DQ > Douglas, Isle Of Man > Firm Profile

Isle Of Man

Isle of Man > Employment Tier 1

DQ covers the spectrum of employment law for clients such as trusts, corporate service providers and e-gaming companies. Litigator Leanne McKeown, who heads up the team, is particularly strong in equality and discrimination claims. She also assists with industrial relations, workplace investigations and is a qualified data protection practitioner. McKeown works with associate Jessica McManus and Mark Emery.

Practice head(s):

Leanne McKeown

Other key lawyers:


‘The team is responsive and proactive – it is one of the very few on the island offering specialist employment advice for both employers and employees.’

‘DQ’s employment team is led by Leanne McKeown who has particular interest and ability and is a stand out practitioner: while tenacious her advice is practical and well reasoned. She leads the team from the front and is very good with client.’

‘The team are always proactive, fast to act and extremely approachable.’

‘Leanne is always on hand to assist with any employment related issues and will always be available at short notice to assist with urgent matters. I feel that Leanne understands the culture of our business along with being a specialist in her field which is a real benefit.’

‘DQ is a highly reputable firm. The team are knowledgeable, engaging and highly responsive. They take a pragmatic and commercial approach when dealing with clients needs.’

‘I have worked with Leanne for many years on various complex employment matters. For me, Leanne stands out against her competitors. I value her in-depth knowledge, commercial acumen and pragmatic approach, and her ability to communicate complex legal requirements to non-legal people.’

‘Leanne is approachable, responsive and understands the urgency of certain matters over others. I trust Leanne immensely. She is incredibly reliable and someone I strongly recommend to other HR professionals.’

Key clients

Equiom Trust Services Limited


MAS Real Estate Inc.

Fortress Management Services Limited

Investment Interest Management Limited

Standard Bank Isle of Man Limited

IQE Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised IQE Limited – International Fiduciary Services on the employment and staff considerations arising in its acquisition by Boston MFO.
  • Advised Equiom Trust Services Limited (ETSL) on the breach of contract and fiduciary duties of a senior member of the company and statutory director. DQ represents ETSL in proceedings before the Employment and Equality Tribunal and the High Court.
  • Advised MAS Real Estate Inc. on its business reorganisation arising from its strategic decision to close its Isle of Man office.

Isle of Man > Private client, trusts and tax Tier 1

According to one client, the strength of DQ is its ‘diversity in knowledge and experience’. Practice head Annemarie Hughes is an expert in trust and private client work, and is also highly skilled in handling international tax investigations. Donna Matthews has a similarly broad skillset with expertise in advising on wills, powers of attorney, general administration issues and trust restructurings. The team also benefits from the experience of tax consultant Greg Jones, who is notably adept in capital tax planning work, offshore trusts, and tax domicile issues. Mark Emery is a key contact for trust litigation.

Practice head(s):

Annemarie Hughes; Donna Matthews

Other key lawyers:


‘The strength of the team is its diversity in knowledge and experience. In addition its ability to act cohesively and support each other for the benefit of the firm as a whole.’

‘I work closely with Annemarie Hughes on various matters. She is very responsive and pragmatic in her advice and approach to dealing with matters.’

‘Annemarie Hughes is excellent. Her knowledge of her subject matter is second to none and she always delivers her services efficiently and cost effectively.’

‘The team is very knowledgeable. Their approach to solutions are practical and commentarial. The team is very helpful in their guidance about solutions and are not afraid to say if a proposed solution is not the best option. The wide exposure to team had to issues and problems means they are able to advise on a very wide rage of topics.’

‘Annemarie Hughes: An exemplary individual in terms of her knowledge, insight and ability to interpret cases and apply the circumstance to the issue/solution/question at hand. Her wide experience of private client issues means that her advice is well rounded. Annemarie’s solutions will take into account not only the set of circumstances she was presented with but also the wider knowledge she has of the client/situation.’

‘The firm’s diversity in terms of service offering is notable. Key hires in the tax and compliance sectors set them aside from local competitors.’

Work highlights

  • Representing clients in providing depositions in various international criminal and civil tax investigations.
  • Obtaining an urgent freezing injunction in respect of an Isle of Man trust.
  • Advising Isle of Man trustees on applications for directions to the Court and applications to set aside transactions on the basis of mistakes.

