Dispute resolution in Cayman Islands

Maples Group

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.

Practice head(s):

Aristos Galatopoulos

Key clients

Vantage Drilling Company

Premium Point funds

Deutsche Bank Trust Company of the Americas

Scottish Re Group

Vista Del Mar Development

China Shanshui Cement Group

Ascot Fund

Waypoint Leasing Holdings

Bristow

TPG

Work highlights

  • 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

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.

Practice head(s):

Hector Robinson QC

Testimonials

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.

Key clients

AHAB

Kalo

Frontera Resources

BEF Enterprises

Fortunate Drift

Grant Thornton

Maso Capital Investments

Blackwell Partners

Work highlights

  • 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

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 GouckeRupert 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

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.

Practice head(s):

Peter McMaster QC

Testimonials

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‘.

Key clients

Saigon Asset management Corporation

Cayman National Trust Co

The Upper Brook Funds

DataLink

CW Group Holdings

Butterfield Bank (Cayman)

Joint Official Liquidators of Bear Stearns High Structured Credit Strategies (Overseas)

Work highlights

  • 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

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.

Practice head(s):

Guy Manning

Testimonials

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‘.

Key clients

Deloitte

XIO Group

HSBC

Maso Capital Investment

Liquidation Committee of Saad Investments Company

Borrelli Walsh

Duff & Phelps

BDO

RH Restructuring

Work highlights

  • 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

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.

Practice head(s):

Jan Golaszewski

Testimonials

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‘.

Key clients

Grant Thornton

KPMG

PwC

BDO

Liongate Multi-Strategy Fund

TMF

Intertrust

Clearwater Capital Partners

EFG Bank

Royal Bank of Scotland

Rawlinson & Hunter

Genesis Trust & Corporate Services

Ritchie Capital Management

Daiwa Capital Markets Europe

Abraaj Holdings

eHi Car Services

China Development Bank

Deutsche Bank (London)

Discover Investment Company

Work highlights

  • 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.

Conyers

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.

Practice head(s):

Paul Smith

Key clients

FTI Consulting

KPMG

Grant Thornton

Torchlight Fund

PAG Entities (PRC)

Steven Goodman

Schahin II Finance Company (SPV)

LL Finance

The Public Institute for Social Security (Kuwait)

Work highlights

  • 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.

Harneys

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 WilliamsPaul 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.

Practice head(s):

Nick Hoffman

Testimonials

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‘.

Key clients

The joint official liquidators of Saad Investments Finance Company

Qunar Cayman Islands

ArcelorMittal USA

CNO Financial Group

The joint official liquidators of the Wimbledon Fund

Trina Solar

The joint official liquidators of Vantage Drilling Company

Perlen Holdings and Nerthington

Shengqu Games

Maroon Asia Capital

Work highlights

  • 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

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.

Practice head(s):

Rachael Reynolds; Marc Kish

Testimonials

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’.

Key clients

CW Group Holdings

China CVS (Cayman Islands) Holding Corp

Fenris Consulting

Argyle

Lands Company

Conflict director of Abraaj General Partner VIII

Investors’ Council of Abraaj Private Equity Fund IV

Work highlights

  • 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.

Bedell Cristin

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.

Practice head(s):

Laura Hatfield

Other key lawyers:

Kai McGriele; Tom Wright; Richard Parry

Testimonials

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‘.

Key clients

Citco Global Custody

PriceWaterhouseCoopers

Ernst & Young

Deloitte Cayman

KPMG Cayman Islands

Duff & Phelps

Grant Thornton

Krys Global

Kalo Advisors

FTI Consulting

Scotiabank and Trust (Cayman)

FirstCaribbean International Bank

Saba Capital Management

SMP Partners

Artex Risk Solutions

Chris Johnson Associates

Collas Crill

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.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Leontsinis

Other key lawyers:

Matthew Dors; Rocco Cecere

Testimonials

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.

Key clients

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

Work highlights

  • 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.

Practice head(s):

Peter Tyers-Smith; Rebecca Hume; Jalil Asif QC

Testimonials

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‘.

Key clients

Trustee of XYZ Trust

Dorchester Overseas

Shanghai Lan Cai Asset Management Co

Work highlights

  • 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

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.

Practice head(s):

Christopher Young; Alistair Abbott

Key clients

ICICI Bank

Liquidators to the Fairfield Funds

Aspial Investment

Bumper East

China Healthcare

China Hospitals

XiO GP

Work highlights

  • 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

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.

Practice head(s):

John Harris

Other key lawyers:

Philip Boni

Testimonials

They actually care and fight as if it’s their fight – end of story‘.

Work highlights

  • 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

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.

Practice head(s):

William Helfrecht

Other key lawyers:

Ian Lambert

Testimonials

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‘.

Key clients

Butterfield Bank

Cayman National Bank

Fidelity Bank

JN Cayman (Bank)

KRyS Global

Kalo (Cayman)

Chris Johnson Associates

Borrelli Walsh

Caribbean Utility Company

Cayman Islands Health Services Authority

Work highlights

  • 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

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.

Practice head(s):

Cherry Bridges

Other key lawyers:

David Collier

Testimonials

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‘.

Key clients

Cayman Islands Airports Authority

The Port Authority of the Cayman Islands

Oriental Knowledge Tank

Krys Global

First Caribbean Bank (International)

Cayman National Bank

Borrelli Walsh

Work highlights

  • 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

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.

Practice head(s):

Richard Annette

Key clients

British Caymanian Insurance Company

Island Heritage Insurance Company

Allianz Global Corporate Risks US Insurance Company

Arnage Holdings

Brooklands Holdings

Industrial Staffing

Kensington Management

Frontera Resources Corporation

Frontera International Corporation

Pacific Overseas Financial Corporation

Work highlights

  • 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.