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British Virgin Islands > Dispute resolution > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Dispute resolution
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1
    • Jonathan Addo - Harneys
    • Nicholas Brookes - Ogier
    • Stuart Cullen - Harneys
    • Tameka Davis - Conyers Dill & Pearman
    • Shane Donovan - Mourant Ozannes
    • Murray Laing - Walkers BVI
    • David Welford - Maples and Calder

Who Represents Who

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Conyers Dill & Pearman is frequently involved in international litigation work in the BVI, and has acted on many of the reported cases before both the Commercial Court and the Court of Appeal. Highlights included acting for KMG International in enforcing a high-value arbitration award, by tracing and taking steps to recover allegedly stripped assets; and advising Renaissance Ventures in a claim and counterclaim surrounding the ownership of approximately 33 per cent of Comodo Holdings and counter-allegations of dishonesty. BVI office litigation and restructuring head Mark Forte specialises in complex cross-border litigation and contentious cross-border insolvency, and is recognised for his emergency interim relief work and considerable insolvency experience; Richard Evans is particularly focused on shareholder disputes, particularly Asia-sourced matters, and contentious insolvency. Also highly rated are Jerry Samuel and counsel Tameka Davis, while the associates to note are Matthew Brown, Lauren Peaty and Alecia Johns, who joined from Guildhall Chambers, Withers LLP and O'Neal Webster, respectively.

Harneys' 'excellent practice is pre-eminent in the BVI'. The team is best known for insolvency matters, asset tracing and enforcement, shareholder disputes, and contentious estate and trusts matters. Regulatory work is a growing area for the practice, including seeking review of administrative decisions such as tax information exchange agreements. The team acted for JSC MCC Eurochem, the second-largest fertiliser producer in the world, in its ongoing $500m-plus fraud and breach-of-trust claims against eighteen defendants, which are located in seven countries around the world and include a number of BVI companies. It also successfully represented FTI Consulting in securing the appointment of provisional liquidators over debtor companies, which was in the context of the massive Pacific Andes liquidation and involved the speedy protection of assets. 'One of the most effective lawyers in the jurisdiction', Andrew Thorp is 'a great strategist who has excellent knowledge of local law and is a first choice for major litigation involving substantial firms and clients'; Peter Ferrer is 'measured, intelligent, strategic and commercial, as well as being a pleasure to work with'; Claire Goldstein is 'a formidable advocate whom clients want to have on their side'; and Jonathan Addo is 'very reliable'. Stuart Cullen is a highly rated counsel. Growth in the team saw the recruitment of counsel John McCarroll SC, formerly at the the England and Wales Chancery Bar, while senior associates Sarah Bolt and Lucy Hannett were hired from Walkers BVI and Stone King LLP, respectively.

'Always providing a high standard of service', Walkers BVI regularly plays a leading role in major BVI disputes that involve ultra-high-value assets, fraud disputes and litigation arising out of Russia, the CIS and Africa. The team is also increasingly becoming involved in BVI proceedings in support of high-value arbitration claims. In highly technical, complex shareholder litigation fought before the BVI Courts, the practice represented the directors of BVI company CGLO. It also acted for Chinese businessman Lau Wing Yan in ongoing disputes with his business partner Chu Kong; the BVI proceedings concerned the ownership and management of Ocean Sino. Oliver Clifton is 'a great strategic thinker', Rosalind Nicholson is 'an excellent litigator who does quality work' and Murray Laing is a highly regarded senior counsel. High-level growth in the team included Iain Tucker and senior counsel Gerard Clarke joining from Hogan Lovells International LLP and London's Blackstone Chambers, respectively. Former senior associates Grant Carroll and Jennifer Fox exited for Ogier's BVI and Cayman Islands offices, respectively.

Appleby's practice is best known for shareholder disputes and insolvency work; the team has also experienced an increase in fraud and asset-tracing work, particularly from Russia and the former CIS states, and is increasingly active in trusts litigation. The team acted for Stockman Interhold in long-running litigation involving the ownership of shares in a Ukrainian shopping mall; it also defended the eighth defendant against a substantial fraud claim that was brought by former employer Eurochem, alleging that he received bribes and channelled them through a network of BVI companies. Andrew Willins  is highly rated; Olwyn Barry, who splits her time between the BVI and Jersey offices, and Justin Davis are experienced senior associates.

