Dispute resolution in Guernsey

Babbé LLP

Covering a range of cases including commercial disputes, trust litigation and matters with allegations of fraud, Babbé LLP 'genuinely punches with the heavyweights in the offshore sector'. The firm's cornerstone instruction of late has been the Carlyle v Conway case, in which Ian Swan and Anna Guggenheim QC (who acquired Silk at the English Bar prior to her move to Guernsey via the circuit bench) acted for the primary defendants. Nicholas Robison continues to be involved in the Tchenguiz litigation among a range of contentious trusts mandates, and Todd McGuffin is involved in a number of complex insolvency cases among other matters.

Practice head(s):

Todd McGuffin; Nick Robison

Other key lawyers:

Ian Swan; Anna Guggenheim QC

Testimonials

‘Babbe is a litigation focused firm and it shows. They are strategic in their approach and, in the form of Ian Swan, have arguably the top courtroom lawyer on the island. They understand litigation and how to win.’

‘Strong Guernsey expertise in regulatory, insolvency and commercial disputes.’

‘The dispute resolution team at Babbe have strength in depth, and the ability to present a case to the Court persuasively.’

‘Ian Swan is the most technically expert and skilled Chancery advocate I have seen practising in Guernsey. He does not indulge in childish point-scoring  and that mature and considered approach has led to his opinion being most valued by the bench.’

Anna Guggenheim has great judgement, and a practical approach.

‘Where Nick Robison stood out in my opinion was acting in his advocacy role in defence – he takes complex issues and breaks them down to the level that laymen and senior QCs value,  without being condescending. His grasp of the law, ability to recall specific facts and buttress these to the points in question-true delivery.’

Key clients

PriceWaterhouseCoopers CI LLP

Credit Suisse Trust Limited

Carillion Insurance Company Limited

KRyS Global (Guernsey) Limited

KRyS Global (UK) Limited

Fort Trustees Limited & Balchan Management Limited as trustees of the Tchenguiz Discretionary Trust

BDO LLP

Price Commissioner for Sark

Work highlights

  • 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.
  • Representing the trustees of the Tchenguiz Discretionary Trust in several matters.
  • Acted as Guernsey law expert in the US Chapter 11 bankrupcy of Acis Capital Management, which invested in Cayman-domiciled CLOs.

Carey Olsen

'One of the pre-eminent Guernsey law firms with an excellent dispute resolution practice', Carey Olsen handles the gamut of Guernsey cases. Practice head Elaine Gray has a diverse practice covering matters from competition law to trust litigation, while Tim Corfield's cases include civil fraud and public law matters, and Karen Le Cras combines a number of trust litigation mandates on top of a newly formalised part-time role as the firm's own group general counsel. Mark Dunster handles agenda-setting white-collar crime cases as well as regulatory work and matters with complex issues of customary law. Also in 2019, restructuring and insolvency specialist David Jones was elected as a partner, and counsel Simon Florance  and senior associate Julia Schaefer qualified as Guernsey advocates. For many 'the doyen of the Guernsey Bar', John Greenfield , who is still active in a number of complex trusts cases, transitioned from partner to consultant in July 2020.

Practice head(s):

Elaine Gray

Testimonials

‘The team are experts in their field and strategically savvy. Rather than being aggressive in their approach, they get results by being calm, polite and by being intellectually one step ahead.’

‘Carey Olsen are a large channel island firm with strong capability to handle the largest litigation. They have a good mix of litigation and corporate departments and a long standing brand name for excellence.’

‘Karen Le Cras is personable, responsive, creative and a very good lawyer who knows the Guernsey Court system like the back of her hand. She is very technical but also gives sensible, commercial and clear advice’

‘Mark Dunster is a living legend. His subtle charm, gentle manner and intellectual superiority always seems to get results. If you want to score goals, you get Ronaldo. If you want to win cases, you get Mark Dunster.’

‘Tim Corfield offers an enviable blend of smooth advocacy skills, incisive reasoning and a willingness to roll his sleeves up and get the job done.’

‘Elaine Gray is a commanding presence – no one has impressed me more with her ability to manage heavyweight litigation.’

Key clients

Alvarez & Marsal (Europe) LLP

Begbies Traynor

EY

GFSC

Grant Thornton

Highland Capital Management

KPMG

KRys Global

Melford Capital

PwC

RBC

SG Kleinwort

Stobart Group

Sure

Work highlights

  • Represent Alvarez & Marsal as joint liquidators of Joannou & Paraskevaides (Overseas) Limited.
  • Representing the Guernsey Financial Services Commission in judicial review claims brought against it alleging torts and violations of human rights law.
  • Representing Grant Thornton in the continuing Tchenguiz Discretionary Trust litigation.

