At Harneys‘ London office, a strong and recognised British Virgin Islands practice is paired up with a full-spectrum Cayman Island offering. The ‘knowledgeable, commercial and technically astute‘ team is well known for its strong litigation capabilities, as highlighted by the much-publicised $9.2bn claim handled for Duff & Phelps as joint official liquidators of SIFCO5, a case which was led by William Peake. He also regularly defends banks and investment vehicles and their liquidators, shareholders, directors and associated individuals. Senior associate Matthew Howson heads up the private wealth practice, while Russell Willings is London office head of the transactional group and joint global head of banking and corporate, his co-head being Indira Birkwood. Phillip Kite, who acts as managing partner and global head of litigation and restructuring, handles high-profile petitions and cross-claims for breach of directors’ duties and unfair prejudice, as well as discovery claims, among others.
Offshore firms in London in London
Phillip Kite; Russell Willings
Other key lawyers:
Matthew Howson; Indira Birkwood; William Peake
‘Harneys’ policy of having London-based offshore litigators makes interaction between European-based clients and the litigation team far more convenient and less time-zone-dependent.’
‘William Peake is clearly committed to excellence in client service. He is extremely responsive while also ensuring that the advice that he and his team give is carefully considered and commercial, as well as being legally sound.’
‘One of the earliest to recognise the importance of providing a global service for offshore clients, Harneys has continued to lead the way with a seamless 24/7 offering, its London office providing a pivotal role for its Far East clients litigating in the BVI and Cayman.’
‘Phillip Kite is the go-to lawyer for BVI litigation: his unrivalled knowledge and experience, garnered over 20 years, puts him one step ahead of the opposition.’
‘Responsive, user friendly and dedicated. As far as I’m concerned there aren’t any other lawyers of note in the BVI when compared to the Harneys team.’
‘Indira Birkwood is responsive, always available and fabulously capable. She is always willing to go the extra mile to ensure transactions are closed within instructing counsel’s timescales.’
‘Excellent team. Proactive, helpful, knowledgeable, commercial, and technically astute. Good use of tech and diverse. The standout partner is William Peake, who I cannot fault. Strategically astute, outstanding people skills, allied to a fabulous intellect. I always look forward to working with him.’
‘Russell Willings is a top-drawer lawyers and brings on-shore quality to off-shore matters. He is quick, commercial, goal-oriented and provides an excellent client service.’
Duff & Phelp
Axiom Legal Financing Fund
Vieco 10 Limited
ISDA, FIA, ICMA, ISLA and SIFMA.
Citigroup Global Markets Inc.
UBS Investment Bank
Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Royal Bank of Scotland
Royal Bank of Canada
Standard Chartered Bank
- Advised Duff & Phelps, as the joint official liquidators of SIFCO5, one of the defendants, in a high-profile $9.2bn claim involving allegations of fraud arising from one of the largest corporate collapses of the financial crisis.
- Advising Virgin Group in relation to Virgin Atlantic’s £1.2bn solvent recapitalisation, providing BVI law advice in relation to the capitalisation of various entities in the group and advising on the distribution in specie of preference shares.
- Providing ongoing advice to ISDA, FIA, ICMA, ISLA and SIFMA in relation to close-out and netting opinions on standard derivatives, repo and securities lending documentation.
Maples Group‘s ‘fantastic‘ London team has strong Cayman Islands law capabilities and British Virgin Islands expertise, and also provides Irish and Jersey legal advice through dedicated desks. Heidi de Vries acts as managing partner. Harjit Kaur is the head of funds and investment management and mainly acts on fund launches. In her team, Robert Hughes was promoted to partner in January 2021. Head of finance Jonathan Caulton is known for his experience in structured and project finance, fund finance and capital markets transactions. Jack Marriott‘s corporate team is renowned for setting up Cayman special purpose acquisition companies, among other matters. Matthew Gilbert is head of the London-based BVI team and chairs the real estate finance group.