Isle of Man > Banking, finance and capital markets Tier 2

DQ demonstrates a high level of expertise in corporate lending, ship finance and property finance transactions, as well as debt restructurings. Andrew Harding, who heads up the team, is a former chairman of the Isle of Man Wealth & Fund Services Association. His recent workload has involved advising on secured financing and distressed debt transactions. Managing partner Mark Dougherty is an expert in asset and ship-related financings. Ship finance is also a specialism of associate director Donna Matthews. Senior associate Adam Killip 'stands out for his knowledge and experience'.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Harding


‘Very responsive, helpful and knowledgeable. ’

‘Adam Killip stands out for his knowledge and experience.’

‘A small but well coordinated team of corporate lawyers.’

‘Mark Dougherty is very responsive.’

Key clients

Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank

Santander Corporate & Commercial Banking

GVC Holdings plc

Deutsche Bank Aktiengesellschaft Filiale Deutschlandgeschäft

Norddeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale

Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank Limited

HSH Nordbank AG

Societe Generale


Nomura International

Bank of Ireland

Irish Permanent International

TowerBrook Capital Partners


Citibank N.A., London Branch


Credit Suisse

UniCredit Bank AG

Ulster Bank

Union Bancaire Privée, UBP SA

Floreat Group

Dandara Group

Work highlights

  • Advising TowerBrook Capital Partners on the acquisition of distressed debt and subsequent debt restructuring for the acquisition of the CarTrawler Group from BC Partners.
  • Advising Entain in connection with a restructuring involving the cancellation of loan notes listed on The International Stock Exchange (TISE) by GVC Holdings (UK) Limited.

Isle of Man > Commercial property Tier 2

DQ’s team is skilled in assisting clients with real estate finance transactions, as well as leasing and tenancy agreements. Managing partner Mark Dougherty and associate Libby Gordon are the two key individuals to note.

Isle of Man > Corporate and commercial Tier 2

DQ is a strong independent practice and, through its membership of TAG Law, can draw upon an international network for cross-border matters. The team’s recent workload has included major M&A and restructurings, as well as general commercial and regulatory work. Andrew Harding leads the practice and, as a former representative at the Isle of Man Government Financial Services Advisory Group, is uniquely placed to handle deals in the finance sector. Financial services work is also an area of focus for Mark Dougherty, who is skilled in M&A, corporate and commercial work. Senior associate Adam Killip and associate director Donna Matthews are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Harding

Other key lawyers:


‘DQ are an innovative and forward thinking practice. They are very people focused and make good use of technology in their work. DQ communicate clearly and openly and are committed to achieving their client’s aims and objectives in an efficient and effective manner.’

‘Mark Dougherty leads the firm with drive and a determination to bring success to the practice and the wider Isle of Man economy.’

‘Andy Harding and his team advised on a substantial M&A transaction over a number of months. Andy and his team were a pleasure to work with and entirely focused on achieving the best possible outcome for their client.’

‘The team at DQ are very approachable and responsive and have provided commercial advice over a wide breadth of topics. The customer service is excellent and I felt like a valued client during interactions with all members of the team.’

‘The primary individuals I’ve worked with from the DQ team are Andrew Harding and Adam Killip. In addition to the quality of the advice provided, they were quick to respond to my calls and emails and I appreciated the candid nature of both when dealing with our matters.’

‘The team has a wide variety of specialisms. They are very approachable, helpful and respond quickly with good advice.’

‘The DQ team are always helpful, efficient and approachable. They provide practical advice and interpret and explain complex technical points concisely and clearly.’

Key clients

Entain Plc (Formally GCV Plc)

Towerbrook Capital Partners

IQE Limited

H/2 Capital Partners

Cavendish Trust Company Limited

The Montreux Healthcare Fund plc

National Asset Management Agency


TLC Consolidated ULC

Addleshaw Goddard

SMP Partners Limited

Equiom (Isle Of Man) Limited

Turnstone (Isle of Man) Limited

Geodrill Limited

Baker Tilly

Work highlights

  • Advising Entain on a restructuring involving the cancellation of loan notes listed on The International Stock Exchange (TISE) by GVC Holdings (UK) Limited.
  • Advised TowerBrook Capital Partners on the acquisition of CarTrawler Group from BC Partners.
  • Advised IQE Limited in relation to its sale to Boston Group.

