Dispute resolution in Guernsey

Carey Olsen

Carey Olsen's 'preeminent' dispute resolution and litigation bench features a number of seasoned advocates specialising in the full span of engagements. Spearheading the restructuring and insolvency offering, David Jones tackles both multijurisdictional and purely domestic instructions. An island-leading criminal and regulatory offering is provided by Mark Dunster and practice head and 'first-class trial advocateElaine Gray; highlight recent matters related to complex competition issues in the utilities sector. 'Formidable litigatorTim Corfield is a go-to name for regulated financial services clients, while Karen Le Cras leads on contentious trust disputes. Senior associates Julia Schaefer  and Tim Bamford, and counsel Simon Florance lend their expertise to broader commercial disputes. Former partner John Greenfield continues to play a key role in the team as a full-time consultant.

Practice head(s):

Elaine Gray

Other key lawyers:

David Jones; Mark Dunster; Tim Corfield; Karen Le Cras; Tim Bamford; Simon Florance; Luke Sayer; Julia Schaefer; John Greenfield

Testimonials

‘Tim Corfield – a formidable litigator. First-class advocate.’

‘Guernsey’s preeminent dispute resolution practice and is found on one side or the other in almost all complex commercial litigation (including fiduciary, cross-border and so on). It has by far the largest number of resources and highly skilled experts in a wide range of practice areas. The team is very collegiate and professional in approach with a highly diverse talent pool. They also have well-established relationships with leading counsel in other jurisdictions.’

‘Elaine Gray is qualified in several jurisdictions and clearly has the ear of the court being a first-class trial advocate. Her approach is also very commercial and approachable.’

‘The entire Guernsey team at Carey Olsen from receptionist, secretary, associate, and partner work as one. Unlike other firms I interact with, the left hand always knows what the right hand is doing.’

‘Mark Dunster and Luke Sayer are experts in their field and strategically savvy. Rather than being aggressive in their approach, they get results by being calm, pragmatic and by being intellectually one step ahead.’

‘David Jones continues to impress me. His availability and approachability is second to none and his ability to work under significant pressure whilst creating a great atmosphere is to be admired.’

‘Carey Olsen have a superb practice and carry the gravitas and experience that make them the advocates I would recommend above all others on the island. Indeed we carried out a beauty parade of Guernsey advocates and selected Carey Olsen. We have not been disappointed in our selection.’

‘Elaine Gray and Julia Schaefer have both provided excellent and responsive service.’

Key clients

Alvarez & Marsal (Europe) LLP

Begbies Traynor

EY

Grant Thornton

Highland Capital Management

Intertrust

KPMG

Leonard Curtis

PwC

Stobart Group

Work highlights

  • Advised individuals from Alvarez & Marshall LLP in their capacity as joint liquidators of Joannou & Paraskevaides.
  • Instructed as lead counsel successfully advising and representing Stenprop Limited, an LSE Main Market-listed entity, in a novel and innovative application for declaratory relief and remediation of the company’s status.
  • Advised the parent company of BSG Resources Limited (in administration) in respect of opposing a winding-up application issued by the majority creditor of BSGR.

Collas Crill

Collas Crill’s dispute resolution bench thrives on a steady stream of litigation involving contentious trusts, probates and shareholder agreements under the expertise of  'tireless advocateChristian Hay, who heads the practice alongside Gareth Bell and David O’HanlonBen Havard’s contentious trust knowledge is applied to sensitive and high-value family disputes. Michael Adkins, senior associate Nin Ritchie and associate Emma Taylor bring regulatory expertise, with comprehensive wins against the GFSC recently being secured for high-profile individuals and commercial clients. Adkins and of counsel James Tee lead on substantial insolvency proceedings, recently on behalf of joint liquidators in the mining sector.

Practice head(s):

Christian Hay

Other key lawyers:

Gareth Bell; David O’Hanlon; Ben Havard; Michael Adkins; Nin Ritchie; Emma Taylor; James Tee

Testimonials

‘Emma Taylor will go right to the top: Efficient, professional and extremely personable.’

‘Gareth Bell is a very experienced and steady hand on the tiller. Knowledgeable and able to provide comfort when the going gets tough.’ 

