Tanner De Witt > Hong Kong, Hong Kong > Firm Profile

Tanner De Witt
Hong Kong

Hong Kong > Restructuring and insolvency Tier 1

Independent Hong Kong firm Tanner De Witt has a large and dedicated restructuring and insolvency team that handles matters with domestic and international dimensions. It is often instructed as lead counsel on contentious matters and also services large international law firms as local counsel. Ian De Witt and Robin Darton co-head the team of ‘well respected practitioners’, with De Witt recommended for commercial litigation, insolvency, fraud, asset-tracing and enforcement matters. Darton has considerable experience in debt restructurings and matters relating to financing and security transactions. ‘Excellent lawyerSunny Hathiramani acts for office holders and creditors in relation to contentious personal and corporate insolvency matters. Anthony Hill retired.

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‘Tanner De Witt has a team of well respected practitioners in the Hong Kong insolvency space’.

‘Being a firm rooted in Hong Kong, they are very knowledgeable in the development of judicial thinking in the territory, and have been involved in some important cases shaping the law in the space’.

‘Quality is consistent across the firm and they seem less exposed to turnovers that can happen at international firms’.

‘Robin Darton is very commercial and extremely user friendly’.

‘Sunny Hathiramani is an excellent lawyer with a strong grasp on the key issues’.

‘Robin Darton has exceptional knowledge and experience is my first port of call when ever I need to run something by a lawyer. ’

‘One of the largest and most respected restructuring and insolvency teams in Hong Kong’.

‘They have exceptional experience to draw on and there are very few matters they have not dealt with before’.

Key clients



Borrelli Walsh

Grant Thornton

Alvarez & Marsal

China Cinda (HK) Asset Management

RSM Nelson Wheeler (Hong Kong)

FTI Consulting

Duff & Phelps

Deloitte (Cayman Islands & BVI)

Ernst & Young (BVI)

China Singyes Solar Technologies Holdings Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising the Provisional Liquidators of Burwill Holdings Limited to assist them in the cross-border debt restructuring of Hong Kong-listed Burwill to rescue its business, including preparing Burwill’s scheme of arrangement and various restructuring documentation.
  • Advised CFG Investment S.A.C. on its highly publicised and hotly contested multi-billion-dollar allegations of fraud.
  • Acting for Pininfarina S.p.A on its winding-up petition presented against a subsidiary of a Hong Kong listed company.

Hong Kong > Labour and employment Tier 2

Independent Hong Kong firm Tanner De Witt generates referrals from other independent and international law firms, and it is equally strong in both contentious and non-contentious matters. The practice has recently seen a number of instructions relating to the implementation of the Hong Kong National Security Law and the COVID-19 pandemic, including advice on the Hong Kong government’s wage subsidy scheme, work-from-home arrangements, and sickness and termination issues. With Kim Boreham stepping into a consultancy role, the team is now led solely by Russell Bennett, who focuses on handling contentious employment matters for senior regulated individuals.

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Russell Bennett is hard-wired to help people and make tough times lighter and more bearable – absolute pleasure to work with.’

‘Excellent Hong Kong experience, and knowledge of the Hong Kong courts and the individuals in the court system.’

‘Russell Bennett has a very good “big picture” view of the case and how his client’s position should be presented in court.’

Russell Bennett – exceptionally talented and knowledgeable.’

Work highlights

  • Acted for a senior executive of a corporate finance company in relation to her claim against her former employer for the guaranteed bonus which was delayed and then withheld by them on the basis that the bonus should be set off against the alleged and disputed negligent work by her.
  • Acting for a leading insurance loss adjusting services provider in relation to proceedings in the High Court (against ten defendants), seeking a springboard injunction and other relief relating to the removal of confidential information following a team departure.
  • Advised an international investment bank in relation to a number of employment matters arising in the past year, including issues relating to breaches of internal policies, the handling and management of internal investigations, disciplinary procedure and the termination of employment and separations.

Hong Kong > Dispute resolution: litigation Tier 3

The 'responsive and user-friendly' litigation team at Tanner De Witt handles a broad scope of matters, ranging from banking-related fraud and asset tracing to the contentious probate of high-net-worth individuals. Jointly led by Mark SideJeff Lane and Pamela Mak, its other focus areas include insolvency and multijurisdictional shareholder disputes. Clients note Side as a 'tough adversary', with further praise for Mak, who is 'adept at smoothing over any problems'. The 'commercially savvy' Robin Darton is another key contact.

