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 Equity Trust (Jersey) Ltd v Halabi  (a pivotal Privy Council decision on the interplay between insolvency and trusts law), Leeds v Lemos  (the leading case on the right to assert privilege in insolvency), Akers v Samba  (the Supreme Court’s decision on void transactions under s.127 of the Insolvency Act 1986), Re Stanford International Bank [2016-2017] (acting for former liquidators in jurisdiction battles in London and professional negligence claims in London and Antigua), and Re Nortel / Lehman  (the Supreme Court’s decision restating the law on provable debts).
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 KCs 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 KC sits as a Deputy Insolvency and Companies Court Judge.
James Ayliffe KC 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.
Tom Robinson co-edits and he, Marcia Shekerdemian KC, Anna Littler and Bobby Friedman are contributors to Sweet & Maxwell’s Kerr & Hunter on Receivers and Administrators, 21st ed, 2020
Lexa Hilliard KC is a contributor to OUP’s Company Directors – Duties, Liabilities and Remedies 3rd Edn 2017 (edited by Simon Mortimore)
David Pollard has written “Corporate Insolvency: Employment and Pension Rights” (2022), “Corporate Insolvency: Employment Rights” (2016) and “Corporate Insolvency: Pension Rights” (2016).
Rankings and recognition
Chambers & Partners 2024: Wilberforce Chambers is noted for its impressive work tackling both corporate and personal insolvency matters. Members are frequently called upon to undertake cases arising both in the UK and further afield, and offer significant expertise in the handling of complex multi-jurisdictional disputes. Market commentators note that “the barristers at Wilberforce are highly intelligent and extremely capable” and “have good experience on a range of insolvency matters,” with particular areas of strength for the set spanning administrations, CVAs, restructurings and schemes of arrangement. The team is also regularly instructed in cases involving complex pensions and property elements, owing to the set’s established strengths in these areas. An enviable client list includes creditors, debtors and insolvency office holders. Recent cases of note include defending a former director against wrongful trading and misfeasance claims worth over £160 million in relation to the collapse of BHS.
The Legal 500 2024: Wilberforce Chambers specialise in all aspects of corporate and personal insolvency litigation and advice, both domestically and internationally. Lexa Hilliard KC was instructed In the matter of Lehman Brothers Holdings PLC, a high value and multi-party trial arising out of the Lehman Brothers’ collapse concerned with the ranking of different tranches of subordinated debt, totaling several billions. Marcia Shekerdemian KC specialises in all aspects of personal and corporate insolvency, while Daniel Lewis‘ insolvency practice focusses on director and office-holder misfeasance and cross-border work, with expertise in offshore financial services insolvencies.
TRI Awards: Winner of Insolvency & Restructuring Chambers of the Year 2019, 2020 and 2021.