‘David O’Hanlon is calm and understated but firm in his advice. Willing to take on board client strategic views and to advise having regard to the ultimate aims.

‘Christian Hay is a tireless advocate for the interests of Collas Crill and Guernsey dispute resolution in general.’

‘Michael Adkins: exceptional lawyer; commercially focused and technically excellent.’

‘James Tee is thorough and prompt to ensure that matters keep pace and the initiative is maintained.’

‘Ben Havard is a pleasure to work with and a charming practitioner who provides quality advice and always offers a clear litigation strategy. He is highly collaborative and knows what his clients want.’

‘Nin Ritchie is at the top of her game. She is a calm, steady pair of hands and can efficiently get to grips with idiosyncratic matters. I continue to be very impressed with her legal knowledge and commercial acumen.’

Key clients

Grant Thornton Channel Islands

FRP Advisory

FSN Capital

Circumference Holdings Ltd

Guernsey Housing Association

White & Case

Payne Hicks Beach

Withers

Kingsley Napley

Keystone Law

CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang

Wedlake Bell

Mishcon

Zhong Lun

Geneva Trust Company (formerly Rawlinson & Hunter S.A.)

Sequent (formerly Rothschild Trust Guernsey Limited)

Artemis Trustees Limited

Bank Julius Baer & Co

Investec Bank Channel Islands

Work highlights

  • Represented Grant Thornton as Joint Liquidators of CanArgo Limited in a contested court application to sanction a decision to sell the company’s mining rights in Georgia.
  • Represented a private client in judicial review proceedings against the Guernsey Financial Services Commission seeking, amongst other things, corrective disclosure following a bungled investigation.
  • Represented the Settlor of the V trust in an application to set aside the trust which had let to an unintended £1m liability to UK inheritance tax.

Mourant

As 'one of the leading lights in the jurisdiction', Mourant’s Guernsey dispute resolution practice is instructed by trustees and joint liquidators on major trust litigation, insolvent funds proceedings and contentious business restructurings as led by practice head Abel Lyall and international litigation head Jeremy WesselsChristopher Edwards and Gordon Dawes take the lead on regulatory disputes (including AML actions), cross-border tax disputes and GFSC investigations. Financial services clients are the primary focus on this side. At the sub-partner level, counsel Chantal Barrett applies her knowledge of insurance law to weighty commercial litigation, while senior associate Benjamin Manchak and counsel Sandra Duerden (who brings French and German language capabilities) provide additional support in international trust disputes.

Practice head(s):

Abel Lyall

Other key lawyers:

Jeremy Wessels; Christopher Edwards; Gordon Dawes; Chantal Barrett; Benjamin Manchak; Sandra Duerden; Iona Mitchell

Testimonials

‘Gordon Dawes and Iona Mitchell are 100% committed to trying to get the best result for the client. As a relatively small jurisdiction, it is obviously important in Guernsey to be known and respected in legal circles.’

‘Gordon Dawes has a passionate commitment to getting the best result for the client.’

‘Iona Mitchell is extremely hard orking and has astute legal analysis and judgement.’

‘A top-quality Guernsey practice. One of the leading lights in the jurisdiction.’

‘Mourant is a terrific, full-service provider.’

‘Abel Lyall and Greg Coburn are creative in exploring options.’

‘It was great to witness Abel Lyall in the courtroom fighting our case. Abel also handled communication to our board of directors very well in a calm and consistent matter, accepting the highly distressed state of the board members and the challenges they faced in understanding the legal technicalities.’

‘Very experienced and tactical – Mourant’s dispute team is deserving of the highest respect in Guernsey.’

Key clients

HSBC Bank Plc

Royal Bank of Scotland

Royal Bank of Canada

EFG Private Bank

Credit Suisse Group

Investec Bank Plc

Lloyds Bank

Kleinwort Hambros

Butterfield Bank and Trust

Bank Julius Baer

Concept Group

PraxisIFM Group and Nerine Group

Grant Thornton

KPMG

Deloitte

Barclay Family

Trident Trust

Sequent Guernsey Limited

Insurance Corporation of the Channel Islands

Trust Corporation

Apex

Work highlights

  • Acting for Investec as former trustees of the Tchenguiz Discretionary Trust in relation to a long-running, complex trust dispute.
  • Acting for Grant Thornton as liquidators of JJW Limited in the complex, cross-border insolvency of a hotel group.
  • Acting for Lloyd’s Syndicate 4242 in relation to contentious proceedings against Cells of White Rock Insurance Company.