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‘Mark Side and Pamela Mak lead an impressive commercial dispute resolution team. Russell Bennett leads a leading contentious employment team.’

‘Mark Side is a tough adversary for commercial disputes, while Russell Bennett is a knowledgeable and very competent employment litigator.’

‘Always get very commercial, solid advice. Very responsive and user-friendly, and just a nice bunch of people.’

‘Pamela Mak is excellent with mainland clients in particular, and adept at smoothing over any problems and gaining trust of clients.’

‘Robin Darton is very commercially savvy and knows the HK court processes like the back of his hand.’

‘During recent years, a number of highly complicated multijurisdictional asset recoveries have been referred to Tanner De Witt’s litigation team. Those cases are always time-sensitive and the firm has always met the standards necessary to handle those cases successfully. Moreover, it stays on the case even after years until a final solution or judgement has been reached.’

‘Jeff Lane as a partner is always available and in appropriate cases with timely restrictions representing them in court. Also, Kevin Siu and Philip Lee have deep knowledge not only of the remedies available in Hong Kong, but a great understanding of the complexity and different legal approaches on those cases in other jurisdictions.’

Key clients




Borrelli Walsh

FraudNet legal network

Four Seasons Hotel


A number of international law firms

Pieta House

Work highlights

  • Assisting a Nasdaq-listed blockchain technology company with ASIC chip design in China with its application to preserve  assets in Hong Kong pending determination of the arbitration.
  • Acting for a shareholder/entrepreneur in the health and lifestyle sector, the plaintiff, in a complex multimillion dollar shareholder dispute concerning the valuation of shares in a Hong Kong-based lifestyle company.
  • Acted for an unspecified law firm after a hacker compromised their email systems, causing a loss of $2.6m.

Hong Kong > TMT Tier 3

Led by the 'responsive and pragmatic' Pàdraig Walsh, Tanner De Witt provides 'practical advice' to investors, strategics and founders on a range of transactional, procurement, data protection and commercial contracts matters. Walsh acts for clients in a wide variety of industries, such as fintech, regtech, healthtech and cleantech, among many others. He is knowledgeable about issues associated with new technologies, including AI, blockchain and cloud. Consultant Nigel Stamp  is a recent arrival from K&L Gates.

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The team provides practical advice and solutions.’

Padraig Walsh provides practical advice to tech start-ups. His broad range of expertise has been particularly helpful for early stages companies.’

Padraig Walsh is extremely responsive and provides a consistently high level of client service, with a balanced and pragmatic approach.’

Key clients

Nomura Holdings, Inc.

A collaboration of The Human Technology Project and iTech Law

Coherent Group

Edge Squared


KPMG as liquidators of Bio-Medical Engineering (HK)Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Nomura on the extension (by several years) and modification (i.e.broadening in scope) of a significant transaction with Hitachi Vantara to provide the bank with global data capacity on a very novel so called “utility compute” basis.
  • Participated in the research and report on the use of new technologies in public health which resulted in the publication “Technology Governance in a Time of Crisis” – an international report on the responsible governance of Covid-19 contact-tracing technologies.
  • Advised insurtech company, Coherent Group, on its Series A investment round.

The firm: Tanner De Witt is an established independent law firm in Hong Kong. Its primary focus is business law in Asia and clients include public and private companies, multinationals, partnerships and individuals, both within Hong Kong and internationally.

Relationships with law firms in other jurisdictions allow Tanner De Witt to provide legal support in many countries including China. The firm provides insightful, practical and commercial legal advice with discretion and sensitivity to clients’ needs and preferences. Lawyers work closely with clients, engineering options to reach goals by way of an agreed method at competitive rates.

While this is one of the largest independent law firms in Hong Kong, the partner-lawyer ratio is low, ensuring that clients receive legal advice based on many years of experience. For clients who prefer to resolve disputes with as little contention as possible, Tanner De Witt offers mediation services through accredited mediators Ian De Witt and Mark Side.

Areas of practice
Corporate and commercial: mergers and acquisitions, business sales and purchases, corporate reorganisations, joint ventures, investment and shareholders agreements, commercial arrangements and contracts, establishment of new companies and businesses.

Dispute resolution (litigation, arbitration and mediation): breach of contract and negligence, injunction proceedings, international trade, joint venture and franchise disputes, judicial review, landlord and tenant, owner-operated company and shareholder disputes, professional negligence and sale of goods and services.

