Dispute resolution in British Virgin Islands

Conyers

Conyers has an enviable track record in dispute resolution in the BVI, and is involved in many of the BVI’s most high-profile and high-value multi-jurisdictional disputes. The team is especially active in large-scale commercial litigation, shareholder disputes, emergency interim relief issues, global arbitration award enforcements, insolvency and restructuring claims, and asset tracing disputes. Most notably, the group has handled asset recovery and freezing matters for co-holding companies with parent companies based in the CIS or China. The practice also acts in trust litigation, representing a mix of trustees, protectors and beneficiaries. Led by Mark Forte, the team primarily acts for government agencies, financial institutions, multinationals, funds, insolvency practitioners and high-net-worth individuals, and regularly appears in the Commercial Court and the Court of Appeal. Richard Evans focuses on shareholder disputes, particularly Asia-based mandates, while Jerry Samuel is adept at handling enforcement arbitration matters. Other names to note are Tameka Davis and associates Matthew Brown and Alecia Johns.

Practice head(s):

Mark Forte

Testimonials

‘Conyers remain the BVI boutique firm to beat. Hugely well respected with highly experienced partners and top notch associate support. The go to firm for high value commercial and company BVI litigation.’

‘Richard Evans: hugely experienced but also exceptionally easy and pleasant to deal with, he is a terrific lawyer with a great strategic feel for any case.’

‘Alecia Johns: highly capable and very smart, Alecia is the dream associate for tough litigation. She knows everything inside out.’

‘Mark Forte- doyen in the BVI for international asset recovery and fraud litigation.’

‘Outstanding service from Mark Forte. He is my go to expert in the Caribbean not only for BVI but also for other territories.’

‘Excellent client care, top strategy and planning on complex litigation. Long experience and knowledge of the BVI court system and character of the judges, as well as how to handle difficult opponents.’

‘Mark Forte: knows everyone, everywhere. Dead straight and very keen on maintaining the moral and ethical upper hand, and a flag-bearer for improving standards in the BVI, not always an easy task.’

‘Tameka Davis: new partner. Dynamic, unbelievably tough, clever and hard-working, but also wonderfully laid back as a team-mate. Takes everything in her stride with a maturity beyond her years.’

‘Jane Fedotova: rising star. A master of technical detail and another one for who the clock never stops.’

‘A tight group of high quality litigators who think deeply about the issues, are very responsive, and willing to fight their client’s corner hard.’

‘Mark Forte – huge experience, calm and assured leader of the team, who remains engaged throughout and is committed to delivering a result for the client. Matthew Brown – up and coming star in the team; very thoughtful and analytical; adds value to any case.’

‘The Conyers dispute resolution team is one of the, if not the, leading dispute resolution team in the BVI litigation market.’

Key clients

KMG International NV

Renaissance Ventures Limited

R&S Trust

Dos Santos v BFXWW Inc

Kwok

Koshigi International

King Bun Limited (and Others)

Symphony Partners Limited and Next Global Investments Limited and Dynamic Link Ventures Limited.

The Estate of Alfred Mann

Hu Lan

Wilton Trustees IOM Ltd

Tuscola Group

Work highlights

  • Acting for Renaissance Ventures in a complex and lengthy trial over share register rectification valued in excess of $400m.
  • Representing Wilton Trustees IOM Ltd in a trust dispute involving multiple jurisdictions and interim relief including court appointment of director.
  • Acting as sole counsel for the claimant in Dos Santos v BFXWW Inc.; a cryptocurrency dispute in which the claimant lost a large number of bitcoins as part of a security breach.

Harneys

Harneys is distinguished in the BVI by its presence in a large number of the region’s most high-profile and high-value commercial disputes and insolvency matters, most notably the group handles a mixture of trial work and interlocutory applications before the Court of Appeal and Privy Council. Led by Andrew Thorp, the team is also instructed on a variety of trust disputes, shareholder disputes, multijurisdictional fraud claims and arbitration enforcement matters, with particular expertise in representing Latin American and Asian clients. Claire Goldstein is acting for Commercial Bank of Dubai in litigation to obtain interim freezing injunctions against assets in the BVI for the bank, while Jonathan Addo is representing Hengde Co Ltd in a major trust dispute relating to the ownership of shares held under the trust worth $750m. Stuart Cullen is another key name to note and specialises in freezing injunctions, Norwich Pharmacal disclosure orders and trust claims. Peter Ferrer and senior associates Lucy Hannett, Christopher Pease and Sarah Thompson are also highly regarded.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Thorp

Testimonials

‘The biggest and busiest BVI litigation team. Very strong presence in Asia and UK which helps with BVI deal flow for them combined with having dominated the BVI market for many years.’

