Insolvency and corporate recovery in Northern Ireland

A&L Goodbody

A&L Goodbody fields a full-service offering with strong credentials in both contentious and non-contentious work. The firm is an established choice for the major Irish banks and is perceived as the go-to for the most complex and high-profile matters in the market. An example is its work for the administrators of the Wrights Group – manufacturers of the London ‘Boris Bus’. Department co-head Sam Corbett is leading on this insolvency. Co-head and managing partner Michael Neill is known for having acted on many of the most notable corporate failures in Northern Ireland in recent years, and primarily acts for insolvency practitioners, banks and funds. The team also benefits from the work of senior associate Ross Kane and associate Tanya Surgeon.

Practice head(s):

Sam Corbett; Michael Neill

Other key lawyers:

Ross Kane; Áine Hughes; Tanya Surgeon

Testimonials

‘Good partnership approach – really feel like the A&L’s are part of the wider team, and on your side in getting the documentation across the line – helped by their strong experience working on the banking side of transactions.’

‘A uniquely commercial-thinking restructuring and insolvency team, which is undoubtedly the market leader in Northern Ireland. Capable of handling the largest and most complex engagements.’

‘Sam Corbett is exceptional and embodies all a client could wish for in a restructuring and insolvency lawyer.’

‘The team is at the top of its game in respect of restructuring and insolvency advice. The go-to firm in Northern Ireland.’

‘Availability & accessibility of staff at all levels from partner level down.’

‘Sam Corbett and his team are professional, proactive and diligent in the insolvency and restructuring cases they have been engaged to act on.’

‘Full-service capability with best in class lawyers.’

‘The A&L insolvency and corporate recovery team is well regarded within the market, offering excellent practical and commercial advice advice on insolvency cases.’

Key clients

Danske Bank

Bank of Ireland

Deloitte

ASM

Ernst and Young (EY)

HNH Group

Kroll (formerly Duff and Phelps)

Interpath

Ulster Bank

Grant Thornton

Work highlights

  • Acting for the Administrators of Wrights Group/Wrightbus Ltd.
  • Acting for the Administrators of the George Best Hotel.
  • Acting for Danske Bank as lender and EY as receivers of the Richmond Shopping Centre.

Arthur Cox Belfast

Arthur Cox Belfast is a leading insolvency practice in the jurisdiction, with experience acting across all industry sectors. The team works for insolvency practitioners, distressed businesses, and lenders, and has retained a strong portfolio despite the insolvency moratorium. Stuart Mansfield leads the department and focuses on complex lender and creditor driven restructurings and insolvencies. Mansfield also has significant experience in structured finance transactions, working across multiple jurisdictions. Colm McElroy is a key figure in the department, with specialisms including the management of non-performing loan portfolios. Additionally he deals with all aspects of corporate reorganisation and insolvency law.

Practice head(s):

Stuart Mansfield

Other key lawyers:

Colm McElroy

Testimonials

‘Strong law firm focused on the Irish market. Legal advice you can always trust and know your legal position is fully protected.’

‘Colm McElroy deserves particular mention; commercial lawyer with extensive experience, and go-to lawyer for insolvency, corporate recovery, banking and finance.’

Key clients

EY

KPMG and Arthur Boyd & Co

Seaconview DAC and Horwood Neil Holmes

PwC

Moorfields

Deloitte

Gerard Gildernew & Co

Starwood Property Trust, Inc

Bank of Ireland

Work highlights

  • Advised Starwood in respect of restructuring facilities in relation to a major NI property development and investment group.
  • Advised Moorfields as administrators of Abbeytown Associates Limited on a number of contentious matters.
  • Advised Bank of Ireland in relation to a debt restructuring involving a major NI manufacturing group.

Carson McDowell

Carson McDowell‘s ‘outstanding’ practice covers contentious and non-contentious insolvencies, restructurings, and asset recoveries. The team acts for many of Northern Ireland’s leading commercial landlords, shaping strategies on property portfolios worth hundreds of millions. Well-regarded co-heads Darren Toombs and Sinead McGrath are experienced working for significant multinationals. Toombs is a regular attendee at the Bankruptcy Master’s Court and additionally covers debt recovery and banking litigation, while McGrath advises banks, borrowers, and financial institutions on all aspects of solvent and insolvent restructuring. Damian McElholm joined in January 2022 from Eversheds Sutherland, adding his experience in insolvency pieces and enforcement actions. Associate Shane McVeigh is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Darren Toombs; Sinead McGrath

Other key lawyers:

Damian McElholm; Shane McVeigh

Testimonials

‘The quality of the personnel is outstanding, and clearly some of the best people in the market.’