General mediation across a broad range of practice areas, Civil Justice Reform, Practice Direction 31, expert adjudication or determination and early neutral evaluation.

Restructuring and insolvency: contentious and non-contentious, provisional liquidations, liquidations, receiverships, asset tracing, pre-emptive remedies and the recovery and enforcement of security, and acting for appointment holders, creditors, lenders and trustees.

Employment: redundancy, remuneration and benefits, secondments and handbooks, restrictive covenants, injunctive relief, Labour Tribunal claims, District and High Court actions, personal data privacy and discrimination.

Immigration: employment, investment and dependants visas, extension of stay and appeal, prolonged visitors’ visas, permanent residency, immigration law advice, investigation and prosecution.

Family: divorce and associated matters in Hong Kong, pre-nuptial agreements, financial maintenance, estate distribution, child custody and child access.

Banking and finance: structuring and implementation of debt transactions, transaction security packages, loan financing, syndicated loan facilities, multi-currency loans, sales finance agreements and cash pooling.

Regulatory and compliance: regulatory investigations and enforcement actions, financial regulators’ criminal prosecutions, disciplinary proceedings and appeals to the SFC appeals tribunal.

Criminal law and white-collar crime: customs and excise investigations and prosecutions, commercial and cybercrime, tax evasion and corruption (ICAC), representation in extradition and regulatory proceedings.

IP: purchase and sale of IP assets, licensing and sub-licensing, distribution and agency arrangements, infringement of trade marks, Trade Mark Registry hearings, breach of licence, enforcement and franchising.

Wills, probate and trusts: inheritance law and distribution of estates in Hong Kong, wills and codicils, trusts, grants of probate and letters of administration, resealing of grants in Hong Kong and overseas and preparing deeds of family arrangement.

Hospitality and liquor licensing: liquor licences in Hong Kong, Liquor Licensing Board hearings, prosecutions for breach of licence conditions or laws and regulations governing the sale of liquor and appeals to the Municipal Services Appeals Board.

Fraud and asset tracing: tracing and recovering stolen or misappropriated assets, Anton Piller ‘search and seize’ orders, Mareva ‘freezing’ injunctions, forensic investigations and suspicious transaction reporting (STR).

Number of lawyers : 56
American Bankruptcy Institute
American Bar Association
Asia Pacific Loan Market Association
Commonwealth Lawyers Association
Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC)
International Bar Association
International Chamber of Commerce
INSOL International
International Fraud Group
International Insolvency Institute
Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners
Turnaround Management Association
The Insolvency Lawyers Association

Tanner De Witt further grows commercial disputes practice with appointment of consultant Richard Wilmot

Tanner De Witt confirms with great pleasure the appointment of commercial litigation lawyer Richard Wilmot as Consultant to the firm’s Dispute Resolution practice. The appointment is effective today.

Tanner De Witt boosts technology practice with appointment of consultant Nigel Stamp

Tanner De Witt announces with great pleasure the appointment of technology law veteran Nigel Stamp as Foreign Legal Consultant. The appointment was effective Monday 25 January 2021.Nigel’s addition to the firm is part of Tanner De Witt’s committed focus on the fast-growing areas of technology and privacy law in Hong Kong and the surrounding region, following Padraig Walsh’s appointment to the firm as partner in May 2018 to lead our technology practice.

Tanner De Witt bolsters arbitration practice with appointment of Kevin Warburton

Tanner De Witt announces with great pleasure the appointment of Kevin Warburton as Partner to join our arbitration practice. The appointment was effective on Monday 7 September 2020.

Landmark Hong Kong Court of Appeal decision confirms protection for all employees

In a watershed Court of Appeal decision serving to protect the rights of all Hong Kong employees, the Court has found that the employer GF Capital (Hong Kong) Ltd wrongfully withheld pay from a former employee.

Tanner De Witt boosts banking practice with the promotion of Jan Willem Möller to Partner

Tanner De Witt announces with great pleasure the appointment of banking and finance lawyer Jan Willem Möller as Partner of the firm effective today.

Tanner De Witt promotes Sunny Hathiramani to Partner

Tanner De Witt announces with great pleasure the appointment of Sunny Hathiramani as Partner in the firm’s top tier Insolvency and Restructuring Practice. The appointment is effective from 1 June 2019.