Insolvency and corporate recovery in East Anglia

Birketts LLP

Birketts LLP has a large and dedicated restructuring and insolvency practice that spans its offices in Norwich, Ipswich, Chelmsford and Cambridge. It is led from Cambridge by vastly experienced partner Laurence Weeks, who works closely with key partner Maria-Christina Peyman and, in Norwich non-contentious specialist Greg Allan and qualified barrister Andrew Kinnison. The firm has a national client base of insolvency practitioners, among them McTear Williams & Wood, Ensors and Bulley Davey. Allan acted for Price Bailey in the administration of construction supplier business, which included the disposal of the trading undertaking.

Practice head(s):

Laurence Weeks

Other key lawyers:

Maria-Christina Peyman; Greg Allan; Andrew Kinnison

Key clients

Price Bailey as liquidators of Colonial Capital (in liquidation)

RSM Restructuring Advisory LLP

McTear Williams & Wood

Privilege Finance

Ensors LLP

Price Waterhouse Coopers

FRP Advisory LLP

Bulley Davey

Peters Elworthy & Moore

CVR / Begbies Traynor

Howes Percival LLP

At Howes Percival LLP, the insolvency and corporate recovery practice is ‘cohesive, collaborative and well-run‘. Michael Green in Cambridge, who ‘combines his excellent technical knowledge with a commercial approach‘, leads the practice, while Morris Peacock in Norwich is the lead partner for the firm’s work for the Insolvency Service. Peacock advised on the investigation into the failure of BHS Limited and connected companies and subsequently on directors’ disqualification proceedings against three defendants. Also in Norwich, William Shirley, who has ‘great experience at dealing with knotty disputes‘, is the client partner for the work carried out on behalf of the Official Receivers across England and Wales, which includes both contentious and non-contentious corporate and personal insolvency matters.

Practice head(s):

Michael Green; Morris Peacock

Other key lawyers:

William Shirley; Leon Head

Testimonials

‘The team is cohesive, collaborative and well-run. Work is delegated to associates, trainees and paralegals where appropriate, and hourly rates are incredibly competitive given the range and complexity of the matters that the team works on.’

‘The team really ought to be regarded as a ‘national’ one: it does good work for proper clients (well-known IPs and the Official Receiver, for example).’

‘William Shirley leads the team, and has great experience at dealing with knotty disputes. He’s a safe pair of hands who is both approachable and knowledgeable. Leon Head is a strong technical lawyer and ‘one to watch’.’

‘Howes Percival’s insolvency team delivers client-focused legal advice and adopt a team approach to dealing with complex contentious matters.’

‘Mike Green combines his excellent technical knowledge with a commercial approach and his management of stakeholders is second to none. His experience in and knowledge of the workings of the judiciary are invaluable.’

Key clients

The Insolvency Service

Grant Thornton UK LLP

RSM (formerly Baker Tilly)

Price Bailey LLP

McTear Williams & Wood

BDO UK LLP

Mazars LLP

Larking Gowen

The Official Receivers for England and Wales

Work highlights

  • Instructed by the Insolvency Service to provide advice on the investigation into the much publicised failure of BHS Limited and connected companies and subsequently to have conduct of directors’ disqualification proceedings against Dominic Chappell and two other defendants.
  • Acting for Mazars in a matter concnerning a complex multi-jurisdiction bankruptcy estate involving assets in Slovakia, India, BVI and Jersey. Representing Trustees tracing assets through complex off shore schemes to pursue them through the bankruptcy of a former Times 100 Rich List bankrupt. A multimillion-pound bankruptcy that has been running for 7 years now.
  • Acting for the Trustees in a complex bankruptcy estate seeing circa 100 properties enter receivership and tracing millions of pounds through accounts in the Middle East to unravel family finances; and pursuing transactions at undervalue through to a successful recovery.