‘Andrew Thorp – great to work with, very responsive and pragmatic in his approach. Claire Goldstein – very experienced BVI practitioner who knows and understands the market and workings of the system well.’

‘Harneys has a good approach to fraud and asset recovery cases. Good communication with foreign lawyers and fast deliver of application and court fillings.’

‘The team was very reactive to requests. They have a excellent understanding of international matters and were able to assist us in a very efficient manner with issues already legally very complex. Gave us a very useful straight forward opinion on our request. Excellent team work on their side.’

‘I have worked with Jonathan Addo (partner) and Stuart Rau (senior associate). Jonathan is very available and worked with Stuart in a very efficient manner. They can both very well grasp complex issues and suggest practical solutions. I would work again with this team without any hesitation. They are very reliable.’

‘First class knowledge and experience of the local jurisdiction. Fantastic core of highly motivated partners and wonderful associates.’

‘Peter Ferrer – extremely knowledgeable and experienced partner with excellent judgement. Unrivalled expertise. Andrew Thorp – Fantastic client handling and local knowledge; wonderful to work with. Jonathan Addo – Never say die attitude and always puts his clients first. This is a real powerhouse of a team and to be considered as a first choice for BVI and Caribbean litigation.’

‘Christopher Pease (Senior Associate) and Peter Ferrer (Partner) are very professional and hard working people. Always online even in these hard years (Irma hurricane, Covid 19 pandemic). We received quick and exact advice and documents and they provided all scope of work on the highest level and in terms. Our special gratitude to Peter Ferrer for his excellent work and bespoke solutions in resolving different cases.’

‘Harneys have an exemplary pro-active and can-do spirit in litigation and work very well and very collaboratively with lawyers from London or elsewhere.’

‘Peter Ferrer is an exceptionally calm and authoritative presence in the courtroom.’

‘They are the foremost litigators in BVI.’

Key clients

Constellation 2024 Noteholders

The liquidator of major LatAm engineering and oil and gas groups, and other cases, instructed by DFA (Brazil)

Commercial Bank of Dubai

Navigator Equities Limited and Valdimir Chernukhin

Crown Treasure

Convoy Collateral Limited

Hengde Co (PTC) Ltd

Global Investment Capital Holding Limited

The Hobart Group

GRM Energy and the Stoneway Group

Work highlights

  • Acting for Hengde Co (PTC) Ltd, the claimant trustee, in a major trust dispute relating to the ownership of shares held under the trust worth in the region of $750m.
  • Acting for the 2024 Noteholders group, the majority creditors in the BVI Scheme of Arrangement and Provisional Liquidation, and Chapter 15 in New York, which were key to the $1.6bn restructuring of Constellation Oil & Gas SA.

Ogier

Led by 'exceptional litigator' Brian Lacy, Ogier’s dispute resolution team attracts praise for its strength in commercial disputes, fraud matters and restructuring and insolvency work. The group is instructed in a range of asset tracing mandates (particularly for Russian and CIS clients), enforcement proceedings relating to foreign judgments and arbitral awards, shareholder disputes, injunctive relief issues and contentious trust mandates. The team also fields Grant Carroll, international arbitration specialist Nicholas Burkill and Nicholas Brookes, who was promoted to partner in 2020 and has a substantial roster of private clients. Senior associates Ewelina Clyde-Smith and Alexander Muksinov are further names to note.

Practice head(s):

Brian Lacy

Testimonials

‘Ogier are the standout offshore firm for complex multi-jurisdictional litigation and arbitration. Their lawyers are pragmatic, efficient, and technically very able. Their professionalism and commitment to each case is second to none.’

‘Highly impressive, professional and dynamic outfit. They are constantly growing and have a seriously good reputation within the jurisdiction.’