Collas Crill

Collas Crill's disputes practice is praised for the 'energy and focus' it displays across a broad range of Guernsey litigation. Gareth Bell continues to be involved in significant fund disputes such as the Carlyle and Highland CLO cases. Practice head Christian Hay and Ben Havard's mandates have included heavyweight trust litigation, while David O’Hanlon's work also includes trusts but also covers some civil fraud and construction disputes. Michael Adkins heads the firm's contentious regulatory practice and also handles insolvency work among other matters with key local issues. James Tee is a 'first-class' of counsel (recently promoted from senior associate) in the insolvency area, and senior associate David Jeffery offers a different string to the firm's bow with a niche in personal injury and clinical negligence.

Practice head(s):

Christian Hay

Testimonials

‘Great team, always available to discuss matters and have some great ideas and techniques to mitigate difficult situations.’

‘The team are extremely responsive and unflappable. Their advice is to the point and highly commercial. They have a depth of knowledge unrivalled in the jurisdiction.’

‘Collas Crill’s litigation team are great all rounders with a particularly strong specialism in contentious trusts matters.’

‘Christian Hay is an extremely accomplished advocate who puts forward in the very strongest terms the best position for his clients.’

‘Ben Havard exudes confidence and will be a future superstar.’

‘Gareth Bell is knowledgeable with the ability to strategically think about the situation and how to deal with complicated and difficult events and give appropriate advice and how to deal with difficult people.’

Key clients

Robbins Russell LLP  – Carlyle

Highland CLO Funding Limited

Sark Electricity Limited (SEL)

Louvre Trustees – Popat

Guernsey Housing Association

Grant Thornton

Sequent

Geneva Trust Company

Artemis Trustees

Work highlights

  • Defending the non-executive directors of Carlyle Capital Corporation in claims for alleged breaches of fiduciary duty.
  • Acting for Highland CLO in claims against a previous principal of the fund’s investment manager who is alleged to have breached his various fiduciary duties.
  • Advising the liquidators on the highly contentious sale process of a company’s Georgian mining assets.

Mourant

Mourant's practice fields 'heavy hitters at the top with strong support coming through the ranks' across the full spectrum of litigation. Practice head Abel Lyall handles complex corporate, trust and fund disputes, many of which involve allegations of fraud, while the 'pre-eminent' Jeremy Wessels, handles a number of trust cases including representing the previous trustees in the Tchenguiz litigation. Christopher Edwards is active in large trust cases too, as well as cross-border asset tracing matters, and the 'outstanding' Gordon Dawes handles a diverse range of instructions spanning from regulatory investigations and insurance-backed matters through to trust disputes. Chantal Barrett is a notable counsel in the team. Jessica Roland, formerly the firm's managing partner, is now the Deputy Bailiff of Guernsey (the island's number two full-time judge), and Robert Shepherd is now a consultant at the firm.

Practice head(s):

Abel Lyall

Testimonials

‘Excellent technical knowledge and good engagement in the run up to deals and launches. Broad team with excellent capabilities. Wealth of knowledge and skills at senior levels.’

‘The Guernsey team must be the strongest in the Island, and arguably in the Offshore arena – heavy hitters at the top with strong support coming through the ranks.’

‘Pragmatic, calm under pressure and re-assuring to their clients. In addition, a key strength is their ability to turn around work promptly and always making themselves available for their clients.’

‘Jeremy Wessels is pre-eminent in his grasp of wider cross jurisdictional issues.’

‘Gordon Dawes has a penetrating brain that is robust and at the same time flexible.’

‘Abel Lyall is incredibly re-assuring and calm under pressure. He provides valuable advice in a timely manner and has the ability to assist in making complex transactions understandable by breaking down the task.’

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

Sir David Barclay

Trident Trust

Sequent Guernsey Limited

Insurance Corporation of the Channel Islands

Trust Corporation

Apex

Work highlights

  • Acting on behalf of Carlyle Capital Corporation Limited and its liquidators in relation to a circa $2bn claim against its directors. The matter is due to go to appeal in the Privy Council later in 2020.
  • Acted for the Trustees of the St Johns Ambulance Pension Scheme in relation to the restructuring of the employee pension schemes and defending various claims by members against the trustees.
  • Acting for Stirling Mortimer Global Property Fund in relation to the insolvency of this large investment fund following a substantial fraud against it.