Ogier

Ogier’s dispute resolution team is described a 'formidable force in Guernsey'. Head of global restructuring Mathew Newman leads on multijurisdictional corporate insolvencies, fund administrations, and highly publicised professional negligence claims against fund auditors. Alex Horsbrugh-Porter contributes to the insolvency bench strength at the counsel level. In the contentious trusts field, co-head Simon Davies (who is currently serving as bâtonnier of the Guernsey Bar), Bryan De Verneuil-Smith, recent partner promotion Sandie Lyne and senior associate Michael Rogers represent trustees and beneficiaries in trustee removal actions, breach of trust proceedings and other contentious matters. Numerous POCA actions are currently being handled by the team.

Practice head(s):

Simon Davies; Mathew Newman

Other key lawyers:

Alex Horsbrugh-Porter; Bryan De Verneuil-Smith; Sandie Lyne; Michael Rogers

Testimonials

‘Matthew Newman is notable for his easygoing manner, extensive availability and sound judgement.’

‘They work collaboratively across insolvency and litigation for their clients. They are a pleasure to work with, having done so on a range of matters over the years.’

‘Simon Davies is a very good, knowledgeable technician, commercial and very client attentive. Michael Rogers a very good assistant and supportive to Simon as partner. ’

‘When circumstances demand a quick responsive time, Mathew Newman and Bryan De Verneuil-Smith have done an amazing job of keeping up with client demands in a different time zone. They have also raised practical solutions to complex problems and are savvy about our sophisticated clients’ complex needs.’

‘Very good team – one of the strongest on the island’

‘Mathew Newman: outstanding lawyer; very capable indeed. Alex Horsbrugh-Porter: a very good lawyer; expert in insolvency and restructuring matters.’

‘The Guernsey team with whom I have worked displayed an impressive range of legal and commercial skills. They combined strong technical abilities with a significant grasp of cross-border substantive law and procedural issues that impacted on strategy.’

‘Ogier is a formidable force in Guernsey. They are knowledgeable, well connected, and tenacious. They produce top-quality written work, have an excellent network of solicitors and barristers they use for support, and are capable of delivering a blow in court. They also are very client-focused and responsive, which is not always a hallmark of the offshore firms. In short, they are the firm to see for contentious matters and trusts work in Guernsey.’

Key clients

BDO LLP

Securis Investment Partners

Deloitte

MND Georgia

Krys Global

EEA Life Settlements PCC Limited

The Public Trustee of Guernsey

Perenco SA

Alvarez & Marsal

AlixPartners

Banco Sabadell

HSBC Bank (CI and UK)

Work highlights

  • Advising Deloitte as administration managers in respect of the Providence group, a Guernsey investment fund and its investment manager used as a Ponzi scheme to defraud investors.
  • Acting for the Public Trustee of Guernsey as trustee of five pension schemes by an order of the Royal Court through its the investigation into the affairs of the pension schemes, which have suffered significant losses.
  • Advising Securis Investment Partners as the funders of a number of reinsurance cells facing insolvency proceedings brought by a Lloyd’s of London syndicate, with complex multijurisdictional issues giving rise to a number of proceedings being played out in New York and London.

Walkers

The insolvency and dispute resolution practice at Walkers houses an impressive bench of insolvency experts including the ‘extremely pragmatic and eager Sarah Brehaut, the ‘commercial, experienced and very knowledgeableAdam Cole and ‘very hard working‘ senior associate Helena Lavin; together they represent creditors and joint liquidators in multijurisdictional proceedings. Contentious trust expert and practice head Alison Ozanne predominantly represents trustees and institutions in the breadth of disputes; generational disputes have been a recent point of focus. Senior counsel Jamie Bookless drives the expanding regulatory offering, bringing expertise in sanctions, GFSC investigations, data protection and allegations of fraud including AML breaches. The practice also handles contentious probate engagements.