Isadore Goldman

They’re commercially minded and focused on their clients’ aims. You’d much rather have them on your team than against you‘, says a client of specialist insolvency firm Isadore Goldman in Norwich. Licensed IPs Frank Brumby, who ‘combines technical ability with a commercial focus‘, and Adam McCaw, who has ‘first-rate legal ability and excellent attention to detail‘, are the lead partners. Associates Sian Leonard and Jenna Ansell are highly recommended by clients. Brumby acted as insolvency counsel alongside a London-based law firm on the administration and subsequent liquidation of Bet Index / Football Index, a highly publicised online betting platform that collapsed during lockdown due to the suspension of the Premier League.

Practice head(s):

Frank Brumby; Adam McCaw

Other key lawyers:

Sian Leonard; Jenna Ansell

Testimonials

‘Isadore Goldman punch well above their weight in the insolvency and corporate recovery sector. As a result of their excellent technical ability and client focus, they have an outstanding reputation not just in East Anglia but right across London and the South and East of England. They’re commercially minded and focused on their clients’ aims. You’d much rather have them on your team than against you.’

‘Frank Brumby is excellent. He’s great with clients and it’s not hard to understand why they like him so much. As a Licensed Insolvency Practitioner as well as a solicitor, he combines technical ability with a commercial focus and is equally at home dealing with contentious or non-contentious aspects of insolvency and corporate recovery.’

‘Adam McCaw has first-rate legal ability and excellent attention to detail. Those qualities are perfectly complemented by skill at communicating clearly with clients, whether it be about the prospects of their case, the commercial reality of the proceedings or any other aspect of litigation. Sian Leonard and Jenna Ansell are also very impressive.’

‘I have worked with Frank Brumby and Sian Leonard, both of whom are exceptional. Frank has a wealth of experience, and meshes his technical expertise with pragmatic, ‘big picture’ strategising. Sian has a good grasp of the ins and outs of any case, and is a reassuring presence on a team of solicitors.’

‘The team is very responsive and their knowledge on insolvency issues is exceptional.’

‘Frank Brumby (Partner) is a great leader to his team and is very commercial in his approach. Sian Leonard (Associate) is very clever and manages litigation exceptionally well.’

‘Frank Brumby and Adam McCaw are very experienced in their field. They are extremely thorough and professional. I would engage them without question on an insolvency matter and have done so on more than one occasion in the last 12 months. They have exceptional knowledge in this area of law.’

‘Isadore Goldman specialise in insolvency and have a strong reputation in the market. Their advice is practical and commercial.’

Key clients

Aviva

McTear Williams & Wood

Fleximize

BDO UK LLP

Ensors

BM Advisory LLP

Begbies Traynor (Central) LLP

RSM

Parker Andrews

SFP Restructuring

Price Bailey LLP

Quantuma Advisory LLP

Manolete Partners Plc

Work highlights

  • Advising, in collaboration with a London-based law firm, over 7,000 investor clients on the highly publicised collapse of Bet Index / Football Index, an online gambling platform, with losses estimated in excess of £90m.
  • Advising a real estate company on its purchase and restructuring of a distressed group of associated SPV companies involving construction contracts worth £100m+.
  • Advising Manolete Partners Plc on a c£1.55m claim against a director in relation to misfeasance, following assignment from the Insolvency Practitioner the firm had assisted with investigations. Obtained an injunction to prevent asset dissipation and have obtained judgment in default on the claims.

Mills & Reeve LLP

The group at Mills & Reeve LLP has ‘superb up-to-date knowledge of the law, a genuine dedication to getting the best result for the client and is a pleasure to work with‘. The firm is a member of the Insolvency Services Panel and acts on disqualification, investigations, public interest winding up mandates and asset recovery actions for Official Receivers nationally. Principal associate Lino Di Lorenzo has notable expertise in cross-border insolvencies and high-value, complex asset recovery actions. He ‘analyses problems accurately and rapidly and provides confident practical advice‘.

Other key lawyers:

Lino di Lorenzo

Testimonials

‘I am instructed as counsel by Mills & Reeve insolvency and corporate recovery team. I have principally worked with the teams in Cambridge and London, although I have also undertaken some work for the Manchester office. They are all great, have superb up to date knowledge of the law, a genuine dedication to getting the best result for the client and are a pleasure to work with.’

‘Lino Di Lorenzo is an excellent lawyer, he analyses problems accurately and rapidly and provides confident practical advice. He can be relied upon to deal with complex legal issues and get them right.’