Isle of Man > Dispute resolution Tier 2

DQ is highly experienced in handling multijurisdictional disputes through its TAG Alliance Network and has a particularly strong reputation in handling breach of duty cases. The team's workload has also involved assisting corporate service providers with contract breach claims, insolvency and shareholder disputes. Leanne McKeown leads the practice and is an expert in the above-mentioned areas, and also acts as head of the firm’s employment team. Mark Emery is also a key name for the firm’s insolvency and banking litigation work. Associate Alexander Armstrong is singled out by clients for his strengths in cross-border litigation.

Practice head(s):

Leanne McKeown

Other key lawyers:


‘Alexander Armstrong is one of the best lawyers I have ever worked with in 20 years of working in the international litigation and business area.’

‘This is a well rounded firm with specialists in most key areas of commercial litigation. It has a youthful and energetic team, reflecting a desire to promote from within and attract new talent. ’

‘I have worked with Mark Emery, who adopts a pragmatic and solutions-based approach to litigation.’

‘The DQ team offer a personal service and invest time into developing and nurturing client relationships. It is evident that this service is underpinned by strong relations internally, with different departments working together to deliver meet client objectives.’

‘Alexander Armstrong adopts a considered approach to litigation. He is able to distil complex legal issues into clear and comprehensive advice. Additionally, Alexander brings specific knowledge and experience in property and probate related disputes’

‘If I were on the Isle of Man and needed legal assistance they would be the first firm I would turn to. ’

‘Leanne McKeown is exceptional. She is dynamic and knowledgeable – you would want her on your side.’

‘Mark Emery is superlative – easily one of the sharpest lawyers on the Island. He is confident and commercial, and a real pleasure to work with.’

Key clients

Lloyds Bank

Suntera (IOM) Limited

Turnstone (Isle of Man) Limited

Mishcon de Reya LLP

Hermitage One Limited

Cayman National Bank (Isle of Man) Limited

Hill Dickinson LLP

Stobart Air Unlimited Company

Fortress Management Services Limited

Manx Telecom Limited

Dohle (IOM) Limited

Oakmayne Properties Regeneration Limited

Rushmere Capital Partners Limited

Manx Petroleums Limited

Boal & Co (Pensions Limited)

186 London Limited

Equiom Trust Services Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Mishcon de Reya in a contractual dispute relating to the financing of a bombardier aircraft.
  • Defending a multi-million pound claim related to allegations of fraudulent breaches of directors’ duties in the context of a property development.
  • Acting for Suntera in opposing an on-notice Norwich Pharmacal application, in the wider context of a potential $60million dispute.

Isle of Man > Insurance and pensions Tier 2

DQ's private client, trusts and pensions practice is led by Annemarie Hughes, a ‘go-to adviser in the Isle of Man for trusts and pension matters’. Hughes is a member of the IOM Association of Pension Providers and has assisted the Manx government on pensions legislation. Moreover, she is also skilled in complementary areas such as trusts and private client law.

Practice head(s):

Annemarie Hughes


‘Pragmatic, forward thinking and highly professional team.’

‘Annemarie Hughes is a go-to adviser in the Isle of Man for trusts and pension matters. Advice is always thorough, pragmatic and on brief.’

Key clients

Towerbrook Capital Partners

Work highlights

  • Advising a major professional association in connection with large scale redundancies and the consequences for an occupational scheme and members’ rights.
  • Advising large international non profit organisation on the creation of a new Isle of Man international pension.
  • Advising international life companies on Isle of Man regulatory obligations.

DQ is a leading Isle of Man-based law firm with an international reach, offering a full range of legal, regulatory and tax services to a local and global client base.

The firm: We are accessible, responsive and commercial with client-oriented strategies and goals. Our specialist lawyers are recommended by industry leaders in numerous reputable guides including Chambers and Partners and The Legal 500.

Our thriving and dynamic practice has seen phenomenal growth in recent years and is capitalising on a simple formula – to provide a quality of service that cannot be exceeded in the Isle of Man, as efficiently as possible.

Partners and other lawyers at the firm have practised at some of the leading law firms in the Isle of Man, Cayman, Bermuda and Guernsey. DQ provides a highly responsive, bespoke service at competitive rates and is regarded by clients and competitors alike for its pragmatic and commercial ‘can-do’ approach to clients’ requirements and quick turnaround times.