‘The dispute resolution team at Ogier is first class. They are the go to firm for the most complex and high value cases.’

‘The selling point for us for the BVI Ogier team was their warm and user-friendly manner, teamed with an immaculate knowledge of their practice areas. I phoned round a number of BVI litigation firms seeking assistance with an injunction. Ogier jumped off the shelf with their immediate willingness to help and listen to our concerns.’

‘Grant Carroll was responsive and a delight to deal with. Daniel Mitchell helped us to navigate the complexities of BVI litigation with ease, and was also available for a chat where matters were unclear, regardless of the time difference.’

‘A large, well staffed BVI office with excellent lawyers and support staff, coupled with further excellent BVI lawyers in their Jersey and Hong Kong offices servicing clients local to those areas. All have a wealth of experience in high value, complex multi-jurisdictional litigation.’

‘Nick Burkill has years of City of London experience as a partner and has carried that pragmatism and excellence over to his BVI practice. Nick Brookes is a new partner in the BVI but has years of experience and is perhaps the most knowledgeable person on the island when it comes to the CPR – a determined and fearsome litigator. Brian Lacy has an excellent client rapport and is a persuasive advocate in his own right.’

‘Brian Lacy heads the BVI Dispute Resolution team, and is the perfect choice for highly complex, hard fought litigation. Brian is an exceptional litigator, balancing technical skills with common sense, experience and strong strategic vision. Nicholas Brookes is a newly promoted Partner in the BVI Dispute Resolution team. He is a formidable litigator; combining technical brilliance, with diligence and good commercial sense.’

‘Nick Burkill is an exceptionally good litigator. He is one of the most experienced lawyers in the BVI and has seen everything. Nick Brookes, who has just been promoted to partner, is a star of the future. He is very calm under pressure and a shrewd tactician.’

Key clients

Al Thani (members of the Qatari royal family)

FiHAG

Zorin Khan

King Bun

QGOG / Olinda

Emmerson

Paul Pretlove (as liquidator of certain Madoff feeder funds)

PwC (as receivers of Peckson)

Paraskevaides

Scherbakov family

Work highlights

  • Acting for members of the Qatari royal family as heirs of the late billionaire art collector Sheikh Saoud Mohamed A.A. Al Thani, in a case concerning the ability to enforce an oral will in the BVI.
  • Acting for a Brazilian oil and gas group in a successful $1.5bn restructuring, involving the first BVI soft-touch liquidation and a BVI scheme of arrangement recognised in the US under Chapter 15.
  • Acting for a group of directors being pursued by way of direct claims and a derivative action for the alleged under-sale of a Hong Kong and PRC pharmaceuticals business.

Walkers BVI

Walkers BVI attracts praise for its regular involvement in high-end BVI disputes concerning ultra-high-value assets and fraud issues, the majority of which originate in Russia, the CIS and Africa. Practice co-head Oliver Clifton and 'great team player' Iain Tucker are representing Mikhail Abyzov in the high-profile Emmerson proceedings; in 2019 the team handled applications before the Commercial Court and, in 2020, obtained freezing orders on assets valued at more than $1bn before the Court of Appeal. Alongside its established expertise in fraud disputes, the insolvency and dispute resolution department has seen significant growth in high-value insolvency and corporate disputes. Practice co-head Rosalind Nicholson specialises in corporate litigation and corporate governance work, with a particular focus on shareholder and boardroom disputes, contested takeovers and restructuring mandates. Murray Laing and senior associate Cate Barbour are also notably active in the local commercial litigation market.

Testimonials

‘They are very approachable and friendly.’

‘Very knowledgeable and approachable team. High quality expertise, very responsive and great to work with.’

‘Rosalind Nicholson – very client friendly. Fiercely intelligent and very good at getting to the heart of the issue.’

‘Renell Benjamin is highly recommended. As a local, he knows all the ins and outs of the BVI legal scene.’

‘Oliver Clifton – cerebral approach, methodical and focused.’

‘Iain Tucker – highly personable and a great team player.’

‘Walkers is an international, multi-jurisdictional firm, with specialists who know their local markets inside and out.’

‘Murray Laing – Murray is an excellent attorney with an encyclopaedic knowledge of court procedures and jurisprudence in the BVI. He has a keen strategic sense and quickly and thoroughly identifies factors relevant to corporate decisionmakers.’