‘The local contentious practice in Cambridge provides a “London service” giving excellent technical, practical and commercial advice.’

‘Lino di Lorenzo has a wealth of experience in the contentious arena and provides quick well thought through advice.’

‘We regularly fund Mills & Reeve in connection with their Official Receiver work and they are one of a small number of firms who have successfully tendered for that work. They also have acted for us in relation to insolvency claims that we have purchased.’

Key clients

McTear Williams & Wood

Moorfields Corporate Recovery

Moore Stephens/BDO

Regulator for Social Housing

American International Group UK Limited.

Opus

FRP Advisory

Homes and Communities Agency

Insolvency Service

Department for Education

Taylor Vinters

Taylor Vinters in Cambridge advises insolvency practitioners, directors, creditors and debtors on all aspects of formal insolvency, including administrations, liquidations, sales of business and assets by way of pre-pack, sale back of business and assets to former directors/shareholders, directors’ duties in the face of insolvency, retention of title claims, winding up petitions and bankruptcy petitions. According to one client: ‘no matter who you deal with they all appear to have the same ethos, and the advice is clear and always understandable‘. Lead partner and licensed IP Adam Bradley is ‘very commercial and doesn’t speak in legal jargon.‘ Experienced litigator Luke Hibbert ‘really knows his field and is very approachable‘. Senior associate Jessica Boxford is recommended for contentious matters.

Practice head(s):

Adam Bradley

Other key lawyers:

Jessica Boxford; Luke Hibbert

Testimonials

‘No matter who you deal with they all appear to have the same ethos. Advice is clear and always understandable.’

‘Adam Bradley. He is very commercial and doesn’t speak in legal jargon.’

‘Luke Hibbert really knows his field and is very approachable.’

Key clients

Leonard Curtis Ltd

RSM Restructuring and Advisory LLP

FRP Advisory Group plc

Goldney Limited

A city law firm

Carter Backer Winter LLP

Work highlights

  • Advised partners from Carter Backer Winter acting as liquidators of Push Studios plc (in liquidation) on successfully settling a series of complex claims against former directors and shareholders of the company.
  • Advised partners of FRP Advisory Group plc as administrators of a charity on a complex settlement in relation to the order of priority of several secured creditors in circumstances where security had been inadvertently registered as satisfied at Companies House.
  • Advised partners of RSM Restructuring and Advisory as liquidators of a charity and advising them in respect of the complex issue of funds that ought to have been held by the charity as restricted funds, subject to a trust, where those funds had been co-mingled with non restricted funds.

Barker Gotelee

The assistance provided is helpful, straightforward, and easy to understand‘, says a client of Barker Gotelee in Ipswich. Clients note that the firm has ‘a small but dedicated insolvency and corporate recovery team that specialises in this area of work and has many years experience, which enables it to deal with referrals to them quickly and efficiently’. John Bradshaw is head of the insolvency and business recovery group, and he works closely with litigation and business services parter Dermott Thomas, and corporate and charities partner Clare Richards. Legal executive Sarah Mower also plays a key role in the practice.

Practice head(s):

John Bradshaw; Dermott Thomas; Clare Richards

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Mower

Testimonials

‘John Bradshaw and Sarah Mower – both are knowledgeable in their filed, always on hand, and provide practical advice and solutions.’

‘The team at Barker Gotelee are very fair and reasonable, firstly in terms of their approach to seeking settlements to disputes and secondly in terms of their costs.’

‘The individuals are always available and return calls quickly if unable to respond straight away. Specific qualities are their commerciality and straightforward advice.’

‘We have worked closely with the Insolvency and Business Team for over 10 years and have always found the assistance provided to be helpful, straightforward, and easy to understand. We would have no hesitation in recommending them.’

‘I have always found them proactive, communicative and very much focused on our needs. I know that I can easily get hold of the people I want to speak to and that my queries/instructions will be dealt with in a timely and efficient manner. John Bradshaw and the team are always happy to help with general advice on all matters.’

‘I have worked with John Bradshaw for a number of years and always find his work of the highest standard and efficient, which is also clearly reflected in other members of his team.’