‘Darren Toombs: highly commercial and tactically astute. Richard Grey: exceptional experience and black letter legal knowledge. Declan Magee: a market leader.’

‘A strong and experienced team.’

‘Darren Toombs is a very efficient and well-regarded partner in insolvency.’

‘The team at Carson McDowell has been very helpful in guiding me, and ensured that we work empathetically with individuals, whilst ensuring that all stakeholders requirements are met.’

‘I work with Shane McVeigh. I rate his understanding of the situation and ability to respond as I want in a timely manner. Good to work collaboratively with.’

Key clients

RSM Belfast

Grant Thornton Belfast

Keenan Corporate Finance Limited

BDO Belfast

Even Keel Financial Solutions Limited

Begbies Traynor Belfast

Belfast Harbour Commissioners

Work highlights

  • Advised the owners of a major Belfast Office Block on issues arising from the insolvency of the business behind Belfast’s now infamous George Best city centre hotel.
  • Advising Belfast Harbour Commissioners on issues with tenants and occupiers within the Harbour Estate.
  • Advising a major local maritime construction business in relation to Insolvency and Restructuring matters, resulting in the survival of an important trading business, essential to the local economy.

Cleaver Fulton Rankin

Cleaver Fulton Rankin‘s ‘excellent’ team advise on a broad range of matters, including corporate and financial restructuring, security reviews, distressed loan transactions, bankruptcies and voluntary arrangements. The department offers multidisciplinary service and has an aptitude for both contentious and non-contentious insolvencies. Team leader Jeanette Donohoe is an insolvency specialist experienced in advising banks, creditors, financial institutions and insolvency practitioners. Stephen Cross is also active in the department, and advises on the enforceability of security and on the realisation of assets. Associates Maria McNally and Rachel Kelly are other key team members.

Practice head(s):

Jeanette Donohoe

Other key lawyers:

Stephen Cross; Maria McNally; Rachel Kelly

Testimonials

‘CFR is a very approachable team. They hold a wealth of knowledge and have provided expert advise on various issues.’

‘They take time to ensure they provide the best service and are dependable when working through a case.’

‘I have used the insolvency team for general advice and also on property matters. Both have been excellent.’

‘They have a very strong insolvency team, with all members within it being highly knowledgeable on the matter. They are proactive in getting matters sorted and are always efficient in doing so.’

‘Maria McNally is a stand-out member of the team. Her knowledge on insolvency is second to none, and I can always rely on her to help with any matter brought to her.’

Key clients

AIB Group (UK) Plc

Kroll (formerly Duff & Phelps LLP)

Crawfords Accountants

Baker Tilly Mooney Moore

McCambridge Duffy LLP

HSBC Bank Plc

HCA Business Recovery Limited

Danske Bank

Begbies Traynor

BDO Northern Ireland

FRP Advisory

Keenan CF

Department for Economy Northern Ireland

Triodos Bank UK Limited

Ipsum Capital

HNH Group

SFP Restructuring Limited

RSM UK Restructuring Advisory LLP

Cavanagh Kelly

Grant Thornton

Work highlights

  • Advising RSM UK Restructuring Advisory LLP and Triodos Bank UK Limited on the appointment of Fixed Charge Receivers over a substantial trading commercial farm.
  • Advising the Department for Economy on the scheme of arrangement made in respect of the Presbyterian Mutual Society pursuant to the Presbyterian Mutual Society (Financial Assistance to Members) Scheme Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011.
  • Advising Alex Kachani of RPG Business Recovery of Bangor Investments LLP which owned a large shopping centre in Bangor.

MKB Law

The ‘excellentMKB Law team has been building a strong reputation in Northern Ireland since moving into the region. The department covers voluntary arrangements, interim orders, administrations and liquidations, and is particularly active on personal insolvencies. David McAlinden has led the department since merging his previous practice with the firm in 2016 and has over 20 years’ experience in insolvency, debt and commercial litigation. McAlinden works closely with associate Ruairi Maguire, who specialises in debt recovery litigation.

Practice head(s):

David McAlinden

Other key lawyers:

Gordon McElroy; Ruari Maguire

Testimonials

‘The practice is very client-focused and goes the extra mile to achieve a satisfactory result for its clients.’

‘I have worked with David McAlinden and have been impressed with both his attention to detail, and his ability to grasp the key components of any case.’