Key clients

Emmerson International Corporation

Lau Wing Yan

Vidatel Limited

Broad Idea International Limited

Fonds Rusnano Capital S.A

Incredible Power Limited

Grantway International Limited

FTI Consulting, KPMG, GT, Deloitte

Industrial Bank Financial Leasing Co. Ltd

Work highlights

  • Representing former Russian Government Minister Mikhail Abyzov in claims against Viktor Vekselberg, Russia’s third-richest man, in the high-profile Emmerson proceedings.
  • Acting for Broad Idea in a dispute which raises novel issues in relation to the BVI Court’s jurisdiction to order injunctive relief over an individual who is not resident in the jurisdiction and in relation to the jurisdiction of the BVI Court to grant free-standing interim injunctions over BVI Companies.
  • Acting for a syndicate of banks in relation to winding up proceedings in the Commercial Court arising out of a borrower default triggered by the collapse in share price of Luckin Coffee Inc.

Appleby

Headed up by Andrew Willins, Appleby’s BVI litigation team primarily handles shareholder disputes and insolvency work; it is also increasingly instructed by Russian and CIS clients in cross-border fraud and asset tracing work. The local department also draws on expertise from the firm’s international network; newly promoted partner Olwyn Barry divides her time between the firm’s Jersey and BVI offices, and focuses on BVI disputes. Further names to note include senior associate Fraser Mitchell and associate Laure-Astrid Wigglesworth; both support Willins in some of the firm’s complex BVI litigation matters.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Willins

Testimonials

‘They are an excellent, diligent and thoughtful team. They know the law of BVI and Cayman inside out.’

‘Experience of heavy complex cases. Outstanding in house knowledge of BVI local case law from Andrew Willins.’

‘I know the BVI dispute resolution market well and can confirm that Appleby are definitely among the best teams. They are a great fit for a dispute of any scale and complexity.’

‘I have worked with Andrew Willins and Fraser Mitchell. Andrew is an established name in the world of offshore dispute resolution. His profile is as strong as he himself is humble. Fraser is definitely a rising star who seems to have learned a lot from his partner. Both were a real pleasure to work with. My teammates and me felt strongly that we were in the safe hands. Our client’s case was not a straightforward one. Still, thanks to Andrew and Fraser we got everything we needed from the court and a favourable settlement.’

‘Andrew WIllins has an unrivalled knowledge of the local jurisprudence, and can put his fingers on a case on almost any point. He is also brimming with interesting angles to take on his matters. His sense of what will and will not fly with the local judiciary is invaluable.’

‘Fraser Mitchell is a delight to work with as a junior: always ready to help, and full of good humour.’

‘Highly competent and responsive team.’

‘Andrew Willans is the standout partner. Gives high quality real time advice. Resolute in the face of opposition and unfazed by extremely difficult and unpredictable opponents. Olwyn Barry is also very good.’

Key clients

KPMG

Deloitte

Sempacher Foundation

Liquidators of Unicorn Worldwide Holdings Limited

Pacific Alliance Asia Opportunity Fund

Donna Union Foundation

Victory Success Holdings Limited

Lenox International Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted on behalf of Donna Union Foundation in relation to the enforcement of arbitral awards against companies controlled by two Russian individuals, one of which sought to re-domicile the company to Anguilla in response to the application.
  • Successfully acted on behalf of Ray Cho in challenging the jurisdiction of the Court to grant Black Swan injunctive relief against persons outside of the jurisdiction.
  • Acting for the Liquidators of Unicorn Worldwide Holdings Limited in an extremely complex series of cross-border liquidations in the BVI and the Isle of Man, in which over a dozen proprietary claims are made to the entirety of the assets of the company.

Campbells

At Campbells, the BVI team has extensive experience in cross-border liquidations, commercial fraud matters, company and trust litigation, and corporate reorganisations. Receiving a large number of referrals from other BVI firms, the department acts for a range of multinational and domestic corporations, financial institutions, insurance and reinsurance companies, trustees and court-appointed receivers and liquidators. Brian Child, who heads up the BVI group, leads on most of the firm’s major matters, with additional expertise in complex fraud recovery, asset tracing and shareholder disputes. Another key team member is senior associate Matthew Freeman, who regularly appears in the High Court and Commercial Court of the BVI.

