Dispute resolution in Cayman Islands
Maples Group's practice handles a wide variety of international commercial disputes spanning insolvency and restructuring issues, fund disputes, finance-related claims, shareholder litigation, fraud and asset tracing issues, and maritime disputes. In a recent highlight, Mac Imrie successfully defended Vista Del Mar Development against a Privy Council appeal against its application for specific performance of an option to repurchase land. Aristos Galatopoulos is global head of the dispute resolution and insolvency practice, Colin McKie QC is an international disputes specialist, and Morven McMillan heads up the trusts and private client practice in Cayman. Also key to the group are James Eldridge, Caroline Moran and of counsel Nick Herrod. Luke Stockdale was made partner in 2019.
Other key lawyers:
Vantage Drilling Company
Premium Point funds
Deutsche Bank Trust Company of the Americas
Scottish Re Group
Vista Del Mar Development
China Shanshui Cement Group
Waypoint Leasing Holdings
- Acted for China Shanshui Cement Group in the successful striking out of a just and equitable winding-up petition that was presented against it.
- Acted in four section 238 appraisal proceedings, which involved share price and company valuation disputes.
- Acted for the liquidators of Ascot Fund, a Cayman feeder fund which was entirely invested in Madoff-affected funds, in an action commenced by an investor seeking to have a receiver appointed to the fund.
Mourant is 'among the strongest in the Cayman Islands' covering commercial and contractual issues, banking, finance and securities litigation, fund and trust claims, fraud and asset tracing mandates, regulatory matters, restructuring and insolvency disputes and schemes of arrangement. In a high-profile dissenting shareholder merger dispute, Christopher Harlowe and Simon Dickson acted for a group of 22 entities, which had invested in Nord Anglia Education, in seeking an appraisal of the merger price. Hector Robinson QC is the Cayman litigation practice group head and Peter Hayden regularly acts in large, high-profile cases in Cayman. Counsel Christopher Levers was recently promoted to counsel and Nicholas Fox relocated to Cayman from the BVI office.
Hector Robinson QC
Other key lawyers:
‘A strong, litigation-orientated team with particular insolvency strength‘.
‘Hector Robinson QC has excellent knowledge of Cayman trust law and gives very good advice; he is also clear in his thought process, very articulate and has an easy and polite manner‘.
‘Peter Hayden is an aggressive but tactically-sound senior litigator who is always a pleasure to work with‘.
‘Christopher Harlowe is an extraordinary lawyer, who is highly intelligent and has deep knowledge of Cayman law and procedure‘.
‘Nicholas Fox’s high level of commitment combines with strong legal skills and energy‘.
‘Counsel Christopher Levers is doing a good job‘.
‘Peter Hayden is a very experienced and knowledgable litigator who is always good to have on your side. Chris Levers is getting a growing reputation as counsel.‘
‘Mourant Ozannes has a market-leading litigation team which has been involved in many of the major cases in the Cayman Islands over the last few years. It is a very well resourced and experienced team, with some excellent associates and partners.‘
Maso Capital Investments
- Acted for Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi & Brothers in a fraud claim against Maan Al Sanea and the Saad Group of companies to recover over $4bn.
- Acted for the liquidators of Primeo Fund in a claim against HSBC for breach of duties as administrator and custodian.
- Assisted the joint official liquidators of Alpha Re with the recovery of approximately $200m for trustee creditors.
Walkers' team handles disputes involving restructuring, insolvency and corporate recovery elements, commercial litigation, distressed corporate advisory issues, trusts claims and employment litigation, and also assists with alternative dispute resolution methods. In a long-running, high-value fraud trial, Colette Wilkins and Shelley White successfully represented nine of 16 defendants, including the principal defendant Saad Investment Company, in a claim relating to inter alia tracing, forgery, and the defence of illegality. Neil Lupton specialises in complex restructurings, insolvency issues and distressed situations. The other names to note are contentious insolvency specialist Matthew Goucke, Rupert Bell, who has particular expertise in investment fund disputes; and Nick Dunne, who handles fraud and asset recovery work. At senior counsel level, Fiona MacAdam and Niall Hanna are experienced advisers. Barnaby Gowrie relocated to the firm's Dubai office.
