Insolvency and corporate recovery in Northern Ireland

A&L Goodbody

A&L Goodbody has a strong reputation in handling high-value contentious and non-contentious insolvencies, and has been instructed by all four of Ireland’s large banks as well as all four of the big accountancy firms. Michael Neill leads the practice and has acted on major local insolvency litigation with particular expertise in insolvency-related white-collar crime and fraud cases. The team also benefits from the ‘exceptional‘ Sam Corbett, who was promoted to partner in 2019, and associate Ross Kane, who demonstrates 'great attention to detail'.

Practice head(s):

Michael Neill

Other key lawyers:

Sam Corbett; Ross Kane

Testimonials

‘They are extremely responsive and always available to talk on live engagements or just to provide some general advice on matters, even if there is no formal engagement.’

‘They apply the right mix of legal advice but with practical considerations, which is essential in an insolvency situation. They are prepared to get involved directly in situations where required and can be trusted to protect the insolvency practitioner, without reverting for a decision on every matter.’

‘Sam Corbett as the partner in charge will get involved where necessary, but also allows his team to get on with things. I would be confident that while he may not be involved directly on certain engagements, he is overseeing the team in the background. He is always available, within reason, and prepared to provide in-depth technical and legal advice through to a sounding board for decisions that are being made by an insolvency practitioner.’

‘Ross Kane will very much get involved in the detail of a situation, and can be trusted to ensure maximum protection for an insolvency practitioner. He has great attention to detail and would be very much the go to person for a complicated legal argument.’

‘The key strengths include technical/legal expertise complemented by a commercial approach and a relationship based on trust. Responsiveness to client needs, real added value and efficient delivery are key. ‘

‘Sam Corbett and Ross Kane were exceptional in advising an exit route for lender in difficult circumstances and dealt with issues through the process in a professional way, including a lot of work outside normal working hours.’

‘The individuals (Sam, Ross and the team) quite simply are great to work with, not just as a legal adviser but as a real partner bringing an understanding of the overall deal/issue and the right mix of skills to deliver the best results.’

‘They did everything asked, expected and so much more. We could not have achieved the results we did without the help of A&L. Sam and Ross are amazing at their jobs.’

Key clients

Northern Bank Limited trading as Danske Bank

Bank of Ireland UK

Ulster Bank Limited

AIB Group

Santander UK

PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

Deloitte

Ernst and Young LLP

KPMG

BDO

Work highlights

  • Advised MJM as a bidder and potential buyer for the business and assets of Harland and Wolff Heavy Industries and Harland and Wolff Group PLC, both of which ended up in liquidation in 2019.
  • Acted for the Official Receiver and Alix Partners as special managers in relation to the liquidation of Thomas Cook.
  • Advising a number of pension funds and private landlords in relation to three proposals for company voluntary arrangements put forward by companies within Philip Green’s Arcadia Group.

Arthur Cox Belfast

Fielding a strong two-partner team, Arthur Cox Belfast is well placed to handle contentious and non-contentious insolvencies, with particular strength in matters involving distressed properties. Newly promoted partner Colm McElroy has notable expertise in advising private equity houses on acquisitions of non-performing loans, while Stuart Mansfield stands out for his work in insolvencies involving real estate assets. Former practice head Kieran McGarrigle is now a sole practitioner.

Other key lawyers:

Colm McElroy; Stuart Mansfield

Key clients

EY

KPMG

Special Liquidator of Irish Bank Resolution Corporation Limited

Deloitte

Gerard Gildernew & Co.

PwC

Weichai Power Co Ltd

Arthur Boyd & Co

Work highlights

  • Advised EY as administrator on the complex administration of high-profile construction company, Dixons Contractors Ltd.
  • Advised KPMG and Arthur Boyd & Co on an insolvency.
  • Advised the special liquidator of Irish Bank Resolution Corporation Limited (formerly Anglo Irish Bank) on the substantial number of subsidiary companies which it holds.