Practice head(s):

Brian Child

Other key lawyers:

Matthew Freeman

Testimonials

‘Matt Freeman is a great guy to work with. He is regularly involved on contentious matters and is always able to cut through distractions and get right to the key points. He is very helpful and is good at explaining why things need to happen in certain ways, which is often necessary when dealing with people not familiar with BVI law.’

‘Consistent reliability in providing timely and pragmatic/commercial advice.’

‘Matt Freeman is a pleasure to work with. Excellent lawyer with fast response times and good communication skills.’

‘Unlike other firms in the BVI, Campbells primary focus is litigation and dispute resolution. As a firm, they are responsive and commercial in their advice.’

Key clients

OAS S.A.

Dreymoor Fertilizers Overseas PTE Limited

Genesis Trust

Powerwealth Enterprises Limited

KPMG

Alexander Shishkin

R&H Restructuring

FFP

LOPAG Trust Reg. and Admintrust Verwaltungsanstalt as trustees of the Lake Cauma Trust (a Liechtenstein family trust)

Zhen Rong Company Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for R&H Restructuring, the Liquidator, in a multijurisdictional liquidation; advised the liquidators on recovery issues, settlement discussions and coordinated proceedings in all jurisdictions.
  • Advised an individual on his role as director of Genmar in contentious circumstances between board members appointed in relation to an ongoing shareholder dispute.
  • Provided BVI law advice and acted as BVI legal counsel to the JOLs of CMED, a Cayman company in Official Liquidation.

Maples Group

Working closely with colleagues in the firm's Hong Kong office, the BVI litigation team at Maples Group acts in the full gamut of international commercial disputes, specifically insolvency and restructuring matters, shareholder disputes, contentious trust matters, civil fraud claims, asset tracing litigation and contractual disputes. Following the departure of practice co-head Alex Hall Taylor QC to Carey Olsen, the dispute resolution and insolvency department is led by Adrian Francis, who, alongside associate and contentious trusts expert Simon Hall, regularly appears in interlocutory hearings and substantive proceedings in the region.

Practice head(s):

Adrian Francis

Other key lawyers:

Simon Hall

Testimonials

‘The team is lead by well respected senior practitioners who bring years of relevant experience from their time in both onshore and offshore jurisdictions. The senior team members are well supported by a dedicated on-island team who are well known in the local market and are adept at running case files in an efficient and technically sound manner. The team has a seamless connection with their international colleagues and is able to leverage those connections to provide jurisdictional specific advice whilst being cognisant of how such advice interacts with the engagement as a whole.’

‘Great team – responsive and knowledgeable. They are first in class.’

Depth, breadth and responsiveness. Strong associates.

Key clients

Comodo Holdings Limited

Sunpower Business Group PTE Ltd and Tournan Trading PTE Ltd

Gany Holdings (PTC) SA

Spectrum Dynamics Medical Limited

Delco Participation B.V.

Numerous defendants to clawback claims by the liquidators of the Fairfield Funds (HSBC; Credit Suisse by way of example)

Wong Kie Yik and Wong Kie Chie Federal

Federal Republic of Brazil & Municipality of Sao Paolo

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton

Showa Holdings Co., Ltd

Work highlights

  • Acted for Comodo Holdings, a market-leading cybersecurity company, in complex, high-value and long-running BVI litigation; issues in dispute were the subject of multiple hearings, including three hearings in the Court of Appeal.
  • Acting for Sunpower Business Group PTE Ltd and Tournan Trading PTE Ltd and the Chairman and Executive Director of a leading energy utilities company in Asia Pacific, who are the victims of alleged sophisticated stock loan fraud.
  • Acted for Gany Holdings (PTC) SA in a high-value trust dispute.

Mourant

Eleanor Morgan heads up Mourant’s litigation and insolvency department, which specialises in liquidation and insolvency matters. The team also focuses on shareholder disputes, contentious trust disputes, asset-tracing matters and interlocutory relief and enforcement issues. The department’s client roster encompasses leading financial institutions, corporations, public organisations, private equity houses and investment funds, as well as ultra-high-net-worth individuals and families. Morgan is ably assisted by counsel Catriona Hunter and senior associate Shane Donovan.