Types of work undertaken: DQ has a leading regulatory and compliance team in the Isle of Man, with significant experience advising on all aspects of regulatory and compliance matters, including establishing financial services businesses, data protection, regulatory enforcement and international tax and securities investigations. Three members of the team are accredited data protection practitioners. In addition the team engages regularly with the island’s regulators and is at the forefront of lobbying for pragmatism in any changes to the island’s regulatory and AML regime.

DQ has expertise in an extensive range of corporate and commercial matters involving the Isle of Man. Clients include local and multinational corporations, insurance companies, banks, public bodies, entrepreneurs and HNWIs. DQ also has established relationships with City, European and US law firms. Areas of expertise include mergers and acquisitions, banking and finance, insurance, listings, directors’ duties and corporate governance, partnerships/limited partnerships, investment funds, gambling, employment and pensions.

The team was the sole Isle of Man legal adviser to one of the largest e-gaming/e-business acquisitions of 2016 (with a deal value of around £1.2bn) when GVC Holdings plc successfully bid for, and acquired, bwin.party Digital Entertainment and in 2018 in the GVC Group’s takeover of Ladbrokes Coral, the UK’s biggest high street bookmaker, with a deal value of around £3.9bn.

DQ leads the way in shipping on the island. The top-ranked shipping practice works with some of the biggest names in the ship industry . The team has extensive experience of advising on the finance of new builds, purchases and the preparation, registration and enforcement of related security documents.

Dispute resolution expertise includes fraud and asset recovery, restructuring and insolvency, contractual matters, commercial disputes, estate and trust disputes, judicial review, insurance and medical negligence, relationship disputes, public and administrative law, data protection disputes and property litigation. The top-ranked employment team advises trust and corporate services providers, banks, charities and both private and public sector employers on issues ranging from day-to-day HR queries through to complex corporate restructuring and litigation.

The tier one ranked specialist private client, trusts and pensions team provides a complete, integrated service to local and international clients. The team also provides specialist advice on establishing and administering Isle of Man foundations and Isle of Man hybrid companies. Clients include banks, corporate trustees and other leading institutions both on and off the Isle of Man as well as individuals who are non-UK domiciled and wish to use an Isle of Man structure.

DQ’s strategic aim is to maintain excellence in its core sectors and to continue to provide clients with creative, innovative and commercial solutions.

Our directors serve on various governmental and private sector steering groups, tribunals and committees.

DQ is also the sole Isle of Man member of TAGLaw, an international alliance of high-quality, independent law firms.

Corporate and commercial Mark Doughertymark@dq.im
Corporate and commercial Andrew Hardingandrew.harding@dq.im
Dispute Resolution and Employment Leanne McKeownleanne@dq.im
Regulatory and compliance Sinead O'Connorsinead@dq.im
Shipping Mark Doughertymark@dq.im
Trust and private client Annemarie Hughesannemarie@dq.im
Shipping Donna Matthewsdonna@dq.im
Dispute Resolution Mark Emerymark.emery@dq.im
Jessica Cocker  photo Jessica Cocker Associate. Jessica qualified as a Manx Advocate in 2021. Jessica is able…
Mark Dougherty  photo Mark Dougherty Managing Director. Mark has extensive experience in the Isle of Man in…
Mark Emery  photo Mark Emery Associate Director. Since qualifying as a Manx Advocate in 2012 Mark has…
Andrew Harding  photo Andrew Harding Director. Andrew has significant experience in relation to a broad range of…
Annemarie Hughes  photo Annemarie Hughes Director and Head of Private Client, Trusts & Pensions. Annemarie has significant…
Greg Jones  photo Greg Jones Consultant. Greg has experience in all areas of UK and Isle of…
Adam Killip photo Adam KillipSenior Associate. Adam’s practice encompasses a broad range of corporate, commercial and…
Donna Matthews photo Donna MatthewsAssociate Director. Donna advises a wide range of international and local institutional…
Leanne McKeown  photo Leanne McKeown Director/Head of Dispute Resolution/Head of Employment. Leanne specialises in commercial disputes, company,…
Jessica McManus  photo Jessica McManus Associate. Jessica is able to assist and advise clients in a number…
Barry Smith  photo Barry Smith Consultant. Barry’s specialist areas of practice are mergers and acquisitions, secured lending;…
Rachel Winterbach  photo Rachel Winterbach Associate. Rachel is an admitted attorney in South Africa and a Registered…
Number of Isle of Man partners : 4
Number of other Isle of Man fee-earners : 10
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