Heidi de Vries
Other key lawyers:
Harjit Kaur; Jonathan Caulton; Jack Marriott; Matthew Gilbert; Christian La-Roda Thomas; Ray Davern; Robert Hughes; Joanna Russell
‘They provide a high level of personal attention. The staff and partners are of such a high quality and the client always has a direct line to the lead counsel.’
”Really the go-to firm for BVI capability. Responsive, reasonable and engaging.’
‘Joanna Russell and Matt Gilbert are both excellent and really easy to work with.’
‘The ultimate go-to for overseas advice of all descriptions. If they don’t have expertise in a particular jurisdiction they will always have a helpful introduction. The office in London is really helpful from a time difference perspective and there is a real sense that they are people who know what they are doing on banking transactions and are always willing to be proactive in helping us solve problems for or with clients and to go the extra mile.’
‘Matt Gilbert always provides helpful, comprehensible and pragmatic advice. Likewise, Joanna Russell provides an outstanding service on transactions.’
‘A fantastic team that is always available and ready to assist. I know I can trust the team to get the job done, in the timescales set, and to work in partnership with us throughout the life of the deal.’
‘Jo Russell is technically excellent and expounds all the characteristics needed for a fantastic lawyer. As well as her aptitude, she is highly personable and someone I can trust and rely on. She is pragmatic and client focused.’
‘The team is very knowledgeable, experienced and flexible. Heidi de Vries impresses with her professionalism.’
10.5% Noteholder of the Seven Energy Group
Nordic Aviation Capital
Lifestyle International Holdings
Lydia Global Liquid Opportunities Fund Ltd
- Acted as Cayman Islands counsel to QNB Group, the first issuer from Qatar to issue a green bond, in line with its sustainability framework published in February 2020.
- Acted as British Virgin Islands legal counsel on the establishment of Lydia Global Liquid Opportunities Fund Ltd., a BVI business company which is an open-ended investment company under the BVI Business Companies Act, 2004 (as amended) and recognised as a private fund under the Securities and Investment Business Act, 2010 (as amended) of the British Virgin Islands.
- Acted as British Virgin Islands counsel to the 10.5% noteholder of the Seven Energy Group in relation to the 2019 Seven Energy debt restructuring.
Walkers‘s Cayman and BVI-focused team in London is ‘an invaluable resource‘, with solid capabilities in corporate and M&A, banking and finance, insolvency and dispute resolution matters. Its wide coverage spans from the Caribbean to Ireland and Africa, especially Nigeria and West Africa. The team mainly assists international UK, US and European financial institutions and private equity houses, as well as sovereign wealth funds, global corporations, capital markets participants and investment fund managers. Managing partner Jack Boldarin has longstanding offshore experience and is recognised as a leading Cayman and BVI law specialist. His team includes senior counsel and securitisation specialist Catherine Overton, as well as Mark Galazzi, who leads the asset finance team. John O’Driscoll is in charge of a growing insolvency and dispute resolution practice, which includes the experienced Fraser Hern. In late 2020, the team was bolstered by the arrivals of Tatziana Paraguacuto and Matthew Bloomfield from Maples Group.
Other key lawyers:
Catherine Overton; Mark Galazzi; John O’Driscoll; Neil McDonald; Hughie Wong; Fraser Hern; Sara Hall; Tatziana Paraguacuto; Matthew Bloomfield; Patrick Ormond
‘A very user-friendly and responsive team that is keen to help. Catherine Overton is great to work with.’
‘They have top-to-bottom excellence and have really invested in building a team that delivers at all stages of a matter. Their style of communication is straight up and commercial and that makes them an invaluable resource for problem solving.’
‘Fraser Hern brings deep experience and skill to the table and is an excellent deal broker.’
‘The go-to team for the jurisdiction. They are hardworking and have exemplary know-how. John O’Driscoll is a star and marries technical knowledge with strategic excellence.’