Practice head(s):

Alison Ozanne

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Brehaut; Adam Cole; Helena Lavin; Jamie Bookless

Testimonials

‘Direct contact with partners and decision-makers means we can get practical answers quickly and efficiently. Documents and decisions can be turned around and time isn’t wasted reacquainting with the file or historical information.’

‘Individuals are approachable, down to earth and practical. They are not afraid to articulate their view/opinion clearly even if this doesn’t accord with the client but they are also not afraid to listen to a dissenting view and take this seriously.’

‘In Guernsey and throughout the offshore jurisdictions, Walkers have unrivalled depth of knowledge and technical ability. They are always a very safe pair of hands.’

‘Adam Cole – commercial, experienced and very knowledgeable. Also a thoroughly nice guy and very easy to get along with.’

‘Walkers’ Guernsey office has a very strong presence in the market and has been noted for their strong growth in the past few years. Their team is made up of a diverse group of people from different cultures and background, which is evident in their advice and work product which provides clients with creative solutions to complex issues.’

‘Sarah Brehaut: extremely pragmatic and eager to ensure that client’s needs are met while delivering a high calibre of service.’

‘Helena Lavin: a very hard working senior associate who is very knowledgeable in the dispute resolution space. Relates to her clients and is approachable.’

‘Alison Ozanne is remarkable in terms of her ability to provide real and genuine client support and effectively manage a case with a high level of efficiency. She is exceptionally qualified and a pleasure to work with. She is the advocate of choice for a client who needs the job done with the highest level of support and experience.

Key clients

Grant Thornton

Alvarez and Marsal

BDO Limited

CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP

Pinsent Masons

Rusnano Group

Leonard Curtis Business Solutions Group

KRyS Global

House of Green

Healthcare Group Guernsey

Swedish Sea Rescue

Work highlights

  • Advising Swedish Sea Rescue Society (a charitable beneficiary of a Guernsey law trust) in relation to strategic and legal aspects of multijurisdictional challenges to the validity of the trust and efforts to remove the trustee.
  • Advised the joint voluntary liquidators c/o Leonard Curtis and Grant Thornton, of Xenfin Fund 1 Trading Limited in relation to multi-jurisdictional asset recoveries.
  • Advising a high-net-worth individual on a multijurisdictional trust dispute involving Guernsey, Kenya and Gibraltar proceedings. The matter arose from a family dispute relating to ascertaining the whereabouts of significant offshore family wealth.

Appleby

For Appleby's dispute resolution practice, insolvencies in the retail and property sectors are an ongoing focus, with the 'excellent litigatorAnthony Williams handling successful winding-up orders across the Channel Islands. The team benefits from the 'preeminent data protection lawyerRichard Field’s regulatory expertise for data protection matters including breach situations; he also leads on AML actions and financial misconduct proceedings. The practice frequently acts on trustee-side trust litigation, and similarly, represents estate executors in disputes concerning the administration of high-value properties and other assets.

Practice head(s):

Anthony Williams

Other key lawyers:

Richard Field

Testimonials

‘The team at Appleby are responsive and knowledgeable and have supported our business in a number of areas and so have a good understanding of the issues that we face.’

‘Anthony Williams: excellent litigator; very experienced and very capable

‘Richard Field: very good litigator.’

‘Appleby seem to be making strides in terms of growing their business and expertise in the litigation sector. They seem hungry to impress and have been very eager to demonstrate their quality and industry knowledge.’

‘Richard Field remains the Island’s eminent data protection lawyer and is very much our go-to guy for any data protection related issues. He works very closely with the regulator and is incredibly diligent in keeping up to date with developments.’

‘Strong litigation team with expertise and a friendly style. Very approachable and easy to work with.’

‘Anthony Williams is excellent.’

Key clients

Aareal Bank AG

Achernar Assets AG

Aurigny

CBW

Deloitte LLP

Duff & Phelps

Ernst & Young

FRP Trading Limited

Geneva Trust Company

Grant Thornton

HSBC Group

Intertrust Group

Northern Trust

Oak Group

Pavel Erochkine

Peters & Peters

PraxisIFM Group

Standard Chartered Trust

Standard Bank Group

Standard Chartered Bank

Work highlights

  • Advising Aareal Bank in Germany in connection with the enforcement of a substantial debt owing by the JJW Hotel Group for €150m.
  • Instructed by the joint administrators of the Arcadia Group, Deloitte, to seek a court order in the Royal Court of Guernsey recognising their appointment by the English High Court.
  • Instructed to advise the former trustee of the Tchenguiz Discretionary Trust on all aspects of the Guernsey litigation.

