Insolvency and corporate recovery in East Anglia
'The team always gives a quick, reliable and professional service, putting themselves out to go the extra mile to help,' says a client of Birketts LLP. Working with some of the biggest Insolvency Practitioners regionally and nationally, the firm handles the full range of work including litigation to recover the value of insolvent estates. Practice head Laurence Weeks in Cambridge is a specialist insolvency partner who has the support of Norwich-based corporate partner Greg Allan in non-contentious matters. Legal directors Maria Peyman in Cambridge and Charlotte Wormstone in Ipswich are also highly regarded for litigation and property-led insolvency matters respectively.
‘The team at Birketts always gives a quick, reliable and professional service, putting themselves out to go the extra mile to help, particularly in time-pressured situations.‘
‘They have an additional curiosity with each matter they deal with where they genuinely look further to fully explore all possible options. Even when there’s an issue that crops up and which does not require a resolution, they will take it upon themselves to research it and feedback the findings. Other firms don’t do that. Their fees are always fair and reasonable and they are happy to adapt their billing in both amount and timing depending on the situation.‘
‘Greg Allan did a fantastic job for us with a difficult administration preparing the sale, liaising with the bank, and assisting with the investigation.‘
Price Bailey as liquidators of Colonial Capital (in liquidation)
RSM Restructuring Advisory LLP
McTear Williams & Wood
FRP Advisory LLP
Peters Elworthy & Moore
- Advised RSM Restructuring Advisory LLP on the administration of F.H. Gilman & Co.
- Advised Resolve Partners Limited on the administration of the Mitcham Partnership.
- Advised FRP Advisory LLP on the sale of a private hospital.
Howes Percival LLP is one of only five firms on the UK's Insolvency Service Panel, as part of which it conducts complex public interest winding up matters, often involving large-scale frauds, and directors disqualification matters. It also leads on insolvency work through its appointment to the Crown Commercial Services legal panel. It also receives high-value corporate and personal insolvency litigation instructions from regional and national insolvency practices. In Cambridge, Michael Green has many years of experience in the restructuring and insolvency sphere, while in Norwich, Morris Peacock, William Shirley and senior associate Patrick Manning act for the Insolvency Service.
‘Howes Percival is an excellent firm, made even better by Michael Green’s team. They have consistently high-quality work which is carried out efficiently and to a standard one would ordinarily associate with top 10 firms.’
‘Michael Green’s experience is simply second-to-none, and he couples his in-depth knowledge of the law with an effortless commerciality. There are few people in the insolvency field who can match him.’
Michael Green’s broad knowledge of many legal aspects, in addition to his core insolvency skillset, has been invaluable given the wide asset base of the case.’
The Insolvency Service
Grant Thornton UK LLP
RSM (formerly Baker Tilly)
Price Bailey LLP
Kingston Smith & Partners
McTear Williams & Wood
BDO UK LLP
Antony Batty & Co
- Advised the Insolvency Service, an Executive Agency of the Secretary of State for Business, Energy And Industrial Strategy, on the investigation into the failure of BHS Limited and connected companies and conducted the ensuing directors’ disqualification proceedings.
- Advised the Insolvency Service on the failure of Ecohouse Developments Limited (Ecohouse) which offered investments in property in Brazil and which went into liquidation owing over £20m to investors.
- Instructed by the Office Holder to investigate claims against a director and his son and issue proceedings against them. The matter went to trial with the Court ordering that the director pay the sum of £819,620 and that his son pay an amount of £680,716.
Mills & Reeve LLP's insolvency team in East Anglia is a core element of the firm's national practice, which handles high-value and complex asset recovery claims both for and against Insolvency Practitioners, and advises stakeholders on issues arising from insolvent counterparties. The firm was recently appointed to the Insolvency Services Panel for disqualification, investigations and public interest winding up mandates. Jamie Wheatley in Cambridge is the lead partner in East Anglia and works closely with the London-based group. Principal associate Lino Di Lorenzo and, in Norwich, associate Catherine Noble deal with contentious matters.
‘They are technically very able, confident with the law and commercially very astute; they fight hard to get results for the client and seem to genuinely care about looking after the client through the process. I would not hesitate to recommend them.’
‘Jamie Wheatley is excellent. He is extremely able and comfortable dealing with company/insolvency litigation which I think gives clients a real sense of confidence. He has a great team, particularly Lino Di Lorenzo. who is an excellent lawyer, on top of the technicalities and works through the detail relentlessly. He takes great care in his work and in looking after the client’s case and needs through what can often be a difficult time for clients.’