Practice head(s):

Eleanor Morgan

Other key lawyers:

Catriona Hunter; Shane Donovan

Testimonials

‘The BVI is not the easiest jurisdiction to find a ‘deep’ team, but Mourant pulls it off.’

‘Eleanor Morgan is my go to in the BVI when I have a piece of litigation involving trusts and corporate structures. She gives timely, practical, sound advice.’

‘Highly dedicated and professional litigation team with a vast experience in dealing with BVI litigation and dispute resolution.’

‘Shane Donovan and Catriona Hunter are both experienced counsel in the team and are always diligent and commercially minded.’

‘The dispute resolution team is one of the most approachable in the jurisdiction. They are willing to engage in open discussions with instructing parties and, from those discussions, deliver issue specific and commercially astute advice. Their team is also staffed by long standing practitioners in the jurisdiction who have vast experience of dealing with the nuances of BVI commercial litigation.’

‘Both Eleanor Morgan and Shane Donovan are technically excellent and willing to engage in open discussions with instructing parties. On top of their technical excellence they both appreciate the need to be commercial and are not blinkered in their approach. They are anticipatory and identify potential obstacles and solutions ahead of time which leads to a cost effective and efficient delivery.’

Key clients

Kalo BVI Limited

Borrelli Walsh

KPMG (BVI) Limited

Citco

Grant Thornton

Rawlinson Hunter

TMF

R&H Restructuring Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for Kalo (BVI) Limited as court-appointed liquidators of Kingate Global Fund and Kingate Euro Fund – one of the largest Madoff-related liquidations.
  • Acting for Borrelli Walsh, as receivers of Emmerson International Corp. and related companies, to preserve the assets of the companies up to the value of €120m pending the determination of claims brought in Russia and Cyprus.
  • Acting for HWH Holdings Limited and other clients in the BVI aspects of a dispute regarding the collapse of a joint venture in the PRC.

Carey Olsen

With additional support from its London, Hong Kong and Singapore offices, the BVI disputes resolution team at Carey Olsen handles a diverse range of disputes. Alongside its fraud and asset-tracing capabilities, the group is also instructed in a steady flow of corporate and commercial disputes, trust litigation and shareholder disputes. Former practice head Ben Mays left the legal profession in mid-2020 and was replaced as group leader by former Maples Group litigation group co-head Alex Hall Taylor QC.

Practice head(s):

Alex Hall Taylor QC

Other key lawyers:

Sharon Mungall

Testimonials

‘The cross-over Insolvency/Corporate Finance/Restructuring skills of Sharon Mungall are coming increasingly to the fore. We have had Sharon (as part of a wider team) assist with a number of matters now and the feedback from partners across our international restructuring practices is all extremely positive.’

‘Excellent service, very good attention to detail. Commercial approach. Sensible advice.’

‘Alex Hall Taylor is a great hire.’

‘Alex Hall Taylor is an excellent practitioner and advocate and will do great things for Carey Olsen.’

‘Carey Olsen provide a seamless service between London and the BVI. I have instructed Carey Olsen on a complex asset recovery matter. It is a great advantage to offer clients BVI law advice from it’s London office. This is thanks to having talented lawyers in London who have lived and worked in the BVI. They clearly have a close integration between the two offices. The firm offers a very much partner-led approach and is the go-to firm for high value cross border disputes.’

Key clients

FRP Advisory as administrators of Blackbrook Asset Management Limited

Ben Oldman Special Situations Fund

Borrelli Walsh

Ciban Management Corporation

EY (Ernst & Young)

KPMG

Joint liquidators of Oscatello and related BVI Companies (Tchenguiz litigation)

Liquidators of Chesterfield United and others

Peak Hotels and Resorts Group Limited

Key Platinum Holdings Limited

Federal Republic of Nigeria

Work highlights

  • Acted for Key Platinum Holdings Limited in a complex cross-border matter concerning an ownership dispute arising out of a contentious trust and probate matter.
  • Acting for the administrators of BBAM, a UK company that was engaged in trading short positions in fixed interest securities as an agent on behalf of a connected company in the BVI, which had incurred liabilities of $250m.
  • Representing various BVI and Cypriot companies in a matter involving a claim brought by fertiliser group JSC MCC Eurochem against former senior management to recover tens of millions of dollars of alleged bribes.

