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Mark is a Partner in the Restructuring & Insolvency team.
Mark advises on a broad range of disputes, including professional negligence, breach of contract claims, shareholder and director disputes, default loan matters, claims of financial wrongdoing and the fraudulent use of trusts and other devices to shield wealth. He also advises on corporate and personal insolvency issues, including the instigation and defence of insolvency proceedings, the prosecution and defence of director disqualification claims and the investigation, prosecution and defence of deprivation of assets allegations against corporate owners.
Mark acts for high-net-worth individuals, owner-managers, corporations, accountants, insolvency practitioners and bridging finance houses. He works across a range of sectors, including leisure, professional services and finance.
Recent examples of how Mark has helped clients include:
- recovering substantial damages for the lender of a hotel and apartment block in a claim for professional negligence where it was alleged damages should be capped at £2 million;
- setting aside a financial settlement agreed between a banking client and a customer, which the bank had been induced to enter on the basis of inaccurate and dishonestly provided information;
- successfully overturning a family trust settlement which had been fraudulently created to deprive our client of their rightful inheritance; and
- securing the withdrawal of a bankruptcy petition maliciously issued against a client by their bank.
Will is a Partner in the Restructuring & Insolvency team.
Will provides legal support to distressed companies and Insolvency Practitioners, whether they are looking to restructure or turnaround an existing business or are required to go through an Insolvency process. He has considerable experience of the various insolvency processes and procedures available to companies in distressed circumstances.
Will is well versed in the potential pitfalls facing directors or individuals trading in difficult periods and often advises directors in respect of their duties and with regards to strategies to minimise the risk of personal liability and allegations of misfeasance.
Will also acts for lenders whose investment is at risk if a business fails by assisting them to consider the various options available to them and the impact of any particular option.
Will acts for companies and individuals who want to purchase assets or business interests from an insolvent company, and he advises landlords who want to mitigate their exposure following a tenant’s collapse.
Will is best known for providing specialist legal support to insolvency practitioners. In particular providing advice as to the handling and implementing of corporate insolvency processes as well as providing advice in respect of complex bankruptcies.
Recent examples of how Will has helped his clients include:
- supporting the administrators and secured lender of a well-known restaurant and hospitality group in the managed closure of underperforming outlets followed by the sale of the flagship restaurant to achieve the best outcome for the stakeholders;
- legal support to a Venture Capitalist in the acquisition of the business and assets of a forensic science company from its administrators, including dealing with the Home Office to ensure a seamless transition of the existing contracts. The delivery of the transaction saved hundreds of jobs;
- assisting the Administrators to manage a competitive marketing process before negotiating and completing the sale of the business and assets of a media company in administration for £17M; and
- advising the board of a plc in respect of their fiduciary duties as the group of circa 80 trading companies was restructured by their secured creditors
Monica is a Partner in the Dispute Resolution and Restructuring & Insolvency teams.
Monica is a personal and corporate insolvency specialist providing advice on a range of contentious and non-contentious matters. Her experience includes the issuing and defending of statutory demands, bankruptcy petitions and winding-up applications, the investigation, prosecution and defence of preference claims and breach of directors' duties charges, the bringing and defending of proceedings based on alleged transactions at an undervalue, the bringing and defending of claims for the possession and sale of property.
Monica investigates beneficial interest claims based in equity, obtains income payment orders and directions permitting the recovery of book debts, and issues or defends UK-based or Europe-wide freezing orders.
Monica represents private individuals, company directors, insolvency practitioners and financial institutions.
Recent examples of Monica's recent cases include:
- successfully applying to vary a Europe-wide freezing order over the assets of a UK-based individual which resulted in the release of more than £3 million to their trustee in bankruptcy;
- settling a breach of directors' duty claim for £1,000 on behalf of a former director, after the claim had been valued by liquidators at more than £140,000;
- recovering in excess of £500,000 from the wife and extended family of a bankrupt individual who, through a series of transactions, had attempted to divest himself of the ownership of any assets; and
- locating and realising significant assets on behalf of a trustee in bankruptcy in a case where money was deposited in numerous bank accounts across Switzerland and France.
Adrian is a Partner in the Restructuring and Insolvency team.