McTear Williams & Wood
Moorfields Corporate Recovery
Regulator for Social Housing
American International Group UK Limited.
Homes and Communities Agency
Trinity College Cambridge
- Advising Gerard Barnes on the defence of a multi-party claim for damages under s423 Insolvency Act 1986, and/or breach of fiduciary duty and/or conspiracy to injure.
- Acting for the joint administrators on all aspects of the administration of West Anglia Training Association Limited, a company which provided apprenticeship programmes and other training programmes.
- Acting for the liquidator of the Burnden Group Limited in connection with a proof of debt appeal made by the former directors. This was a rare contested application under IR 4.83 and involved a creditor abandoning a contemporaneous proof of debt lodged in 2011 and advancing an inconsistent proof of debt.
Taylor Vinters acts for Insolvency Practitioners, creditors and debtors in administrations, liquidations, sales of business and assets by way of pre-pack and winding up petitions. In restructurings, the firm also handles refinancing, debt and equity restructuring, debt for equity swaps, voluntary arrangements, workouts and turnarounds. Practice head Adam Bradley, who is a licensed Insolvency Practitioner, works from both the London and Cambridge offices. So, too, does James Slinger, who focuses on the property aspects of insolvency. Senior associate Jessica Boxford is a rising star in contentious matters.
Leonard Curtis Business Solutions Group
Carter Backer Winter LLP
Kingston Smith & Partners LLP
MHA Macintyre Hudson
FRP Advisory LLP
- Advising the directors and trustees of Twin Trading Limited and FRP Advisory LLP, as they approached insolvency, and later advising the administrators of the company and charity, acting on the sale of parts of the charity’s business by the administrators, and other advice to the administrators in respect of complex security issues.
- Advising the joint administrators in respect of a very difficult sale of a significant and valuable property asset and acting for them in their successful defence of injunction proceedings. Resolving difficulties brought about by various claims made by the shareholders of the company in administration.
- Advising the liquidator in respect of the validity of a large cross guarantee and any possible subrogation claims.
Barker Gotelee in Ipswich handles varied and high-quality instructions from numerous Insolvency Practitioners from East Anglia, London and nationwide, as well as handling work for private individuals. From highly technical insolvency issues faced by IPs to the sale and purchase of the assets of insolvent entities, the firm covers every aspect of business recovery. John Bradshaw leads the practice, supported by litigator Dermott Thomas and corporate partner Clare Richards. Clients remark that the team 'goes above and beyond to help their clients and provide the correct advice'. Legal executive Sarah Mower is also a respected practitioner.
‘The team at Barker Gotelee goes above and beyond to help their clients and provide the correct advice. They are always friendly and nothing seems like too much trouble.‘
‘I am an Insolvency Practitioner who often works closely with John Bradshaw who specialises in insolvency and business recovery and his commitment to clients and their needs is paramount. He is very approachable and explains his advice in everyday English that you can understand. I never hesitate to pick up the telephone to him to talk through an issue arising on a case.‘
‘It has good insolvency and recovery expertise for a regional player. They go that bit extra to get the job done.‘
‘Barker Gotelee’s team in this field may be small but it is formidable. John Bradshaw and Sarah Mower are fantastic. Both came from Howes Percival’s extremely successful dispute resolution team and have exceptional experience. They’re also lovely people, which clients really appreciate.‘
‘John Bradshaw is extremely experienced and very well respected. He’s got it all when it comes to dispute resolution: he’s technically excellent, he’s strategic, he’s commercially savvy and he’s a really nice bloke.‘
‘Sarah Mower is fantastic. She’s absolutely great with clients.‘
McTear, Williams & Wood Limited
Price Bailey LLP
CVR Global LLP
Grant Thornton UK LLP
Moore Kingston Smith & Partners LLP
MHA Larking Gowen
DCA BR Ltd
Stephen M Rout & Company
- Advising the liquidator in relation to various claims available in the liquidation, including several overdrawn directors’ loan accounts, misfeasance and potentially unlawful dividends.
- Advising the Trustee in relation to the realisation of the debtor’s property which included land with development potential and planning permission.
- Advising upon the extent and validity of security granted by the company and in relation to the debtors’ right or otherwise to be subrogated to the security.