‘David and the team provide pragmatic and timely advice across the portfolio of cases. Their speed to execution is definitely a strength, as is their close management of cases.’

‘The record of results achieved by the team is very strong, with pragmatic resolutions always pursued.’

‘Always deal with a partner, no matter the engagement – the partner who leads the department always links in.’

‘The team over at MKB Law is extremely professional and provides an excellent service.’

‘This firm is unique in my opinion, due to the regular personal contact.’

Key clients

PJG Recovery

Keenan CF

Bell & Company

Work highlights

  • Represented an insolvency practitioner in relation to a multimillion pound case where the bank sought to challenge the admission of proofs of debt in a debtor’s individual voluntary arrangement.
  • Represented the client in a multimillion pound case involving a challenge by a bank in relation to an insolvency matter involving a statement of affairs.
  • Represented the client in a multimillion pound case involving a vulture fund seeking damages by way of insolvency action.

TLT

TLT fields a team with ‘high-quality skills in the field and a wealth of knowledge on insolvency matters’. During the period of suspended moratoriums, the firm has been increasingly active on non-court insolvency processes, working across bankruptcies, liquidations, and administrations. The team is led by Jason Byrne, who has a wealth of experience on all aspects of personal and corporate insolvency. Byrne is regularly active before the Bankruptcy Master and Chancery Judge, as well as the County Court and High Court judges. Legal director Caitriona Morgan, who is described as ‘a pleasure to work with’, is building strong relationships with many insolvency practitioner clients.

Practice head(s):

Jason Byrne

Other key lawyers:

Caitriona Morgan; Brendan Logue

Testimonials

‘Competent and well organised/structured firm.’

‘Jason Byrne; Caitriona Morgan and Brendan Logue – quality of knowledge, communications and availability/efficiency of responses and advice/assistance.’

‘You can rely on obtaining the best advice from this firm.’

‘Not only does Caitriona Morgan hold a depth of knowledge on the legislation, but she applies her wider understanding of the court systems and the nuances of other parties involved.’

‘The team based in Belfast is very strong, and made up of people with high-quality skills in the field and a wealth of knowledge on insolvency matters. The entire team is very friendly and easy to work with.’

‘Caitriona Morgan is a very strong member of the team. The service provided by her is excellent and she has strong knowledge on insolvency matters. She is very friendly and a pleasure to work with.’

Work highlights

  • Advised JMC Mechanical & Construction Ltd on its proposed administration.
  • Advised a trustee in bankruptcy in respect of overturning numerous pre-bankruptcy transactions to recover assets valued at approximately £2m.
  • Advised a Liquidator of a former property development Company in relation to potential recovery of assets valued at over £1m.

Davidson McDonnell Solicitors

Davidson McDonnell Solicitors‘ department was established in 2019 and is already seen as a ‘very strong insolvency team that provides a high quality of service’. The practice covers corporate and personal insolvency and is particularly active advising office holders on their respective responsibilities and duties. Bank of Ireland is a new client for the firm, reflecting a growing recognition in the market. Legal director Lindsey Harten leads the team.

Practice head(s):

Lindsey Harten

Other key lawyers:

Sally Flaherty

Testimonials

‘Accessibility to staff at all levels, level of engagement and quality second to none and knowledge of the industry exceptional.’

‘They have a very strong insolvency team that provides a high quality of service. The team are knowledgeable in their field and easy to work with.’

‘Lindsey Harten is a very strong member of the team. The quality of her work is outstanding and she always provides excellent advice on matters brought to her.’

‘Strong technical knowledge. Good attention to detail. Excellent commercial awareness. Good use of resourcing depending on the nature of the matter. Very good transparency provided in relation to time costs and billing.’

‘Lindsey has provided me with excellent advice and has updated me frequently throughout the life of each individual case. Lindsey is also highly proactive and efficient in dealing with situations as they arise.’

‘Very knowledgeable team with excellent client focus. Will helpfully deal with all issues in a timely manner.’

‘It is always a pleasure to work with Lindsey Harten. Lindsey has a clear passion for both client satisfaction and the niche area of insolvency.’

Key clients

BDO

KPMG

HNH Partners Limited

Keenan Corporate Finance Limited

Cavanagh Kelly

ASM (N) Limited

Lecale Corporate Finance & Restructuring Limited

Gildernew & Co Limited

Bank of Ireland (UK) Plc

FRP Advisory Trading Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising multiple insolvency practitioners on a number of high-value and complex claims involving transactions at an undervalue and preference payments.
  • Advising joint liquidators on a potential wrongful trading action against the directors of the company in liquidation.
  • Advising a trustee in bankruptcy in relation to the successful recovery of substantial payments made by the bankrupt to a creditor after the date of his bankruptcy petition.

