Members of Wilberforce Chambers’ Insolvency Group specialise in all aspects of corporate and personal insolvency litigation and advice. We do so in the UK and offshore. Our Group includes winners and nominees for Insolvency and Restructuring industry awards and authors of leading textbooks in the area.
Members have been involved in high-profile insolvency matters in many jurisdictions over the years. Examples include Leeds v Lemos  (the leading case on the right to assert privilege in insolvency), Re Nortel / Lehman  (the Supreme Court’s decision restating the law on provable debts), Re Stanford International Bank [2016-2017] (acting for former liquidators in jurisdiction battles in London and professional negligence claims in London and Antigua), and Akers v Samba  (the Supreme Court’s decision on void transactions under s.127 of the Insolvency Act 1986).
We also work in connection with restructurings, in particular where issues cross-over with our other practice areas such as property and pensions. Recent examples include the New Look CVA, the Travelodge CVA, the pensions restructuring case of Halcrow, the HMV CVA and the Baha Mar receivership and provisional liquidation in the Bahamas.
We act on office holder claims, directors’ disqualifications as well as dealing with international and multi-jurisdictional disputes under both the EU Regulation on Insolvency Proceedings and the Cross-Border Insolvency Regulations.
Chambers offers strength in depth, from senior QCs to recently qualified juniors. Members are experienced in acting for creditors (secured and unsecured), debtors, officeholders and others in insolvency related matters. Chambers is also able to draw on Members’ expertise in other specialised areas of law, including pensions, civil fraud, trusts, asset recovery and property law.
Marcia Shekerdemian QC sits as a Deputy Insolvency and Companies Court Judge.
James Ayliffe QC is co-author of Transaction Avoidance in Insolvencies, OUP, 3rd ed (2018), and the specialist editor of the insolvency chapter in one of the principal practitioner texts on landlord and tenant law, Hill & Redman’s Law of Landlord & Tenant.
Lexa Hilliard QC is a contributor to OUP’s Company Directors – Duties, Liabilities and Remedies 3rd Edn 2017 (edited by Simon Mortimore)
Iain Pester is a contributor to two chapters in Commercial Litigation: Pre-Emptive Remedies (updated annually) on Provisional Liquidators and Injunctions in Insolvency Proceedings
David Pollard has written “Corporate Insolvency: Employment Rights” (2016) and “Corporate Insolvency: Pension Rights” (2016).
What the directories say:
Chambers & Partners 2018:
Wilberforce Chambers is an excellent commercial chancery set with a strong reputation in the restructuring and insolvency market. Its members handle both corporate and personal insolvency cases, drawing on the set’s wider expertise in pensions, property and trusts. The team is regularly instructed in high-profile cases covering multiple jurisdictions, with key representations including the bondholders to ARM Asset Backed Securities and the liquidators of Stanford International Bank.
Legal 500 2017:
At Wilberforce Chambers, there is ‘excellent strength in depth and availability’, and ‘extremely good’ clerks. Members litigate and advise on complex corporate and personal insolvency issues, and notable recent work includes the ARM Asset Backed Securities case, involving lost life savings following the collapse of a Luxembourg investment company.
Recent Instructions of note:
- Re: Fairhold Securitisation Ltd . In this matter, Marcia Shekerdemian QC acted for the IPs, Michael Bowell and Dermot Coakley, who without their knowledge or consent, were purportedly appointed as administrators of the company. The Judge described the conduct of the would-be appointor, Clifden IOM (No.1) Ltd as “an unprincipled asset grab” and declared that the appointment was void, awarding Marcia’s clients their costs on an indemnity basis.
- Iain Barker v Paul Baxendale-Walker , acting for the petitioning creditor in the insolvency aspect of this long-running litigation.
- Zinc Hotels (Investment) Limited and Top Zinc Ltd v Beveridge and others  EWHC 1936 (Ch), appearing on behalf of the Security and the Security Trustee.
- AHAB v SICL & Ors  Grand Court of the Cayman Islands, acting for liquidators in this multi-jurisdicitonal fraud raising issues including the impact of liquidation on the bona fide purchaser defence.
- Akers v Samba , Supreme Court, s.127 Insolvency Act 1986
- Leeds v Lemos  EWHC 1825 (Ch). Privilege in insolvency.
- Re FREP (Knowle) Ltd  Chancery Division. COMI and removing administrators under para 81 of Sch B1 to the Insolvency Act 1986.
- Orb a.r.l Acting for the secured creditor and litigation funder of this Jersey company in the framework of a multi-million pound litigation funding arrangement following the collapse of the Orb v Ruhan proceedings.
- Pollock v Reed  Chancery Division, pensions restructuring
- Fieldfisher LLP v Pennyfeathers Limited  EWHC 566 (Ch): arbitration clauses and administration
- Re Baha Mar Ltd , Bahamas
- Re Whyte , Chancery Division
- Re Ackerman [2012 to date]
- Re Sphinx, Cayman Islands (acting for the liquidator in relation to the collapse of a prime brokerage house)
- Re Lancelot, Cayman Islands
- Isis v Kaupthing
- Weavering Macro Fixed Income Fund Limited (in liquidation) v Ernst v Young, Cayman Islands
- Lehman Bros International Europe Ltd – acting for the liquidator in relation to the distribution of US $19bn of assets, and acting for creditors, office-holders and the Pensions Regulator in connection with pensions matters.
- Re Nortel – acting for creditors, office-holders and the Pensions Regulator in connection with pensions matters
- Re Storm Funding (in administration)  Bus L R 454: rule against “double-dipping”
- Capitol Films litigation  2 B.C.L.C.359
- Isis v Kaupthing – representing the liquidators of Isis Ltd, an Isle of Man subsidiary of Kaupthing Bank, in in highly contentious insolvency proceedings in England and the Isle of Man involving GBP500 million of claims