‘The team is always available to provide clear and practical advice. Always very transparent with billing and willing to discuss/explain.’

‘The team members are both approachable and knowledgeable with a great depth of experience.’

Key clients

Ensors, Ipswich and Cambridge

McTear, Williams & Wood Limited, Ipswich, Norwich and Colchester

Price Bailey LLP, London and Norwich

Begbies Traynor (Central) LLP, Colchester

RSM, Bury St Edmunds & Hull

Moore Kingston Smith, London

PEM, Cambridge

T C Bulley Davey, Peterborough

MHA Larking Gowen, Norwich and Ipswich

McKay Business Solutions Limited

DCA BR Ltd, Southend

Work highlights

  • Advising a private individual on various claims being brought by an insolvency practitioner.
  • Instructed by Insolvency Practitioner Clients in relation to two separate Block Transfer Applications.
  • Advising Insolvency Practitioners in relation to the sale of the insolvent entities business and assets.

Buckles Solicitors LLP

Buckles Solicitors LLP in Peterborough is ‘user-friendly, commercial and willing to try that little bit harder‘. Practice head and insolvency specialist Rachel McCahill joined from Nelsons Solicitors Limited in 2021 and is joint chair of the R3 East Midlands Ladies Committee. She brings extensive experience in niche areas such as bounce back loan fraud and furlough fraud and the possibilities of proceeds of crime/money laundering, mental health and insolvency, the impact of the new pre-pack regulations, and ‘pays attention to the detail without losing sight of the commercial objectives‘. Senior associate Nick Porter is vastly experienced in commercial litigation and contentious insolvency matters.

Practice head(s):

Rachel McCahill

Other key lawyers:

Nick Porter

Testimonials

‘The Team at Buckles are highly experienced, knowledgable insolvency professionals. In addition the wider team at Buckles are also highly skilled across the full breadth of legal services.’

‘The individuals at Buckles know their stuff. I am always confident in the advice they give and rely on their ability secure commercial settlements in the event of disputes.’

‘Rachel McCahill has recently joined and heads the team including the well regarded Nick Porter. they have a commercial experience and attitude which is refreshing, and add value with regular online presentations of sector updates, legal updates and discussion forums. This collaborative initiative is welcomed by those with whom they work.’

‘Rachel McCahill is very well versed in her area, a veteran of knowledge, skilful at persuading the unwilling to engage.’

‘I have found Buckles user-friendly, commercial and willing to try that little bit harder.’

‘Rachel McCahill pays attention to the detail without losing sight of the commercial objectives of the project in hand. She is attentive and makes herself available.’

Key clients

Smith Cooper

RSM Tenon

Manolete Partners Plc

Kennway Francis Ltd

Sterling Advisory Limited

FRP Trading Advisory Limited

The Macdonald Partnership Limited

Robert Day & Company

Ashtons Legal

Ashtons Legal has ‘a real focus on providing an excellent service both in respect of legal advice and client care‘. Practice head Fiona Stuart in Norwich has ‘a strong work ethic and is able to combine excellent knowledge in the field of insolvency with a commercial and pragmatic approach to contentious matters‘. She is a non-appointment taking IP and a member of R3’s Eastern Committee. She is assisted by veteran litigator Michael Frape in Cambridge. Together they acted for FRP Advisory in the high-profile bankruptcy of a multi-millionaire, and for Parker Andrews in a challenge to an Individual Voluntary Arrangement mounted by a creditor.

Practice head(s):

Fiona Stuart

Other key lawyers:

Michael Frape

Testimonials

‘Every member of the Ashtons team that I have dealt with ensures that there is a real focus on providing an excellent service both in respect of legal advice but also client care. From the initial discussion stage, it is clear that the team are highly competent and able to provide clear and concise advice across a broad range of specialisms.’

‘I have had the pleasure of working alongside Fiona Stuart, Partner for Insolvency and Restructuring, on multiple occasions. Fiona has a strong work ethic and she is able to combine both her excellent knowledge in the field of insolvency along with a commercial and pragmatic approach to various contentious matters.’