Elliott Duffy Garrett

Elliott Duffy Garrett‘s multidisciplinary team assist a range of corporate, private and public clients with the full spectrum of insolvencies. Co-head Christopher Duffy has more than twenty years’ experience in contentious insolvencies, with a record of representing trustees in High Court actions and mediations. Fellow co-head Kevin McVeigh is known for non-contentious corporate restructurings and insolvencies. Michael Wilson, a qualified Licensed Insolvency Practitioner and a former managing partner of the firm, acts as a consultant in the department.

Practice head(s):

Christopher Duffy; Kevin McVeigh

Other key lawyers:

Michael Wilson; Leo Brown; Ian McFarland; Cathy Murphy

Testimonials

‘Christopher Duffy leads a strong team.’

‘Christopher Duffy is a stand-out lawyer in insolvency-related matters.’

‘They have demonstrable expertise in securing best outcomes, for which they are highly regarded in the local jurisdiction, and in cross-jurisdictional matters.’

‘Christopher Duffy is a key figure in insolvency practice in this jurisdiction. His knowledge of the relevant law is compendious, and his considerable experience always ensures that he achieves best results for his clients.’

Key clients

Northern Bank Limited

Keenan Corporate Finance

BDO Belfast

HNH Group

Ennis Property Finance DAC

Feniton Property Finance DAC

KPMG

McKeague Morgan

Premium Credit Limited

Work highlights

    Mills Selig

    Mills Selig acts on both corporate and personal insolvencies and is regarded as ‘practical and pragmatic‘. Richard Craig has led the team since 2020 and has experience appearing before the High Court in insolvency proceedings. Senior partner John Kearns  has more than 25 years’ experience and a client list which includes numerous domestic businesses, banks, and high-net-worth individuals.

    Practice head(s):

    Richard Craig

    Other key lawyers:

    John Kearns

    Testimonials

    ‘The team led by Richard Craig provides legal advice alongside practical and pragmatic solutions to complex matters. My team can access simple advice at the touch of a button or through a call.’

    ‘Insolvency and corporate recovery can stir up emotive reactions, and Richard Craig’s non-confrontational manner enables solutions to be reached which are fair and balanced.’

    Key clients

    PKF-FPM Accountants

    Gildernew & Co Accountants

    Keenan CF

    Rachel Fowler Advisory

    Hannaway CA

    Cavanagh Kelly

    Grant Thornton

    Arthur Boyd & Co

    McKeague Morgan

    HNH Group

    Begbies Traynor

    Work highlights

      Tughans

      Tughans fields a cross-departmental team with a record of advising clients on high-value restructurings and the full range of corporate insolvencies. The department works across multiple jurisdictions, including the Republic of Ireland and England & Wales, and is retained by high-profile clients, including Deloitte, Bank of Ireland, and KPMG. Team leader Toby McMurray is widely recognised in the practice area and is active on the full range of corporate and personal insolvencies. Associates Ellen Forester and Nadine Brennan are other key team members, both experienced in debt recovery and enforcement.

      Practice head(s):

      Toby McMurray

      Other key lawyers:

      Ellen Forester; Nadine Brennan

      Testimonials

      ‘Toby McMurray is probably the best insolvency lawyer in Belfast. He is very commercial and clients find him approachable and realistic in his advice. He has a deep technical knowledge and experience and is able to deal with and address even the largest and most complex insolvency cases.’

      ‘This is the leading insolvency team in Belfast.’

      Key clients

      KPMG

      ISL Waste Management Limited

      McGrath (Architectural Metalwork) Ltd

      Bank of Ireland (UK) plc

      FRP Advisory

      Eldufgar Construction Limited

      Bank of Scotland Plc

      Diageo Northern Ireland Limited

      Deloitte

      BDO

      Work highlights

      • Advised KPMG on all aspects of the administrations of 4 Lagan Construction Group companies.
      • Advise ISL Waste Management on a restructuring option which ultimately led to placing the company into administration during the national lockdown and completing a pre-pack sale of the business to Riverridge recycling Limited.
      • Advising the former directors of McGrath (Architectural Metalwork) Ltd in the defence of an action brought by HMRC under article 180-181 of the Insolvency (Northern Ireland) Order.