Carson McDowell

With expertise in contentious and non-contentious matters, Carson McDowell has represented key names in the financial services sector including EY, KPMG and Grant Thornton. Darren Toombs jointly leads the team and stands out for his insolvency litigation expertise, acting for trustees, liquidators and administrators. Fellow practice head Sinead McGrath is adept at advisory work and has a client base consisting of major banks, borrowers and financial institutions. At the junior end of the team, Shane McVeigh is singled out as 'an excellent associate'.

Practice head(s):

Darren Toombs; Sinead McGrath

Other key lawyers:

Shane McVeigh

Testimonials

‘Carson McDowell are a very proactive and dynamic team in the insolvency and corporate recovery space in NI.’

‘They have clear direction and are very client focused. Darren Tombs and Shane McVeigh stand out in the marketplace because of their accessibility and ability to be agile and move quickly when required as well as having the knowledge required to produce results.’

‘Excellent commercial approach from the entire team. Carson McDowell have the ability to deliver the largest assignments across a broad spectrum legal areas.’

‘Darren Toombs is a trusted adviser. He is quick understand complex matters and always very responsive. Shane McVeigh is an excellent associate.’

Key clients

Wrightbus

Van Oord Offshore Wind GMBH

WDR & RT Taggart Limited

Keenan Corporate Finance

HNH Partners

Keenan Corporate Finance

Grant Thornton NI LLP

John Graham Limited

KPMG

EY Belfast

Work highlights

  • Advising the company and the directors of Wrightbus in an accelerated M&A process prior to its administration.
  • Advised Van Oord Offshore Wind, which was involved in a large-scale project with the now insolvent Harland and Wolff.
  • Advised Belfast Harbour Commissioners when one of its most high-profile tenants, Harland & Wolff entered insolvency.

Cleaver Fulton Rankin

Cleaver Fulton Rankin is 'a young and vibrant firm with staff who are eager to deliver' and has assisted clients with resolving insolvencies through litigation, mediation and non-contentious means. Jeanette Donohoe heads up the practice and is particularly skilled in insolvencies involving property assets. Associate Maria McNally is 'very attentive both to clients and the detail required to get results.'

Practice head(s):

Jeanette Donohoe

Other key lawyers:

Maria McNally

Testimonials

‘CFR are a young and vibrant firm with staff who are eager to deliver for their clients.’

‘Maria McNally is very attentive both to clients and the detail required to get results.’

‘Adaptability, speed of response, knowledge and experience.’

Key clients

Lamprell Plc

Crawford Accountants

Bank of Ireland (UK) Plc

AIB Group (UK) Plc

Ulster Bank Limited

HSBC Bank Plc

McCambridge Duffy LLP

Danske Bank

Pepper Group (trading as Engage Commercial)

Begbies Traynor LLP

Work highlights

  • Advised Lamprell on a multi-million pound contract with Harland & Wolff prior to H&W entering administration.
  • Acted for the purchasers of H&W from the administrator with a value of over £5m.
  • Instructed by Crawford Accountants on behalf of the administrator of Bangor Investments LLC.

Tughans

Tughans' client base consists of major banks in the UK and Ireland, as well as global accountancy firms. Clients single the team out as 'the first port of call for many insolvency practitioners faced with difficult legal issues'. Leading the team is Toby Mcmurray, who 'has well established connections with many banks and accountancy firms' and 'is well respected by colleagues and the judiciary'.

Practice head(s):

Toby Mcmurray

Testimonials

‘Involved in many high-profile and contentious insolvency disputes, first port of call for many insolvency practitioners faced with difficult legal issues.’

‘Toby McMurray is the key figure. He has well established connections with many banks and accountancy firms. He is well respected by colleagues and the judiciary.’

Key clients

KPMG

Deloitte

McGrath

Grant Thornton

Bank of Scotland

Bank of Ireland

Horwood Neill Holmes

BDO

Kilmona Property Limited

Interfrigo Ltd

Work highlights

  • Retained by KPMG to advise on all aspects of the administrations of four Lagan Construction Group companies.
  • Retained by Deloitte to advise on all aspects of the administrations of Wright Group/Wrightbus, pre- and post-appointment and in significant assets sales of the business.
  • Defending the directors of McGrath in an action brought by HMRC under article 180-181 of the Insolvency (Northern Ireland) Order relating to liabilities of insolvent companies, which HMRC alleges can be fixed on the personal estates of the directors.

