citizen (individual or corporate) to privacy and confidentiality of information.
Collas Crill opened its BVI office in 2017 following its merger with local firm Farara Kerins. The dispute resolution group handles claims involving shareholders, trusts, probate, and development and construction work. The team has also experienced growth in matters originating from Hong Kong and China. Gerard Farara QC is recommended for international commercial litigation and insolvency matters, and senior counsel Gerard Clarke was hired from Walkers BVI.
Gerard Farara QC
Other key lawyers:
Government of the BVI
KLC Corporate Recovery HK
National Parks Trust of the BVI
National Bank of Virgin islands
- Represented AFS Trustee in a dispute over the ownership of a business.
- Acted for a registered agent in a dispute regarding the duty of confidence it owes in relation to requests from BVI’s International Tax Authority.
- Advised a Russian businessman on the BVI legal aspects of a dispute in Russia with an oligarch.
Lennox Paton has 'a very experienced and well-balanced BVI team with excellent local knowledge and commercial judgement'. BVI office litigation head Scott Cruickshank's practice encompasses shareholder disputes, insolvency claims, fraud and asset tracing matters, and trust litigation.
‘The firm has dynamic lawyers and a solid base of commercial and professional clients involved in complex and high-value trust and commercial dispute resolution that is often multi jurisdictional‘.
‘Scott Cruickshank is a seasoned and well-respected litigator who ranks amongst the best on island‘.
‘Scott Cruickshank is an experienced, user-friendly, and effective offshore litigator.‘
‘The firm has ‘dynamic’ lawyers and a solid base of commercial and professional clients involved in complex and high-value trust and commercial dispute resolution – often multi jurisdictional. The firm offers good value for money, is user friendly and is well connected with the leading UK barristers and can access their services where appropriate. For its size this firm is stand-out!‘
‘Lennox Paton is a tight well-run BVI outfit that punches well above its weight – winning mandates in major international insolvencies and commercial fraud disputes.‘
‘The dispute resolution practice is close-knit, friendly, and provides excellent client care. Let by Scott Cruickshank, his litigation team punches above its weight in comparison to the competitor firms in the BVI.‘
Joint liquidators of Pioneer Freight Futures Company
MST Administration Services
- Acted for Kaupthing Bank in numerous BVI insolvency and BVI court-related matters.
- Acted for the joint liquidators of Pioneer Freight Futures Company in a range of matters including a claim against an individual for breach of fiduciary duty.
- Advised the joint liquidators of a BVI company on several issues including bearer shares.
Withers fields 'a solid and experienced team in the BVI supported by huge teams in London and elsewhere'. The cornerstone of the BVI practice is commercial litigation and insolvency, and the team is highly regarded for complex and large-scale international fraud and asset recovery cases. Niki Olympitis is highly rated and Sara-Jane Knock is an experienced senior associate.
Other key lawyers:
‘An impressive law firm that has very experienced practitioners‘.
‘Niki Olympitis is one of the most senior and experienced commercial litigators practicing in the offshore world‘.
‘Niki Olympitis is extremely experienced on island and a master strategist and negotiator, bringing huge amounts of technical knowledge.‘
‘Sara-Jane Knock is a very experienced and impressive senior associate‘.
‘The Withers team is small and perfectly formed balancing the very experienced Niki Olympitis with excellent hard working and clever associate Sara-Jane Knock.‘
‘The BVI office has a very small but talented team consisting of Niki Olympitis and Sara-Jane Knock. Although it is small, it punches well above its weight in terms of the size and importance of instructions, and the quality of its work product.‘
The Government of the Virgin Islands
- Represented the Government of the Virgin Islands in challenging the imposition of publicly accessible registers of beneficial ownership of BVI companies.
- Acted for a Russian businesswoman in the enforcement of a $4.2m Russian judgment in the BVI.
- Acted for a BVI company’s liquidator, whose appointment has been attacked by a former shareholder.