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).
Rankings and recognition
TRI Awards 2018:
Shortlisted for Insolvency & Restructuring Chambers of the Year
Chambers UK 2019:
Wilberforce Chambers is a strong commercial chancery set offering significant expertise in a wide range of corporate and personal insolvency matters. Members are regularly instructed in high-profile cases both in the UK and further afield.
The Legal 500 UK 2018:
Wilberforce Chambers is noted for having ‘a good diversity of skillsets’ and ‘excellent’ clerks who ‘work hard to make things happen’. Members were involved in a number of major insolvency matters in 2017, including Leeds v Lemos, a case relating to a high-value and high-profile bankruptcy.
Recent Instructions of note:
- Re Carillion Canada (2018) advising on various issues arising in connection with the Canadian arm of Carillion.
- Re New Look Retailers Limited (2018) advising landlords on rights in relation to CVA.
- Re Biokenetic Europe Limited (2018): representing AstraZeneca UK Limited in the High Court, Northern Ireland on application by administrators for directions re: data protection and medical research records.
- Paylor and others v Bowers and Others  EWHC 2244 (Ch), representing the liquidator and trustees in bankruptcy of the perpetrators of a Forex and teak Ponzi scheme resisting proceedings to discharge a WFO.
- 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