Appleby 'fields skilful litigators who are efficient, responsive and tough'. The department is singled out for its expertise in funds disputes, contentious trusts, dissenting shareholder merger disputes and insolvency and restructuring claims, along with shareholder issues, fraud and asset tracing matters, professional negligence cases and regulatory work. David Lee recently acted for Saigon Asset Management as respondent in an application seeking a Norwich Pharmacal order requiring disclosure of documents. Peter McMaster QC leads the group, Carlos de Serpa Pimentel is active in trust cases, and Tony Heaver-Wren is also highly rated. Sebastian Said was promoted to the partnership, and Anna Snead and Jeremy Snead are key counsels to note. Former global practice group head Andrew Bolton is now a consultant.
Peter McMaster QC
Other key lawyers:
‘The lawyers have a good client manner and do not always say yes‘.
‘Peter McMaster QC gives thoughtful, thorough, clear advice, and is a good strategic thinker‘.
Saigon Asset management Corporation
Cayman National Trust Co
The Upper Brook Funds
CW Group Holdings
Butterfield Bank (Cayman)
Joint Official Liquidators of Bear Stearns High Structured Credit Strategies (Overseas)
- Acted for the trustee of the Poulton Family Trust in relation to hostile proceedings brought by the adult children of the settlor and beneficiaries, who were excluded from the trust.
- Advised the Upper Brook Funds and their directors in a dispute with Palladyne International Asset Management, which involved claims of mismanagement, overcharging, misuse of funds, breach of international sanctions and lack of authority.
- Represented DataLink in a judicial review claim against its regulator.
Campbells' 'dispute resolution team has real strength in depth' and regularly acts in significant Cayman insolvency and restructuring cases alongside experience handling the full range of commercial litigation and regulatory investigations. Guy Manning heads up the Cayman litigation, insolvency and restructuring group, which also includes Andrew Pullinger, Mark Goodman and Alistair Walters. Liam Faulkner was recently made partner and Hamid Khanbhai is an experienced senior associate.
‘Able and experienced partners who are supported by a number of talented associates of varying seniority, which enables effective teams to be formed and for large teams to be assembled for the big-ticket cases. The team is also a pleasure to work with‘.
‘Guy Manning is a calm and thoughtful leader, who gives clear strategic guidance‘.
‘Mark Goodman is very strategic and astute, and he understands clients’ business extremely well. He meets issues and strong personalities head on and holds his ground, and his advice is always pragmatic‘.
‘Andrew Pullinger is first-rate litigator, who has an excellent legal brain married with strategic nous. He is also approachable, client-focused and has a keen sense of humour‘.
‘Liam Faulkner is a go-to choice for Cayman disputes when clients need someone who is both good legally but will also focus on and get into a case, master the facts and help get a result‘.
Maso Capital Investment
Liquidation Committee of Saad Investments Company
Duff & Phelps
- Acted for the joint provisional liquidators of Abraaj Investment Management in issues arising out of allegations of misappropriation of $300m of capital.
- Acted for the private equity group XIO in a high-value ownership dispute with a Chinese tycoon, which included proceedings in Cayman.
- Defended HSBC Securities Services (Luxembourg) and Bank of Bermuda (Cayman) against breach of duty claims brought by Primeo Fund.
Carey Olsen is 'very client focused, attentive and keen to understand the matter at hand, offering a variety of solutions based upon the team's extensive experience'. The practice is highly regarded for matters involving corporate restructuring, general commercial litigation, and contentious trust and estate disputes. Key practitioners include Jan Golaszewski, who leads the dispute resolution team in Cayman and acts in multi-jurisdictional commercial litigation, arbitration and regulatory matters, and Sam Dawson, who focuses on the financial services sector. Peter Sherwood was made partner and Bernadette Carey, who advises on contentious trusts and estate matters, joined from Conyers.
‘Its strengths are responsiveness and flexibility; it is the younger, more vibrant, keener firm in town, with top-tier standards and greater service and focus‘.
‘Jan Golaszewski personifies the firm – he is driven, bright, experienced, personable and willing to go the extra mile for clients‘.
‘Sam Dawson is confidently recommended‘.
Liongate Multi-Strategy Fund
Clearwater Capital Partners
Royal Bank of Scotland
Rawlinson & Hunter
Genesis Trust & Corporate Services
Ritchie Capital Management
Daiwa Capital Markets Europe
eHi Car Services
China Development Bank
Deutsche Bank (London)
Discover Investment Company
- Acted for Abraaj Holdings in its successful (and heavily contested) application to appoint provisional liquidators.