‘Where funds are limited in the case, Fiona Stuart has provided flexibility to enable the matter to progress, ultimately enabling us to pursue certain actions and thereby providing the best results for creditors and other stakeholders as a whole. Fiona is friendly, approachable and a pleasure to work with. I could not recommend her more highly – she is an asset to the profession.’

‘Very commercial on costs and fees, far more so than other firms.’

‘Fiona Stuart is practical and commercial, stronger in transactional work than litigation which is why Michael Frape adds to the team strength as a veteran litigator.’

‘I have always found Ashtons Legal proactive, communicative and very much focused on our needs. I know that I can easily get hold of the people I want to speak to and that my queries/instructions will be dealt with in a timely and efficient manner. The firm has excellent knowledge levels and specialists in their fields.’

‘I have worked with Fiona Stuart for a number of years both at Ashtons and previous firms and I always find her work of the highest standard and efficient, which is also clearly reflected in other members of her team. Fiona is always approachable and commercially driven, offering commercial solutions to complex problems.’

‘The R&I team is backed up by a full service commercial team that offer seamless assistance as a team where needed. They are collaborative and there is no duplication of work or communication.’

Key clients

McTear Williams and Wood

Ensors

MHA Larking Gowen

RCM Advisory Limited

Price Bailey

Begbies Traynor

FRP Advisory

Peters Elworthy & Moore

Larking Gowen

Parker Andrews

LB Insolvency

Work highlights

  • Assisted and advised FRP Advisory on a high profile bankruptcy of a former multi-millionaire to include assisting with investigations to locate and secure assets within the estate.
  • Successfully claiming and settling a transaction at an undervalue claim against an individual on behalf of Parker Andrews Limited.
  • Obtaining the indefinite suspension of automatic discharge of a bankruptcy on behalf of Ensors.

Ellisons Solicitors

The insolvency practice at Ellisons Solicitors is ‘highly experienced, very approachable and incredibly adaptable to turn its hand to any form of insolvency situation, no matter how complex or large‘. Solicitor Lyndsey Squirrell in Ipswich is the sole practitioner in East Anglia, but she is backed up by extensive expertise in the Chelmsford office. She ‘places a very high value on client care‘, according to one client. She recently assisted German company Welzel Brinkop Rechtsanwalte with a heavily contested winding up petition, which included an appeal and cross-appeal following the first hearing, two interim cross-applications relating to use of evidence and security for costs, and an application by the debtor to strike out the application.

Practice head(s):

Scott Porter, Partner

Other key lawyers:

Lyndsey Squirrell

Testimonials

‘A dedicated Business Recovery and Insolvency team within the region with strength and depth, supported by a wider group with experience and knowledge in a number of areas of law.’

‘The Ellisons team is highly experienced, very approachable and incredibly adaptable to turn its hand to any form of insolvency situation, no matter how complex or large.’

‘Lyndsey Squirrell is extremely knowledgeable and ensures that legal options are fully explored and understood by the client, particularly in sensitive situations such as insolvency.’

‘Ellisons’ insolvency team is in my view one of the best in the UK, habitually combining excellent technical knowledge with a superb tactical approach. Billing is always very commercial and the level of client service always exceeds the norm.’

‘I would cite Lyndsey Squirrell as being highly effecitve members of Ellisons insolvency team. She places a very high value on client care and as such her lines of communication are routinely excellent.’

Key clients

AIB Group (UK) p.l.c.

Anthony Batty & Co

Quantuma Advisory Limited

Begbies Traynor (Colchester & London)

Ensors

FRP Advisory Group plc

Insolve Plus

Leading Business Recovery

McTear Williams & Wood

Price Bailey

RSM

Smith Cooper

Smith & Williamson

Welzel Brinkop Rechtsanwälte

Larking Gowen

Bretts Business Recovery

SRLV LLP

Go Daddy Group

Carter Backer Winter

Work highlights

  • Acting for German client Welzel Brinkop Rechtsanwalte / Knipp Medien und Kommunikation GmbH in a €750,000 debt in applying to Court to challenge and set aside a CVA. The CVA was subsequently was withdrawn.
  • Acting for and advising Quantuma Advisory Limited on a large block transfer of approximately 200 insolvency appointments held by Mark Sands.