Adrian advises on contentious insolvency matters and commercial debt collection, acting for insolvency practitioners, businesses and individuals.
Adrian’s expertise lies in investigating the reasons for a company’s failure and identifying any potential claims that can be pursued through the Courts for the benefit of the company’s creditors; to include investigating the conduct of directors; antecedent transactions; frauds such as Ponzi and pyramid schemes; and tracing assets in multiple jurisdictions.
Adrian also advises on trust and property issues arising in the context of bankruptcy; investigating the extent of bankrupt’s interest in a property; and realising that interest for the benefit of the bankrupt’s creditors.
Recent examples of how Adrian has helped clients include:
- successfully applying to the court to place a company in administration on the basis of a debt, despite the debt being disputed;
- obtaining a six-figure judgment for the liquidators of a building company in a claim against father and son directors for diverting the proceeds of property sales to a connected company;
- successfully negotiating settlements on behalf of the directors of a financial services company in claims against them by liquidators for illegal dividends, overdrawn loan accounts and misfeasance; and
- securing the release of the majority of a rent deposit for the liquidators of a leisure company.
Mark is a Partner in the Restructuring & Insolvency team.
Mark advises on contentious and non-contentious insolvency matters and on business restructuring to avoid insolvency. This includes advice on pre-insolvency options for creditors and debtors, risk mitigation strategies for asset-based lenders and private equity investors, the use of company voluntary arrangements, company administrations and liquidations, breach of duty and misfeasance claims against directors, antecedent transactions and the recovery of company assets and personal bankruptcies.
Mark also provides advice on the reuse of prohibited name provisions in the Insolvency Act.
Among the insolvency practitioners he acts for are FRP Advisory, Mazars, Moore Kingston Smith, Begbies Traynor and Wilson Field.
Mark also acts for companies, directors, shareholders, private individuals, lenders and creditors.
Recent examples of how Mark has helped clients include:
- overturning a bankruptcy order on behalf of a tax advisor by establishing that the English courts had no jurisdiction because the petitioning bank had not satisfied the centre of main interest test under the Insolvency Act (Masters v Barclays Bank Plc  EWHC 2166 (Ch));
- negotiating the sale of an apartment and student accommodation development on behalf of joint administrators who had been convinced the property would have to be disclaimed as onerous due to complex title problems;
- successfully resisting an administration order against a care home, which was part of a group implicated in a widespread property fraud, by convincing the court to allow creditors to opt into a company voluntary arrangement which was more likely to result in a dividend; and
- recovering a triple figure sum for the liquidator of a collapsed retailer by pursuing a successful misfeasance claim against one of the company’s former directors.
Sebastian LangSenior Associate
Sebastian is a Senior Associate in the Restructuring & Insolvency team.
Sebastian provides wide-ranging advice to companies in financial difficulty, asset-based lenders and invoice finance providers affected by borrower default, insolvency practitioners overseeing an insolvency process and the buyers of businesses and assets out of an insolvency arrangement.
Sebastian advises distressed companies on corporate reorganisation and debt restructuring, company voluntary arrangements, the onward sale of business interests and assets, the appointment of an administrator and the process of putting a company into liquidation. He also advises on directors’ fiduciary duties when running a company on the brink of collapse.
Sebastian’s advice to lenders encompasses the restructuring of borrower debt to improve financial stability, the transfer of debt between companies as part of a wider corporate reorganisation and options for enforcing lender security where failure cannot be avoided.
The support offered to insolvency practitioners includes strategic advice prior to formal appointment, guidance on the legal and technical aspects of the insolvency process, action to recover company debts and help with the onward sale of businesses and assets.
Sebastian’s clients operate in a variety of sectors, including professional and financial services, retail and recruitment.
Recent examples of how Sebastian has helped clients include:
- facilitating the sale of the business and assets of a distressed web-based company in a pre-administration deal likely to clear the company’s debts, cover the costs of insolvency and achieve a return to the company’s shareholders;
- supporting the administrator of a well-known restaurant group in a managed restructure and disposal of business interests, achieving an good return for the secured creditor;
- guiding the board of a logistics company through a restructuring programme designed to comply with ongoing changes to UK taxation rules; and
- recovering £1.5 million for the administrators of a financial services company following the settlement of several directors’ liability claims.