Lennox Paton

Instructed by high-net-worth individuals and corporate entities in commercial litigation and insolvency matters in the BVI, Lennox Paton’s litigation practice in the BVI is headed up by Scott Cruickshank, who also sits as the local managing partner. The team has notable experience in shareholder disputes, fraud and asset tracing matters, trust litigation, and corporate and commercial disputes. The department also includes associate Jonathan Child, who is a commercial litigator who 'handles complex and heavy litigation very successfully' including matters before the High Court and Court of Appeal in the Eastern Caribbean.

Practice head(s):

Scott Cruickshank

Other key lawyers:

Jonathan Child; Phillip Baldwin

Testimonials

‘A great firm with a real depth of experience and which continues to punch well above its weight in the BVI. Particularly good for complex insolvency related litigation.’

‘Scott Cruickshank: Managing Partner in the BVI, Scott has a wealth of invaluable BVI related knowledge. He is a tough but very smart lawyer, passionately committed to the client’s very best interests. Great to work with.’

‘The three lawyers at the firm Scott Cruickshank, Jonathan Child and Philip Baldwin oversee a substantial commercial practice. The firm benefits from its compact size with clients having access directly to experienced lawyers. The firm attracts clients from the UK, Russia and Asia and can more than hold their own with the larger firms. The advantage to clients and overseas law firms is that their work is dealt with by a focussed joined up team.’

‘Scott Cruickshank is justifiably recognised for his extensive trust/corporate work. Jonathan Child is a first rate dispute resolution lawyer. His attention to detail, commitment to clients and management of successful complex commercial disputes makes him ‘a star on the horizon’. He is very comfortable in advising clients or acting as junior counsel in the BVI Commercial Court. He is well respected by his peers and indeed the court.’

‘The team overall has an impressive mix of talents and abilities. They are consistently involved in matters of excellent quality and deliver excellent service for clients. Their style is less combative than other firms in the BVI but their focus is very much on outcomes for clients.’

‘Jonathan Child is an excellent solicitor and quite exceptional for his level of experience. He handles complex and heavy litigation very successfully. His client care is excellent and he is a pleasure to work for as counsel. His instructions are always very clear and always makes himself available to discuss ideas on cases. The team is very well led by Scott Cruickshank who is very personable as well and brings in excellent work. Scott’s client care is also of a very high standard and similarly offers excellent strategic decision-making on cases.’

‘Scott Cruickshank leads the Lennox Paton team in the BVI. He is incredibly experienced and, together with his two senior associates and supporting staff, provides timely and comprehensive advice on all litigious matters. I have found them to be excellent in terms of responsiveness and very competitive on price compared to their bigger competitors.’

‘Boutique practice of capable experts led by Scott Cruickshank.’

‘Scott Cruickshank – BVI stalwart, insolvency specialist, good leader of a team and calm under pressure.’

‘Jonathan Child – calmness personified, charming and a great lawyer.’

‘The firm has an excellent BVI litigation practice. They are the most established of the smaller practices in the BVI and provide a great service. They can be very commercial when it comes to fees and are very pleasant to deal with.’

‘Scott Cruickshank is an experienced, focused, and commercial practitioner who has been on the BVI scene for years. He is tough and good humoured and excellent to work with. Jonathan Child is excellent and one of the leading associates in the jurisdiction.’

Key clients

Kaupthing EHF

Kalo Advisers (As Liquidator of Crosscan Financial Corp)

Grant Thornton (As joint liquidator of Pioneer Freight Futures Company Limited)

Kopist Holdng Limited and Itrade Fertilisers S.A

South Essex Stockholders Limited & Wesley Edwards (CVR Global) as receiver

Amino Global Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for various parties in Renova Industries Limited & Ors v Emmerson International Corporation & Ors BVIHC (COM), a case concerning a joint venture in relation to power generation assets in Russia.
  • Acted as sole BVI legal practitioners for Kaupthing Bank since mid-2013 in respect of numerous ongoing BVI insolvency and BVI Court related matters.
  • Acted for Nedjet Baysan, Kopist Holdng Limited, Itrade Fertilisers S.A, Fabio Scalambrin in Eurochem et al v Livingston Properties.