Babbé LLP

Babbé LLP has an impressive offering for contentious insolvencies, and co-head Todd McGuffin is a 'forceful advocate' involved in some of Guernsey’s top-dollar fund administration proceedings. The practice is increasingly engaged in financial crime disputes, with co-head and 'excellent lawyer' Nick Robison handling enforcement hearings before the GFSC into money laundering claims. Senior associate David Doutney is also strong on this side, notably in relation to tax avoidance claims in the real estate funds space. Ian Swan is a 'phenomenal advocate' in the contentious trusts space.

Practice head(s):

Todd McGuffin; Nick Robison

Other key lawyers:

David Doutney; Ian Swan

Testimonials

‘Strong local knowledge.’

‘Todd McGuffin – excellent litigator. Forceful advocate.’

‘The team’s major strengths are Ian Swan and Nick Robison. Each is amongst the very best trusts litigators on the island.’

‘Ian Swan is a phenomenal advocate. His ability to think on his feet while dealing with the most complex of issues and fact-rich cases is astounding.’

‘Nick Robison is an excellent lawyer and excels in dealing with contentious trust matters. He is dedicated, pays attention to details and takes a commercial approach which best serves his clients.’

‘Good pragmatic legal advice with an intimate knowledge of the courts and court system.’

‘A strong team with lots of bench strength. Always delivers.’

Key clients

Pricewaterhouse Coopers CI LLP

Fort Trustees Limited and Balchan Management Limited (as trustees of the Tchenguiz Discretionary Trust)

Saffery Champness Chartered Accountants

Ocorian Limited

Credit Suisse Group

Work highlights

  • Acting for the trustees of the Tchenguiz Discretionary Trust, of which assets are the subject of ongoing claims in excess of £230m.
  • Acting for the United States Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Trustee for Acis Capital Management LP & Acis Capital Management GP LLC.
  • Represented the former directors in the Carlyle case, a professional negligence case pleaded at nearly $2bn concerning the demise of an investment fund in 2008.

Bedell Cristin

Leading Bedell Cristin’s dispute resolution practice, Alasdair Davidson 'is a class performer as both an advocate and a strategist' who handles contentious insolvency matters, including ongoing parallel proceedings, from multijurisdictional liquidators and insurers. Ongoing contentious trust highlights revolve around competing family interests and generational disputes. The team is able to apply deep knowledge of Guernsey-specific contract law to property disputes and professional negligence claims. Jon Barclay’s regulatory practice covers AML, director fiduciary obligations and enforcement actions by the GFSC.

Practice head(s):

Alasdair Davidson

Other key lawyers:

Jon Barclay

Testimonials

‘Alasdair Davidson: very experienced and knowledgeable lawyer.’

‘Alasdair Davidson is particularly experienced and commercial in his approach. Focuses on key issues and does not get bogged down in peripheral issues. Definitely the go-to adviser for my firm in the jurisdiction and will highly recommend to peers.’

‘Bedell Cristin Guernsey is one of the stand-out litigation teams in the jurisdiction. They have strength in depth and can always be relied upon to find the right commercial approach in even the most contentious litigation matters.’

‘Alasdair Davidson is a class performer as both an advocate and a strategist. He is my first port of call in the jurisdiction. He is a delight to work with and always responsive.’

‘The team are really proactive and will work the hours that are needed.’

‘Jon Barclay is a brilliant advocate and innovative in his approach to tricky situations. He know the Guernsey bench really well which is invaluable when seeking urgent relief.’

‘The Bedell Cristin team is particularly noteworthy for its technical ability and willingness to provide robust, difficult advice.’

‘Alasdair Davidson stands out as a technically gifted practitioner who, at the same time, offers practical, commercial advice.’