- Acted for the joint voluntary liquidators of Asia Private Credit Fund in a contested petition to bring the voluntary liquidation under the court’s supervision.
- Represented Ritchie Capital Management and several related companies in claims for deceit, conspiracy and knowing receipt against Lancelot Investors Fund Offshore, which is in liquidation, and GEC.
Under the leadership of Paul Smith, Conyers' litigation and restructuring team fields specialists in domestic and cross-border insolvency and restructuring proceedings, complex contract and commercial disputes, multi-party contentious trusts and estates matters, and a broad range of local litigation. Ben Hobden is a noteworthy name in the team for insolvency and restructuring mandates, shareholder appraisal cases, cross-border commercial litigation, and shareholder and corporate disputes. Other key contacts are counsel Robert Lindley, who handles private client and trust matters, and associate Erik Bodden. Jonathon Milne joined from Mourant and Fraser Hughes left the firm.
PAG Entities (PRC)
Schahin II Finance Company (SPV)
The Public Institute for Social Security (Kuwait)
- Defended Torchlight Fund and its general partner against a just and equitable winding-up petition brought by a number of its investors.
- Acted for the general partner of a fund and its principal in a substantial dispute over the ownership of the fund.
- Acted for three of eight shareholders that dissented to a merger involving Qunar Cayman Islands.
The practice at Harneys 'has strength in depth with a raft of great litigators' and has been particularly active in share valuation cases and Asia-related matters. Nick Hoffman leads the litigation, insolvency and restructuring group in Cayman, which includes Jayson Wood (who returned to Cayman from the Bermuda office) and Jessica Williams. Paul Smith was recently recruited from DLA Piper, and Katie Pearson and Paul Madden were promoted to the partnership. Gráinne King is an experienced senior associate.
Other key lawyers:
‘Experienced, commercial and easy-to-deal team that rivals the self-styled litigation elite in Cayman, but without the fuss‘.
‘Very thorough and they never give up; they always keep looking for a way out of difficulties‘.
‘Nick Hoffman is a smart, energetic lawyer who gives clear and decisive advice. He is able to handle challenging, fast-moving situations with real skill, and he is a well prepared and persuasive advocate‘.
‘Paul Smith is charming and thorough – a joy to work with‘.
‘Katie Pearson is an excellent lawyer, who has all the qualities every good lawyer should have – good communication and analytical skills, creativity, judgement and calmness‘.
‘Gráinne King stands out as a brilliant senior associate and rising star‘.
The joint official liquidators of Saad Investments Finance Company
Qunar Cayman Islands
CNO Financial Group
The joint official liquidators of the Wimbledon Fund
The joint official liquidators of Vantage Drilling Company
Perlen Holdings and Nerthington
Maroon Asia Capital
- Represented the joint official liquidators of Saad Investments Finance Company in a high-profile, high-value claim involving allegations of fraud.
- Acted for Qunar Cayman Islands, an online travel company in the PRC, in the Grand Court’s determination of the fair value of company shares.
- Advised ArcelorMittal USA on the enforcement of an arbitration award.
Ogier's team is 'not only a safe pair of hands but has the ability to take the lead on the most difficult and critical mandates'. The disputes practice is focused on cross-border liquidations, receiverships and restructurings, schemes of arrangements, shareholder and company claims, fraud issues, trusts claims, fair value litigation and the enforcement of judgments. Marc Kish leads the restructuring and insolvency group in the Caribbean and Asia, and Rachael Reynolds is global dispute resolution head. Shaun Maloney, Gemma Lardner and Ilona Groark are experienced senior associates. Jennifer Fox and William Jones were promoted to partner and counsel, respectively.
Rachael Reynolds; Marc Kish
‘Ogier is one of the leading litigation firms in the Cayman Islands, with a winning reputation in a crowded field. It is very well resourced, with impressively knowledgeable lawyers and highly efficient support staff’.
‘They think tactically, and are incredibly responsive and tough’.
‘Marc Kish is renowned for his encyclopaedic knowledge and sound judgement – a natural litigator’.
‘Rachael Reynolds is a formidable advocate whose charm belies a penetrating intellect’.
‘Counsel William Jones is industrious and meticulous – a litigation heavyweight’.
‘Senior associate Gemma Lardner is hardworking and resourceful, providing essential litigation nous’.
‘Senior associate Ilona Groark is always responsive, no matter the time of day’.