Maples and Calder's 'technically strong litigation department' specialises in complex international commercial litigation, including insolvency, company, finance, distressed funds and shareholder issues. Other areas of strength are asset tracing, trust disputes, insurance and reinsurance, professional negligence, civil fraud and contractual claims. The team advised PT Ventures on its successful obtaining of a freezing injunction, which was valued at over $2.4bn and was in support of a Paris-cited arbitration of an Angolan telecoms dispute. Adrian Francis and Alex Hall Taylor are the recommended partners, the latter previously at English chambers 4 New Square. David Welford, who 'performs like a partner and whose drafting abilities are thoroughly recommended', and Simon Hall are experienced associates.

Ogier 'provides consistently excellent client service'; the practice has a significant Russian, CIS and Far East client base and fields lawyers with particular expertise in insolvency-related disputes. The team acted for Essar Global Fund in resisting enforcement in the BVI of a New York confession judgement, marking the first time that the enforcement of such a judgement was sought in the BVI. BVI dispute resolution head Brian Lacy 'has everything at his fingertips and is incredibly knowledgeable', and Nicholas Burkill has significant expertise in civil fraud, breach of fiduciary duty and asset tracing cases that involve interim freezing and disclosure orders. Senior associate Nicholas Brookes 'will always go the extra mile for clients'. Managing associate Grant Carroll, who 'strikes up a huge rapport with clients', was hired from Walkers BVI.

Campbells' BVI litigators have extensive experience in commercial and trusts litigation, insolvency and investment fund disputes. Senior counsel Brian Child acted as BVI counsel for Dreymoor Fertilizers Overseas in its defence of claims made against it and others by JSC MCC Eurochem and Eurochem Trading; the claims were in relation to transactions allegedly involving two former employees and companies dealing with Eurochem. Child is 'a seasoned strategist whose easy charm masks a steely determination to do the very best for his clients'. 'First-class heavyweight' Mo Haque QC joined from Crown Office Chambers, senior associate Matthew Freeman was hired from LennoxPaton and associate Charlotte Walker was recruited from Mourant Ozannes. Meanwhile, Jeremy Lightfoot was promoted to partner and relocated to the firm's Hong Kong office, and former department head Callum McNeil left for Walkers in Hong Kong.

Carey Olsen's practice covers corporate and commercial disputes and trust litigation. Representative work including shareholder disputes, fraud and asset-tracing, corporate investigations, professional negligence, and contractual claims. It also advises on liquidations and the enforcement of security. Highlights included acting for a number of defendants in a claim brought by fertiliser group JSC MCC Eurochem against former senior management to recover high-value sums proceeding from alleged bribes. Ben Mays is department head, and Tim Wright is an experienced senior associate.

Acting for creditors, debtors and office holders, Forbes Hare has a broad corporate insolvency practice; the team also has considerable experience in the use of insolvency remedies in fraud and asset tracing exercises, and in shareholder disputes. In addition, the trusts and private client team regularly represents trustees, beneficiaries, settlors and other interested parties in contentious matters. Other areas of strength are asset tracing and enforcement, corporate and commercial disputes and investment fund-related claims. William Hare 'has boundless energy and enthusiasm', Robert Nader is 'an excellent tactician' and Richard Baird is 'careful and clever'.

Mourant Ozannes regularly acts in large and complex offshore cases and has significant experience of the BVI market and its courts. The practice covers insolvency, contentious trusts and probate, shareholder disputes and fraud-related disputes. It acted for the joint official liquidators of the two Kingate Funds, two of the largest investors in the Madoff Ponzi scheme, including advising generally on the conduct of the liquidation and on the liquidators’ various recovery actions. The team is 'ably led' by Eleanor Morgan, who is 'superb – a great practitioner and also very personable'. Also recommended are Nicholas Fox, who has been an offshore litigator for over 10 years, and senior associate Shane Donovan, a specialist in claims for injunctive and other interlocutory relief. Catriona Hunter was promoted to senior associate.

O'Neal Webster is best known for its work in cross-border matters, including shareholder disputes, enforcement of bankers' securities, and liquidations. Other areas of strength are asset recovery and preservation and general business litigation. It acted for various UBS entities in complex proceedings in multiple jurisdictions, which related to claw-back claims by the liquidators of Fairfield Sentry, Fairfield Lambda and Fairfield Sigma. Senior partner Paul Dennis QC is litigation head and Nadine Whyte focuses exclusively on commercial litigation, corporate insolvency and probate disputes. Asha Johnson-Willins joined from Samuels Richardson & Co as senior associate.

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