Elliott Duffy Garrett

Elliott Duffy Garrett has recently handed several High Court actions, and has also represented administrators and trustees in high-value insolvencies. The 'superb' Christopher Duffy jointly leads the practice and is an expert in litigation and mediation; he has acted for lenders, insolvency practitioners, property companies and accountants. Fellow co-head Kevin McVeigh focuses on the non-contentious elements of insolvency work and is an expert in corporate restructurings.

Practice head(s):

Christopher Duffy; Kevin McVeigh

Testimonials

‘Christopher Duffy is a superb advert for managing cases, providing accurate, insightful advice and delivering results for his clients.’

‘Christopher Duffy is exceptional in his consistent attitude to problems and adversity which may be encountered in cases. He supports this with an in-depth knowledge of the legislation.’

Key clients

Northern Bank Limited T/A Danske Bank

Keenan Corporate Finance

BDO Belfast

HNH Group

Ennis Property Finance DAC

Feniton Property Finance DAC

KPMG

McKeague Morgan

Premium Credit Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Keenan Corporate Finance on the administration of David Patton & Sons (NI) Limited.
  • Advised HNH Group Belfast as liquidator on the realisation of assets and retention of title issues.
  • Advised Keenan Corporate on the contentious realisation of assets by a trustee in bankruptcy.

Mills Selig

Mills Selig's practice stands out for its expertise in advising on personal insolvencies, which is a key area of strength for group head and managing partner John Kearns; he has also acted on a number of important corporate insolvencies in the region. Director Richard Craig is also highly recommended.

Practice head(s):

John Kearns

Other key lawyers:

Richard Craig

Key clients

Bank of Ireland

PKF-FPM Accountants

Keenan Corporate Finance

Cavanagh Kelly Accountants

Gildernew & Co Accountants

Grant Thornton

McKeague Morgan & Company

Hannaway & Co Accountants

Arthur Boyd & Company

Rachel Fowler Advisory

Napier Solicitors

Napier Solicitors is the only firm in the market to have two licensed insolvency practitioners and is therefore well placed to handle bankruptcy petitions, proceedings and arrangements for debtors and creditors. Brigid Napier, who advises on corporate insolvencies, and Maria Glover, who focuses on personal insolvencies, are the two key names to note.

Practice head(s):

Brigid Napier

Other key lawyers:

Maria Glover

TLT

TLT's new practice is led by Caitriona Morgan, who recently joined from Cleaver Fulton Rankin and has represented establish names in the local market including Arthur Boyd & Company, Baker Tilly Mooney Moore and Grant Thornton NI. Banking litigation specialist Fergal Maguire also joined from Cleaver Fulton Rankin and regularly handles debt recovery cases.

Practice head(s):

Caitriona Morgan

Other key lawyers:

Fergal Maguire

Testimonials

Wealth of experience and knowledge in the litigation and insolvency team – team going from strength to strength.

Wealth of experience and technical knowledge.

The knowledge of Fergal Maguire and Caitriona Morgan is second to none in the market place. They are always accessible and have made a big impact in the NI marketplace for TLT.

Both Fergal and Caitriona have interpersonal skills that make them easy to work with and flexible in their approach. They are always happy to assist with queries that may arise when considering to take on insolvency cases.

Key clients

Arthur Boyd & Company

Baker Tilly Mooney Moore

Begbies Traynor

BDO (NI)

Cavanagh Kelly

Grant Thornton (NI)

JT Maxwell

Keenan Corporate Finance

Rachel Fowler Advisory

Work highlights

  • Advised Begbies Traynor as a trustee on a bankruptcy including an application for possession and sale in respect of a property that has been built on land owned by the bankrupt post-bankruptcy.
  • Advising Baker Tilly Mooney Moore as liquidator of a company in relation to its recovery options against associated companies due to the existence of an Inter-Creditor Deed of Priority.
  • Advising Keenan Corporate Finance as a trustee in the bankruptcy of a deceased bankrupt in relation to a transaction at an undervalue claim, to reclaim a property.