CW Group Holdings
China CVS (Cayman Islands) Holding Corp
Conflict director of Abraaj General Partner VIII
Investors’ Council of Abraaj Private Equity Fund IV
- Acted for the conflict director of Abraaj General Partner VIII and the Investors’ Council of Abraaj Private Equity Fund IV in provisional liquidation proceedings and a breach of fiduciary duty-related proprietary claim.
- Represented Lands Company (Lands) in its successful jurisdiction challenge in relation to a $200m claim brought by the Libyan Investment Authority.
- Acted for a dissenting minority shareholder of Xiadou Life Technology in a petition for payment of fair value for its shares.
The 'extremely knowledgable and accessible team' at Bedell Cristin has been particularly active in matters involving distressed oil and gas commodities, shareholder actions, M&A-related claims, high-value commercial property disputes, distressed positions in the insurance industry, Cayman-related commercial disputes, and challenges to administrative decisions. Laura Hatfield leads the litigation and corporate insolvency and restructuring practice in Cayman, which also includes Kai McGriele and managing associates Tom Wright and Richard Parry.
‘As a smaller firm, it is extremely client friendly, providing a great service.’
‘Laura Hatfield is fantastic – she leads cases with calm expertise and is totally engaged‘.
‘Kai McGriele and managing associate Tom Wright are both impressive; they clearly have a good knowledge of the local court system and their advice is pragmatic and commercial‘.
‘Managing associate Richard Parry is an amazing lawyer to work with. Not only are his response times immediate, he also takes the time to give tutorials to clients’ staff‘.
Citco Global Custody
Ernst & Young
KPMG Cayman Islands
Duff & Phelps
Scotiabank and Trust (Cayman)
FirstCaribbean International Bank
Saba Capital Management
Artex Risk Solutions
Chris Johnson Associates
Collas Crill is 'approachable, commercial and has strength in depth'. The practice specialises in contentious insolvency and restructuring matters, fraud and asset tracing issues, trust litigation, fund disputes, financial services litigation, and contractual and shareholder issues. Stephen Leontsinis leads the team, which also fields Matthew Dors and of counsel Rocco Cecere, who recently joined from Mourant.
‘Stephen Leontsinis is a superb litigator and great leader of this growing team, which he has quickly established as a go-to litigation practice‘.
‘Matthew Dors is an excellent advocate with a strategic mind and incredible knowledge and understanding of the law‘.
‘Collas Crill is an up and coming presence in the dispute resolution area in the Cayman Islands and is increasingly featuring in significant cases. It is an enthusiastic and committed team.‘
‘Rocco Cecere is a talented litigator with a growing reputation particularly in relation to valuation and investment fund disputes.‘
Joint official liquidators of Platinum Partners Value Arbitrage Fund
Official liquidator of ExS Fund
US counsel to Fountain Medical Development
Vietnam Holding Asset Management
Joint voluntary liquidators of Xanthos Investment Partners
Joint official liquidators of New Media Distribution Company SEZC
Joint official liquidators of New Media Programming
- Acted for the chairman and CEO of Abraaj Group in insolvency-related claims.
- Advised the joint official liquidators on the winding up of New Media Distribution Company SEZC and New Media Programming.
- Advised the joint official liquidators of Caledonian Bank and Caledonian Group Financial Services on recovering amounts due to Caldeonian Bank under a loan book.
Kobre & Kim
Kobre & Kim's team 'focuses on disputes and investigations, making its offering unique to the jurisdictions in which it operates'. The practice has notable expertise in several Cayman industries including hospitality, company incorporations, and financial services matters including trust formations. Noteworthy advisers include Jalil Asif QC, who divides his time between Cayman and London, Rebecca Hume and recently promoted partner Peter Tyers-Smith.
Peter Tyers-Smith; Rebecca Hume; Jalil Asif QC
‘The teams are specialised and have experience and bench depth without the usual conflicts‘.
‘Jalil Asif QC delivers very solid litigation advice‘.
‘Rebecca Hume is driven, engaged and always doing her best for clients – she provides practical advice and is solutions oriented‘.
Trustee of XYZ Trust
Shanghai Lan Cai Asset Management Co
- Acted for the trustee of the XYZ Trust in highly contested proceedings relating to the disclosure of confidential information involving an alleged fraudulent transfer of interests in two Senegalese oil blocks.
- Acted for a group of dissenting shareholders in seeking a determination of the fair value of their shares in Zhaopin, a Chinese services company.