Forbes Hare

Forbes Hare’s litigation and insolvency team handles a diverse range of cross-border company, trust and investment fund disputes, and also has notable corporate insolvency expertise. Founding partner William Hare leads the team, which also includes experienced litigator Robert Nader.

Practice head(s):

William Hare

Other key lawyers:

Robert Nader

O'Neal Webster

Led by Paul Dennis QC, O'Neal Webster has a notable reputation for acting in domestic 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. Dan Wise has particular expertise in fraud claims, including business insolvency and asset recovery matters, while Nadine Whyte also represents clients in probate litigation.

Practice head(s):

Paul Dennis QC

Key clients

Nakayama & Partners Ltd.

Dai & Associates, PC.

Work highlights

  • Represented a lending consortium in insolvency litigation, where two BVI companies were running the construction finance to build a port in Colombia and one applied to wind up the other.
  • Acted for Nakayama & Partners Ltd in a ¥3.6bn plan of arrangement for a BVI company.
  • Advising Dai & Associates on a significant outstanding arbitral award against it, worth over $100m.

Withers

Working with colleagues in the firm’s London office, the BVI litigation department at Withers focuses on commercial litigation and insolvency proceedings, and is particularly active in the Commercial Court. The group represents high-net-worth individuals, corporations, national governments and financial institutions, and is highly regarded for complex international fraud and asset recovery cases. Practice head Niki Olympitis and senior associate Sara-Jane Knock are the names to note.

Practice head(s):

Niki Olympitis

Other key lawyers:

Sara-Jane Knock; Lauren Peaty

Testimonials

‘In the BVI Withers team, Niki Olympitis is a standout lawyer who displays excellent client skills and makes things happen. Sara-Jane Knock brings good legal skills to any case.’

‘Withers has a major and long established onshore practice with a large international network of offices unlike almost all the other firms in the BVI which are offshore practices that have established offices in some onshore centres. The practice has huge resources to call upon in the UK, US and Asia.’

‘Niki Olympitis is probably the most experienced disputes lawyer on the island from a City background, ably assisted by Sara-Jane Knock who is growing in experience as an advocate.’

‘Punching above its weight, Withers BVI has a small but talented team of lawyers led by Niki Olympitis, supported by Sara-Jane Knock and Lauren Peaty. The size and importance of the instructions which it takes on is impressive, and the quality of its work product is outstanding. The fact that the office is supported by the other Withers offices around the world gives the team real depth and true global reach, setting it apart from other firms in the market.’

‘Niki Olympitis: A highly experienced litigator who has excellent tactical judgment. Really thinks through the implications of every move. Sara-Jane Knock: A standout associate who is a confident, competent, litigator as well as being fantastically hard-working. Lauren Peaty: A new and excellent addition to the team, Lauren shows wisdom and sound judgment beyond her years. One to watch.’

‘Litigation is the main focus of Withers’ BVI office, in particular fraud and asset recovery, but also company, insolvency and contentious trust work. Withers is one of the few onshore international law firms, which has built up a strong presence in the BVI.’

‘The BVI office is headed by partner Niki Olympitis who has a wealth of experience in asset tracing and recovery. He is very sensible and tactically astute. Senior associate Sara-Jane Knock is supremely competent and very efficient. She is very good on practice and procedure in the BVI Commercial Court. Both are a pleasure to work with. Associate Lauren Peaty is also very good.’

Key clients

Government of the Virgin Islands (British) plus unnamed individuals

Taurus Limited

Quantic Limited

Receiver of Flash Bright Power Limited (in receivership)

Baylove International Limited

Hartree Partners Power & Gas Company Limited

Keyside Holdings Limited

Work highlights

  • Instructed by the Government of the Virgin Islands to provide advice and representation in relation to the recent passing into law of the UK’s Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act.
  • Acting for Taurus Ltd, an Anguillan company, whose asset, a BVI Company, was the subject of a Receivership Order obtained by VTB Bank, which is attempting to enforce Russian Judgments against a Russian individual via BVI companies VTB claims are ultimately owned by the Russian individual.
  • Acting for shareholders in a BVI company who are bringing an unfair prejudice action against other shareholders in the company.