Ogier

The 'excellent' Mathew Newman and Simon Davies are key names in an Ogier practice which handles work spanning the traditional offshore space, including complex company litigation and trusts cases, and investment fund disputes including a role for the corporate entities in CarlyleBryan De Verneuil-Smith is a 2020 partner promotion and counsel Alex Horsbrugh-Porter is notable for his experience as an insolvency practitioner and in the Cayman Islands, and Sam Dingle and Sandie Lyne are key managing associates, as is Alice Bricogne (who is also a door tenant of 2 Bedford Row), whose work includes contentious regulatory matters.

Practice head(s):

Mathew Newman

Testimonials

‘Ogier has a superb dispute resolution team which is always involved in the biggest cases.  Their trust litigation offering is second to none and they have a group of exceptionally talented individuals.  A pleasure to work with.’

‘Ogier has an incredible breadth of experience across disciplines with top people in every substantive area. They excel in client service and responsiveness.’

‘The team has a wide range of expertise and an excellent knowledge of Guernsey law, as would be expected, but also a good working knowledge of English law.’

‘Mathew Newman has a strong understanding of the trust world. Very commercial and good at explaining things in a layman’s manner.’

‘Simon Davies is extremely knowledgeable and well-versed in matters of Guernsey and English law. He brings a wealth of experience in dispute resolution both domestically and internationally. That experience gives him credibility in the courtroom and he is clearly trusted by the judges in Guernsey. He is extremely well-prepared for hearings and is polished and articulate in his presentations and cross-examinations.’

‘Bryan De Verneuil-Smith is both attentive to detail and capable of seeing the big picture. He is an excellent young advocate who no doubt will contribute to the growth of the firm.’

Key clients

Deloitte LLP

BDO LLP

HSBC / Grant Thorton

Four Seasons Healthcare Group / Alvarez & Marsal

Nuvei Cporporation

MND Georgia

The Public Trustee of the Bailiwick of Guernsey

Carlyle Investment Management LLC

Work highlights

  • Advising Deloitte as administrators of the Providence Investment Funds on bringing a claim against PwC for negligent audits, which allegedly failed to identify the fact the fund was run as a Ponzi scheme.
  • Advising BDO as joint administrators of BSG Resources, a company connected to Beny Steinmetz, in disputes with George Soros and Brazilian miner Vale.
  • Advising Four Seasons Healthcare Group on putting its Guernsey holding company into administration.

WALKERS

At WALKERS, Sarah Brehaut alongside her role as bâtonnier of the Guernsey Bar handles heavyweight cases like the Rusnano case, as well as a number of challenging insolvency matters and some regulatory investigations. Alison Ozanne handles a diverse range of manners spanning from asset tracing, trust disputes and issues where Guernsey law diverts from English law. A third partner was added to the team in January 2020 with the recruitment of Adam Cole from Ferbrache & Farrell LLPHelena Lavin is a key senior associate, and associate Laurent Thibeault was called to the Guernsey Bar in December 2019.

Practice head(s):

Alison Ozanne

Testimonials

‘All the lawyers with whom I have worked are highly competent and have a unique devotion to their clients’ cases without losing their objective analysis of the legal issues. I have worked with their teams in the Channel Islands, London, BVI and Grand Cayman. It is an exceptional firm for the unfailing excellence of all their lawyers with whom I have worked.’

‘The team has expanded in the last two years from being a minor player in Guernsey to a substantial offering covering numerous areas within dispute resolution. My practice has only recently engaged the dispute resolution team and will do so again.’

‘Alison Ozanne is an exceptional lawyer. Qualified in both English and French law and has an ability to cut through the detail and analyse the real problem. I have found her to be a superb advocate in mediations and always achieves a result which has balanced the expectations of her clients against the realities of their legal position.’

‘Sarah Brehaut is a highly impressive advocate. Always fully committed to her client’s case but never losing the ability to identify the weaknesses as well as the strengths which makes her a formidable mediation advocate.’

Key clients

Grant Thornton

Rothschild Trust (Guernsey) Limited

Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners

Rusnano Group

Leonard Curtis

Alnashir Popat

KRyS Global

Healthcare Group Guernsey

Work highlights

  • Representing Fonds Rusnano Capital SA up to and including a two week trial before the Royal Court of Guernsey regarding the dissolution of a limited partnership.
  • Advising Alnashir Popat in respect of a multi-jurisdictional trust dispute with proceedings also in Gibraltar and Kenya concerning the whereabouts of considerable Offshore family wealth.
  • Acting for the successful beneficiary in Rusnano Capital v Molard International both at first instance and on appeal regarding the statutory Saunders v Vautier regime in Guernsey.