‘Communication between the London-based team and the BVI team is excellent. Counsels’ and senior counsels’ empowerment and autonomy are significant, which we have appreciated a lot as a client.’
‘Highly professional but still very pragmatic legal advice. High level of responsiveness. Solution-oriented.’
‘The team is excellent, on point and value for money. It covers the whole of the offshore spectrum.’
‘Mark Galazzi gets things done.’
Standard Chartered Bank
- Acted on the $450m financing related to the acquisition by TNOG Oil and Gas of a stake in OML-17 in Nigeria.
- Advised Trident Energy on its $1bn acquisition of the Pampo and Enchova oil fields, offshore Brazil, from Petrobras S.A.
Bedell Cristin's 'joined up, efficient and extremely knowledgeable' London office is particularly well known for its exclusive focus on Jersey law transactional matters. Investment funds matters, corporate and finance work, and debt and equity listings are among the team's main areas of activity. The team is jointly led by Bruce Scott, who recently advised on Atlantic Leaf's £152m acquisition by South Downs Investment LP, and Tom Davies, who leads the London corporate real estate offering, specialising in club deals, borrower side financings and joint ventures. Senior associate Laura Hendrick advises clients on Jersey-related corporate, finance and investment funds matters. Managing associate Sukhvinder Chana assists on Guernsey law matters.
Bruce Scott; Tom Davies
Other key lawyers:
Sukhvinder Chana; Laura Hendrick
‘Very closely knit team with tons of synergy.’
‘Bruce Scott is highly knowledgable and approachable. Tom Davies is incredibly energetic in his approach to work.’
‘Bruce Scott is a pleasure deal with. Knowledgeable, commercial, available and user-friendly. The other team members I’ve encountered have also done a good job.’
‘Bruce Scott and his team are tried and trusted advisers for our asset-backed securitisation transactions in Jersey. Working with them is straightforward and the entire team is 100% reliable.’
‘The team work in collaboration with the client. Tom Davies really understands the asset class and what we need from a lawyer.’
‘The team is joined up, efficient and extremely knowledgeable. As well as being Jersey law experts, they also offer commercial and pragmatic solutions to offshore funds-related structuring questions.’
‘Tom Davies is an outstanding business winner, a supremely gifted lawyer and an engaging personality who clients warm to and admire. Bruce Scott’s reputation in the market is also superb.’
‘Very strong on listing UK REITs on TISE. Bruce Scott is an outstanding adviser – very knowledgeable and user-friendly.’
AXA Real Estate
Barrick Gold Corporation
CIT Financial Services
Cindat Capital Management
Cromwell European REIT
Exeter Property Group
Global Student Accommodation
Gulf Islamic Investments
Harrison Street Real Estate Capital
iQ Student Accommodation
M&G Investment Management
Orchard Street Investment Advisers Limited
Oryx Real Estate
Permodalan Nasional Berhad
PGIM Real Estate
Secure Income REIT plc
SF Addison SA
Starz Mortgage Capital
The Scottish Salmon Company PLC
Urbanest Student Accommodation
Vitruvian Partners LLP
- Advised Atlantic Leaf on all Jersey law aspects of its £152m acquisition by South Downs.
- Advised AXA IM – Real Assets, a global leader in real asset investments, on its acquisition of Dolphin Square in Pimlico, Central London, from Westbrook Partners.
- Advised iQ Student Accommodation (and Blackstone, as owner) in relation to a large listing on The International Stock Exchange, in order to facilitate the group’s conversion to a UK REIT.
Carey Olsen LLP has a growing London-based practice led by Jasmine Amaria and Richard Brown. The corporate Caribbean section in particular has expanded greatly since the 2019 arrival of Amaria, who brought extensive Virgin Islands and Cayman law experience to the team, especially in relation to corporate, finance and funds matters. Recently, her team has been busy with a number of contentious matters relating to restructurings, real estate deals, negotiations and de-investments. ‘Superb litigator‘ Brown is in charge of the ‘top-notch‘ Virgin Islands litigation practice, and his caseload focuses on fraud-related instructions. ‘Excellent’ counsel Sheba Raza, who has experience in Bermuda and BVI corporate and finance transactions, and senior associate Nina Clift, an offshore trusts specialist, are also noted. The office was recently boosted by the relocation of disputes and insolvency specialist Jan Golaszewski from the Cayman Islands.