- Acted for a high-net-worth individual in pursuing a winding-up petition and the appointment of provisional liquidators over Abraaj Holdings and Abraaj Investment Management.
Forbes Hare is experienced in disputes involving insolvency and restructuring issues, commercial and corporate law, investment funds and distressed fund-related claims, and trust litigation. The Cayman commercial and corporate litigation team is led by Christopher Young and Alistair Abbott.
Christopher Young; Alistair Abbott
Liquidators to the Fairfield Funds
- Advised ICICI Bank on enforcement issues affecting a substantial debt owed by Essar Global Fund.
- Defending China Healthcare and China Hospitals in winding-up proceedings brought in Cayman.
- Acted for Aspial Investment and Bumper East in obtaining an order for the rectification of a listed company’s share register.
Higgs & Johnson 'quickly assesses situations and mitigates clients' risks while aggressively working towards swift resolutions' with notable expertise in contentious banking, finance, fraud and regulatory matters, alongside substantial insolvency litigation and trust and estate disputes experience. John Harris focuses on disputes involving cross-border financial services, investment funds, insolvency and trusts aspects; and Philip Boni retired from the partnership, becoming a consultant for the practice.
Other key lawyers:
‘They actually care and fight as if it’s their fight – end of story‘.
- Defended Sterling Macro Fund against a just and equitable winding-up petition, which involved fraud allegations.
- Represented a segregated portfolio company in a cross-border dispute involving investment funds.
HSM 'provides practical and useful advice on insolvency and litigation matters in a cost-effective manner'. Ian Lambert is experienced in complex commercial and contract disputes, insolvency and bankruptcy claims, asset recovery and fraud issues, and trust litigation; and group head William Helfrecht is noted for disputes relating to trusts, professional negligence work, company law and land issues.
Other key lawyers:
‘A growing force in the Cayman insolvency market that works with clients to understand the issues and pinpoint the options available‘.
‘Ian Lambert is a skilled orator with strong technical ability, and he manages difficult situations with a calm and clear mind‘.
Cayman National Bank
JN Cayman (Bank)
Chris Johnson Associates
Caribbean Utility Company
Cayman Islands Health Services Authority
- Defended the joint official liquidators of six Cayman-registered funds against high-value fraud claims brought by Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi and Brothers.
- Acted for several stakeholders of Caledonian Bank, following action taken by the US Securities and Exchange Commission and the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority that led to an effective run on its deposit holdings.
- Advised Borrelli Walsh, as joint official liquidator of two feeder funds to Platinum Partners Value Arbitrage Group, on the liquidations.
Ritch & Conolly is 'a boutique practice that actually cares about its clients, who receive genuine high-quality care and attention'. The team regularly acts in leading insolvency and commercial cases in Cayman, including company law and banking matters, administrative law disputes, employment claims and property litigation. Cherry Bridges heads up the litigation and dispute resolution department, and David Collier is the senior associate to note.
Other key lawyers:
‘An excellent smaller firm that is a stand out for client care; it is also very proactive‘.
‘Cherry Bridges has a wealth of knowledge and experience of the jurisdiction as well as excellent research skills. She is also a pleasure to work with but absolutely relentless with those against her‘.
Cayman Islands Airports Authority
The Port Authority of the Cayman Islands
Oriental Knowledge Tank
First Caribbean Bank (International)
Cayman National Bank
- Represented the Cayman Islands Airports Authority on numerous matters including compliance issues and contract disputes.
- Acted for investor groups and limited partners of various entities and funds in the liquidation of Abraaj Investment Management and Abraaj Holdings.
- Successfully obtained a stay of a Cayman just and equitable winding-up petition.
Stuarts Walker Hersant Humphries focuses on commercial, insurance and insolvency related disputes, and has been particularly active in disputes involving director duties issues, schemes of arrangement and voluntary liquidation matters. Practice head Richard Annette made partner in 2018.
British Caymanian Insurance Company
Island Heritage Insurance Company
Allianz Global Corporate Risks US Insurance Company
Frontera Resources Corporation
Frontera International Corporation
Pacific Overseas Financial Corporation
- Acted for the plaintiffs in high-value proceedings against a Cayman law firm for breaches of fiduciary duty and contract, and professional negligence issues.
- Defended a US insurance company against aircraft insurance policy proceedings.
- Acted for a captive insurer against a shareholder for non-payment of assessments due under an insurance programme.