Appleby

Appleby covers matters ranging from heavyweight trust litigation, M&A and other commercial disputes, insolvency cases, and - in a growing area for the firm - high-stakes regulatory investigations, in which it has represented senior employees of respected financial services businesses. Anthony Williams heads the team, which also includes Richard Field, who has a particular strength in data protection. Both partners have been involved for Geneva Trust Company (formerly known as Rawlinson & Hunter) in the Tchenguiz saga. Many mandates also cross-over with the most serious employment matters, including issues of team hires and restrictive covenants. Andrew Murphy, who has insolvency expertise, is a key senior associate.

Practice head(s):

Anthony Williams

Other key lawyers:

Richard Field; Andrew Murphy

Testimonials

‘The team has a diversity of experiences and can offer a range of perspectives and is willing to think out of the box.’

‘Anthony Williams is excellent in conference with clients and external counsel and also has a good presence in a courtroom.’

‘Richard Field is the go-to lawyer for data protection matters.’

Key clients

Aurigny

Falcon Media House

GBGI Limited

Hazel Liang

Intertrust Group

Northern Trust

Pavel Erochkine

Work highlights

  • Representing the former managing director of The Rusnano Group in a dispute between him and his former employer over the ownership of a limited partnership.
  • Representing Geneva Trust Company in the Tchenguiz litigation, including representing the client at a 7 day trial on issues surrounding priorities on insolvency of a trust and the effect of assignments when debts are assigned to entities in their capacity as trustee.
  • Instructed in a case concerning a team move with issues of the enforcement of restrictive covenants, springboard injunctions, breach of fiduciary duty by directors, and the tort of conspiracy to injure, as well as data protection.

Bedell Cristin

As part of Bedell Cristin's wide-ranging disputes practice, Alasdair Davidson's recent cases have included a number of complex trusts cases, including ones with novel legal issues and with sensitive client issues, as well as handling professional negligence cases (including ones involving other law firms), while Jon Barclay's recent mandates have included insolvencies, asset recovery, GFSC regulatory enforcement and public procurement. Key senior associate Jasmin Davies was called to the Guernsey Bar in September 2019.

Practice head(s):

Alasdair Davidson

Other key lawyers:

Jon Barclay; Jasmin Davies

Testimonials

Bedells are very experienced litigators in these jurisdictions. They have a good understanding of the intricacies of the workings and judicial personalities in the Guernsey and Jersey courts and take a practical approach to litigating disputes.

Bedell Cristin are a strong player in a competitive Guernsey market.

Alasdair Davidson  is a robust, no nonsense litigator who thinks both about the legal merits of arguments and about how those arguments will, in reality, play with the court. He gives clear advice on matters of law and procedure.

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

Work highlights

  • Representing a beneficiary in a construction determination of a discretionary trust which will retain and enhance the value of the client’s interest by approximately 50%.
  • Acting for Pilatus PTC as trustee in claim against RBC where the Court is having to consider if the rule against recovery for reflective loss applies in Guernsey.
  • Alasdair Davidson is retained as Special Counsel to the trustee of the Madoff Estate.

AFR Advocates

AFR Advocates has a track record of working with well-respected firms and counsel in London, as well as handling complex work purely based on-island. Paul Richardson handles cases spanning from representation of high-net-worth individuals in agenda-setting trust cases through to complex fund disputes and asset tracing matters. Mark Ferbrache  is well-connected for insurance-backed work.

Ferbrache & Farrell LLP

At Ferbrache & Farrell LLP, Martin Jones' caseload includes trust litigation (some matters involving representation of minor and unborn beneficiaries), as well as a number of matters involving allegations of financial misconduct such as GFSC investigations and civil litigation exploring similar themes. In particular, the firm is popular for Guernsey referral work from Offshore firms without a presence in St. Peter Port. Among more junior members of the team, Alison Antill is a notable, English-qualified, associate and family law specialist associate Sarah Millar joined from the Law Officers' Department in January 2020, followed by counsel Robert Breckon who joined from AFR Advocates the following month. At the more senior end, consultant Peter Ferbrache is involved in some matters.

Practice head(s):

Martin Jones

Testimonials

‘Ferbrache & Farrell has a first-class boutique litigation practice – with particular strength and expertise in trusts disputes. They offer a very personal and hands-on service, and are very approachable and non-stuffy.’

‘An excellent smaller firm in Guernsey who can hold their own with the big boys.’

‘Peter Ferbrache deserves his reputation as a wise sage of the Guernsey Bar. Tenacious and commercial, firm but fair. I would rather have him in my corner than against me, I can tell you that.’

‘Martin Jones is a thorough professional. A complete finisher in every regard with a caring and supportive persona. A real gentleman.’