Jasmine Amaria; Richard Brown
Other key lawyers:
Ben Morgan; James Mulholland; Simon Marks; Nina Clift; Sheba Raza; Jan Golaszewski
‘The team is staffed with lawyers with significant offshore and onshore private practice experience. They have the knowledge and depth of the larger offshore firms, combined with the client service levels and senior attention typically only achieved with smaller offices. They are responsive and hungry to build the practice, which translates into excellent service for clients.’
‘Sheba Raza has been an excellent hire for an ambitious team – she gives them credibility and a long list of contacts in London. Sheba is great at maintaining relationships outside the deal – she is a trusted counsel who is committed to the long term.’
‘The BVI litigation team in London is a top-notch group with the advantage of being in our time zone. Very responsive and pragmatic.’
‘Richard Brown is down to earth, pragmatic and extremely helpful.’
‘Sheba Raza is very responsive, capable and has great attention to detail. She is a pleasure to work with on challenging transactions.’
‘Richard Brown is a superb litigator, strategist and consummate professional. Calm, cool and collected but with excellent legal, technical and commercial skills. He is our first point of call for any Caribbean or Channel Island advice.’
‘You can feel that they work as a team very closely together and always respond to emails in a timely manner. Jasmine Amaria is always there and very responsive, almost round the clock. It is assuring that she will take care of the client’s matters closely.’
M7 Real Estate
Grant Thornton LLP
FRP Advisory LLP
DLA Piper LLP
- Advised M7 Real Estate on the acquisition of a £156.9m retail parks portfolio from RDI REIT, and on the £85m acquisition finance with respect to the portfolio assets.
- Acting for the two claimants in a dispute following the sale by the claimants of their interest in a major energy consortium to the defendants.
- Advised Avianca Holdings on the Bermudan aspects of its $2bn debtor-in-possession financing to support its go-forward operating plan to emerge from Chapter 11 protection.
Forbes Hare, which is active in the Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands and Asia, also offers offshore advice through its 'agile and responsive' London office, headed up by the 'very engaging and technically excellent' Karen Gilbert, who handles a banking and corporate workload. The team also includes strong litigators, among them Robert Nader, who splits his time between London and the Virgin Islands, and William Hare, who specialises in Caribbean cases. They both handle corporate insolvency, commercial and trusts litigation. Additionally, the group has significant asset finance and property finance expertise, as well as capabilities in listings and funds matters. It also handles work in the St Kitts, Nevis and Anguilla jurisdictions.
Other key lawyers:
Robert Nader; William Hare
‘Very helpful and proactive team, delivering work in a timely and efficient manner.’
‘Karen Gilbert is easy to reach regardless of the time and always proposes pragmatic solutions to problems encountered.’
‘Excellent local knowledge, competence and capability in niche territories. Delivery focused to meet challenging clients’ needs.’
‘Quick to action, user-friendly, fair billing.’
‘Karen Gilbert is very engaging and technically excellent.’
‘The team work really hard to provide a seamless service, and are proactive and customer focused.’
‘Karen Gilbert is one of the best offshore lawyers one can work with. It genuinely feels like she is part of the home team. She is accessible, gives clear advice and always hits deadlines.’
‘They are very agile and responsive and understand their role in the transaction. They go the extra mile.’
Veloqx Pte Ltd
Portage Biotech Inc.