Key clients

BDO

KYRS Global

JT Group

Kent and Reliance Building Society (Guernsey Home Loans)

Trustee of the Madoff Estate

RBC

Rradar Group

Ned Bank

Louvre Group

Grant Thornton

Stewarts Law

Kaupthing EHF

RBC Cees

Louvre Trust (Guernsey) Limited

David Rubin & Partners

Nedgroup

US DOJ

CMS Cameron McKenna

AXA

BNF Capital

Bachmann Marine

Work highlights

  • Acting for Adil Popat in fending off disputed claims between siblings stemming from wealth creation over decades.
  • Representing the interests of a young high-net-worth individual in a matter concerning significant wealth settled into trust by a deceased parent which has resulted in hard-fought technical arguments before the Royal Court and Court of Appeal.
  • Acting for Pilatus PTC as trustee of a trust in an action against RBC Trustees involving breach of trust and negligence during the handover of an underlying corporate structure.

AFR Advocates

AFR Advocates acts on a mix of domestic and international trust and banking and finance litigation for corporate entities and high-net-worth individuals. 'Proactive and client-friendly' co-head Mark Ferbrache is an expert in Guernsey inheritance and probate law, having handled numerous Royal Court proceedings for plaintiffs in breach of trust claims. Managing partner and 'seasoned litigatorPaul Richardson leads on commercial litigation and contentious employment mandates.

Practice head(s):

Mark Ferbrache; Paul Richardson

Other key lawyers:

Ian Davis

Testimonials

‘AFR are good boutique litigators with a focus on commercial litigation matters.’

‘Paul Richardson is managing partner and a seasoned litigator. He is trenchant and unyielding when required, but also advises his clients realistically about prospects for success. He is ably assisted by Ian Davis, who deals with drafting and litigation support. The two are a good combination.’

‘Mark Ferbrache is always very helpful.’

‘Mark Ferbrache is an excellent litigator. His particular points of difference are: he is extremely proactive; he is client friendly; and he is cunning – and I mean that in a positive sense. We have sent a number of disputes to Mark and he handled them very well and imaginatively. I can’t imagine ever going to anyone else for legal advice related to a dispute in Guernsey.’

Ferbrache & Farrell LLP

The 'unflappable' practice head Martin Jones and 'incredibly bright' counsel Robert Breckon of Ferbrache & Farrell LLP’s dispute resolution bench regularly handle on-island litigation pertaining to construction and boundary disputes, property investment redress, trust disputes for beneficiaries, and other commercial litigation. Associate Sarah Millar takes on family law, employment and public law disputes to an increasing degree owing to Peter Ferbrache’s election as Chief Minister of Guernsey. Associate Alison Antill provides essential support in trust disputes.

Practice head(s):

Martin Jones

Other key lawyers:

Robert Breckon; Sarah Millar; Alison Antill

Testimonials

‘I have worked with Ferbrache & Farrell on a substantial family dispute. I was especially impressed with the spread of talent and experience, in a relatively small firm, and the service that they offered to their clients. In particular, they dealt with the emotive aspects of the dispute and managed their clients’ expectations very effectively.’

‘Martin Jones – unflappable, becoming a real master of the Royal Court.’

‘Robert Breckon – incredibly bright, easy to deal with and totally focused on his clients.’

‘Excellent proactive team. Always on point driving matters forward when required and providing more time, when appropriate. We have had several instances where they have managed to achieve a settlement on good terms through skillful negotiation. Easy to deal with and practical with their solutions. Thoughtful with their delivery and tactful when dealing with clients, applying the right amount of pressure at the right times.’

‘Robert Breckon is thorough and innovative in his approach to regulatory and civil litigation – he is client-centric and gives sound and balanced advice being realistic and forthright in his conduct of cases.’

‘What makes this team special is that they are a relatively new, independent, firm, which means that they still are entrepreneurial and practical without decades of “large firm” restrictions, but with the many years of experience of Peter Ferbrache. ’

‘Martin Jones and his team were remarkably sensitive to particularities of the dispute and were able to shape the strategy and arguments that fitted the unusual situation. The main strength of the team was in the analysis of the case from a business (management) point of view and in focusing on the real issues.’

‘In the digital age, a firm that is able to combine technology with personal attention is a rare and very pleasing find. I live in the UK and the physical distance was bridged with ease.’