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Company law

Wilberforce has a strong reputation for its work across all areas of company law, including financial assistance, shareholder disputes and directors’ duties issues. It has particular expertise on high-value corporate reorganisations and on offshore transactional advice and litigation.

The complementary expertise of all our members in equity and trusts provides the framework for a deeper understanding of the issues ensuing from breaches of the fiduciary duties owed to companies, equitable compensation, and the proprietary remedies arising out of wrongful disposals of company assets.

Our members offer expert advice and advocacy in relation to a wide range of company law issues such as:

  • Shareholder disputes
  • 994 petitions (under Companies Act 2006)
  • Derivative actions
  • Share and business sale agreements
  • Breach of warranty disputes
  • Shareholder agreements
  • Financial assistance
  • Directors’ duties and negligence
  • Disqualification of directors
  • Restoration of companies to the register
  • OEICs
  • Corporate insolvency – winding up, administration, CVA, receivership
  • Accounting/audit negligence

Instructions come from large, multinational corporations, through to medium sized and small companies and their directors and shareholders. A number of our members have particular experience of company law disputes in other jurisdictions, including most of the principle offshore jurisdictions, Singapore and Hong Kong.

 

Rankings and recognition

Wilberforce is ranked as a leading company law set in both Chambers & Partners and The Legal 500. Coverage below.

Chambers UK 2020: Wilberforce Chambers is a strong set of chambers whose company work is held in high regard. It offers expertise in a broad range of issues, including shareholder disputes and directors’ duties matters, and has strength in cases involving offshore jurisdictions. Recent work includes acting in Qunar Cayman Islands v Blackwell Partners, a shareholder dispute with proceedings in the Cayman Court of Appeal.

The Legal 500 UK 2020: An ‘excellent set with all necessary levels of expertise in commercial areas‘, Wilberforce Chambers’ members are instructed in all areas of company law, including financial assistance, shareholder disputes, and directors’ duties matters. Recent standout cases include Re Force India (Formula 1) and Sky Stream Corp v Alexander Pleshekov.

Chambers UK 2019: Wilberforce Chambers houses a bench of experienced company law specialists who offer clients excellent advice regarding disputes and transactional matters, and who have distinct proficiency in offshore matters. Areas of particular strength include cases concerning shareholder disputes, breaches of fiduciary duty, reorganisation issues and equitable compensation. Recent instructions include Alexander Plashekov v SkyStream and Linkov and others, a significant shareholder dispute with proceedings in the commercial court of the BVI. One interviewee says: “This is a set composed of high-quality, user-friendly advocates.

The Legal 500 UK 2019: The silks and juniors at Wilberforce Chambers are noted for possessing “a good diversity of skills” across the spectrum of company law matters and members are increasingly taking on work with an international element. Recent standout cases include Qunar Cayman Islands Ltd v Maso Capital Investments Ltd, Garulp Limited v Garulp and Anthony Wall and Scottish Re v Davis.

 

Recent instructions include:

  • Re Force India (Formula 1) [2019]: A consortium led by Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll, father of F1 racing driver Lance Stroll, acquired the business and assets of the Force India racing team. The transaction was exceptionally complex, and ground breaking in that asset purchases were historically prohibited by the FIA.
  • New Look Retailers Limited [2019]: Advising the guarantor of rent due on leases taken out by New Look after the New Look CVA (Company Voluntary Arrangement).
  • Sky Stream Corp v Alexander Pleshekov [2018]: Dispute over ownership of 20 per cent of the shareholding of Transaero Airlines (one of Russia’s largest airlines). Acting for the claimant in both the BVI Commercial Court and the Court of Appeal.
  • Paylor v Bowers [2018]: Contested worldwide freezing order proceedings in the context of fraudulent breach of statutory and fiduciary duty and tracing claims against the struck-off directors of two companies involved in multi-million pound fraudulent “Ponzi” schemes straddling jurisdictions such as the UAE, Brazil and Panama.
  • DE Shaw Oculus Portfolios LLC v Orient Express Hotels Limited in the High Court in Bermuda. Orient Express Hotels Limited successfully argued that it was lawful under the laws of Bermuda for a publicly-quoted company to be controlled by its own wholly owned subsidiary.
  • ABC Company (SPV) v J & Co. An application by an investor in a split portfolio company which had suspended redemptions of a minority of its portfolios to wind up the company.
  • Planck v Tinsel Group and Vitol Holdings. A shareholder dispute proceeding in Rotterdam concerning a significant stake in one of the world’s largest energy traders.
  • Apex Global Management Limited v FiCall Limited and Others. A multi-million pound shareholders’ dispute between the shareholders of FiCall.
  • Acting for the liquidator Re ICP Strategies Cayman Islands landmark decision enabling foreign courts to rely on fraudulent trading provisions of the Cayman Companies Law.