Ernst & Young
Scienjoy Holding Corporation
Wealthbridge Acquisition Limited
Goldenbridge Acquisition Limited
Chagala Group Limited
AO Alfa Bank
Mr Mitsuji Konoshita and APF Group Co Ltd
- Advising Ernst & Young as liquidators on the recovery strategy and the conduct of the liquidation of Northern and Western Insurance Company, as well as on the conduct of proceedings brought in England to recover damages from two firms for their roles in Northern and Western’s capitalisation with sham gold reserve notes.
- Acting on a $50m transaction for Woodstock, Inc. related to the document revisions and regulatory filing of Woodstock Capital Fund I LP and a second transaction relating to the establishment, regulatory filing and launch of Woodstock Capital Fund II LP.
- Acting as BVI counsel to Goldenbridge Acquisition Limited on its filing for a $50m IPO on NASDAQ.
Luxembourg firm Arendt & Medernach's London office is led by the 'responsive and commercial' Camille Bourke, who focuses on private equity and real estate matters and specialises in the formation of alternative investment funds and private equity transactions. The team advises exclusively on Luxembourg legal, tax and regulatory matters and mainly assists multinational companies, banks, insurance companies, and retail and private fund managers. Recently, the London group's workload has notably included a €400m debt exchange transaction and the €2.1bn financial restructuring of Swissport, among others.
‘Very personalised service and responsive to queries and matters. Camille Bourke is very responsive and commercial.’
‘Very well plugged in and works seamlessly with the Luxembourg office. Extremely good in the investment funds space.’
‘Camille Bourke is our go-to person – she is very knowledgeable and responsive.’
Charterhouse Capital Partners
Montagu Private Equity
- Acted as Luxembourg counsel to the committee of senior secured creditors of air cargo handling specialist Swissport on its comprehensive financial restructuring.
- Assisted Bain Capital with the sale of the majority of its equity in Atento S.A. to HPS Investment Partners, LLC, GIC and an investment fund affiliated with Farallon Capital Management, L.L.C. in exchange for notes held by the institutional investors.
- Assisted Global Logistic Partners with setting up GLP Europe Income Partners II, the company’s fourth Europe-focused investment vehicle and GLP’s first European fund structure that has been marketed under the AIFM passport across Europe.
Mourant's London office specialises in BVI and Cayman Islands banking and finance, commercial disputes, and corporate and M&A matters, as well as international trusts and investment funds. Following the departures of former practice heads Robert Duggan to an in-house role and Chinyin Johnston to Linklaters' Singapore office, the key contacts in the London office include consultant Tony Pursall, a BVI and Cayman Islands trusts and private client specialist. The London team benefits greatly from the support of Alexandra Woodcock and John Rochester, who are based in the Cayman Islands and Guernsey, respectively, and senior associate Marianne Wilson in the BVI.
Alexandra Woodcock; John Rochester
Other key lawyers:
Tony Pursall; Marianne Wilson
‘The fund finance team are excellent. Their knowledge and ability is top level.’
‘Marianne Wilson is excellent. She is always responsive and available, even at short notice. The level of her advice is of the highest calibre, even regarding an extremely complicated matter without much warning.’
‘Having an approachable and collaborative team providing offshore legal advice out of a London-based office makes our job as onshore counsel much easier. It is an added bonus when dealing with Cayman and BVI-related matters. Being able to be responsive to onshore counsel then makes the deal run smoother which only benefits the client.’
‘Working with Marianne Wilson on Cayman-related matters over the past few years has been great. The responsiveness of Marianne and the Mourant team is a real highlight. Chasing local counsel is something I never need to do with Mourant.’
Montagu Private Equity
- Advising on the acquisition of Goodbody stockbrokers on behalf of AIB to acquire one of its old businesses, which it was forced to sell after the financial crisis.
- Advised on the sale of Citihub Digital, a London and New York-based technology consulting firm for the financial services industry, to Synechron Inc.
- Advised on a reverse takeover of Premier Oil plc which will see Premier’s creditors paid $1.23bn in cash, and will fold one of the world’s oldest independent producers into a private equity-backed group.