The insolvency and restructuring practice at Greene & Greene in Bury St Edmunds is 'relaxed and pleasant to deal with', according to one client. Litigator Rob Adam leads the practice, which focuses on contentious matters and draws upon the firm's strong commercial, employment, property and tax practices to assist IPs with pre-packs and other insolvency-related transactions. Senior partner Michael Batty, solicitor advocate Simon Ratcliffe and corporate partner Mark Daly are also active in the practice.
‘They were relaxed, which I was not, and pleasant to deal with.‘
- Advising a Trustee in Bankruptcy in relation to an application by a Bankrupt for the lifting of the suspension of the automatic discharge of the bankruptcy. This followed a much earlier application to prevent automatic discharge pending the provision of further information by the Bankrupt, where the claims against the bankruptcy estate exceeded £12m, which information had been provided, and which had assisted in three applications pursuant to s339 of the Insolvency Act to recover funds to the estate.
- Advising a Liquidator on complex issues of title over various assets introduced by a Director to a Company, and the treatment of those assets in the accounts, and advising on title to those chattels in the context of the Liquidator seeking to dispose of them.
- Acting for client defending winding up proceedings the firm considered had wrongly been issued. The petition was eventually dismissed on the grounds that there was no authority for the petitioning creditor to issue the petition.
Isadore Goldman is a specialist insolvency boutique with offices in East Anglia, London and Portsmouth. Working with leading Insolvency Practitioners, the firm handles high-value contentious matters and advises on critical issues facing insolvent companies including the sale of assets. Adam McCaw and Frank Brumby are the lead practitioners in Norwich. Robert Pyke handles the property aspects of insolvency. Associates Jenna Ansell and Sian Leonard are also recommended.
Buckles Solicitors LLP in Peterborough is known for its work on contentious insolvency matters, particularly asset recovery and protection. The firm frequently defends directors and third parties in actions brought by Insolvency Practitioners and head of litigation James Maxey also handles directors disqualification matters. The practice also advises on clients at the pre-insolvency, seeking to avoid formal appointments through commercial turnaround strategies. Senior associate Nick Porter is another name to note.
Other key lawyers:
- Acting for an insolvency practitioner in a complex preference claim within a bankruptcy.
- Acting for directors of a company that went into liquidation, and who are now subject to proceedings under the Company Directors Disqualification Act.
- Acting for the administrators of a company with a large property portfolio; acting on the appointment itself then, with our property and corporate teams, in the realisation of assets. Assets realised £4.5m.
Fosters in Norwich joins the ranking this year having hired experienced partner Fiona Stuart from Howes Percival LLP in early 2019 to launch its insolvency and restructuring practice. The only female dual-qualified insolvency solicitor in East Anglia, Stuart already has an impressive roster of clients, among which are Begbies Traynor, MHA Larking Gowen and Parker Andrews. The firm is a partner is a partner for Escalate Disputes and Stuart's practice works closely with regional accountancy firm Price Bailey in providing this alternative route to market for SMEs.
‘Fosters have a great reputation not just in the East of England, but across the UK and in the London market. The size of the firm allows each solicitor and department to have a personal and direct relationship with their clients, making their offering more personable and effective over and above slightly larger firms.’
‘Fiona Stuart is a real star, not just within the firm but in the local market too. Many local clients and businesses in need of insolvency and restructuring work seem to gravitate towards her, and she is well known amongst other professionals within the field.’
‘Instructions are well prepared and clearly thought out before they get to counsel, and Fiona’s relationship(s) with her clients is clearly strong.’
‘Fiona Stuart is a huge asset to the firm. Her JIEB qualification gives her an edge over other competitors and makes her a well rounded individual. Her client service is as good as it gets and she delivers work in a timely manner.’
‘Fosters Solicitors LLP provided excellent support.’
‘The quality of advice we received from Fosters was excellent, which together with their responsiveness to weekend working and extended late hours, made for a very efficient transaction.’
‘Our main dealings were with Fiona Stuart and Jamie Arnall both of whom provided an exemplary service throughout. Both delivered a very professional and personal service and gave pragmatic advise which enabled us to focus on the most important matters in an effort to get the deal completed.’
FRP Advisory LLP
McTear Williams and Wood Limited
Parker Andrews Limited
MHA Larking Gowen
BM Advisory LLP
Ensors Chartered Accountants
LB Insolvency Solutions Limited
RCM Advisory Limited
Purple Hire Solutions Limited