Nikesh PatelSenior Associate
Nikesh is a Senior Associate in the Restructuring & Insolvency team.
He advises on personal and corporate insolvency, disputes arising in the context of individual and company voluntary arrangements, bankruptcies, administrations, and liquidations.
Nikesh is instructed by insolvency practitioners to resolve disputes with creditors, to pursue unpaid debts, to advise in respect of beneficial interest claims in bankruptcy and to recover improperly transferred assets, including those liable to be set aside as being antecedent transactions often involving misfeasant directors. He also advises in respect of assets held abroad.
Nikesh advises individuals on their personal position in an insolvency situation, including bankrupts and also company directors worried about personal liability, breach of statutory duties and the consequences of misfeasance while in office.
Nikesh has negotiated voluntary undertakings in place of directors’ disqualification orders and secured permission for directors to reuse insolvent company names via the prohibited names procedure. He also negotiates undertakings in place of bankruptcy restriction orders.
Nikesh often mentors creditors through the process of trying to maximise returns from insolvent debtors.
Recent examples of how Nikesh has helped clients include:
- recovering a six-figure sum on behalf of administrators following a complex contract dispute between an insolvent company and its former client arising out of a procurement agreement;
- obtaining a worldwide freezing order for a liquidator to compel a misfeasant director to return monies improperly transferred to personal bank accounts shortly before the company’s collapse; and
- advising a trustee in bankruptcy in relation to a bankrupt’s sale of a dentistry practice including a dispute with his ex-wife in respect of Matrimonial Causes Act and ancillary relief proceedings pre-bankruptcy.
Laura is an Associate in the Restructuring & Insolvency team.
Laura advises insolvency practitioners on the pursuit of misfeasance claims against company directors, the recovery of corporate assets in respect of antecedent transactions, the enforcement of personal guarantees, trust and beneficial interest claims arising out of personal bankruptcies, contested possession proceedings and forced property sales.
Laura also advises financially distressed companies on restructuring options, company voluntary arrangements, the negotiation of time to pay agreements with HMRC, the fiduciary duties of directors, and risk mitigation strategies to limit the chances of pre-insolvency transactions being susceptible to attack.
In addition, she supports individuals to defend bankruptcy proceedings, resist attempts to claim matrimonial assets for the benefit of creditors and prevent or delay the sale of the family home.
Laura’s clients include well-known insolvency firms and accountants, SMEs and owner-managed companies, directors and shareholders, private individuals, corporate lenders, secured creditors and debenture holders.
Recent examples of how Laura has helped clients include:
- successfully resisting a winding up petition issued against a global engineering company, and securing a substantial costs order in their favour as the debt was disputed and so the instigation of winding up proceedings was an abuse of process;
- negotiating settlement with an insolvent company on behalf of an animal feeds business by brokering a deal with the administrator on the strength of a contractual retention of title clause, the enforceability of which was disputed;
- resisting an application to set aside a statutory demand served against a tenant for outstanding rent arrears (liability for which was denied), thereby enabling the landlord to petition for the tenant’s bankruptcy and increase their prospect of recovery;
- negotiating a time to pay agreement with HMRC to enable a hospitality business to settle an outstanding VAT account via monthly instalments; and
- recovering a five-figure sum for an insolvency practitioner by persuading a company director to make a voluntary payment to cover losses made on a pre-insolvency transaction, which might have justified the issue of proceedings for misfeasance.
Lucy is an Associate in the Restructuring & Insolvency team.
Lucy advises on contentious personal and corporate insolvency, with an emphasis on bankruptcy investigations and asset realisation, dispute resolution in relation to trusts and beneficial interests in land, contested possession proceedings and applications to effect forced property sales and the prosecution and defence of antecedent transaction claims, including transactions at an undervalue, transactions defrauding creditors and those which amount to a preference.
Lucy acts for insolvency practitioners in their capacity as trustee in bankruptcy or as administrator or liquidator and for individuals and company directors subject to, or implicated in, insolvency proceedings.
Recent examples of how Lucy has helped clients include:
- establishing that there is no fee payable to the Secretary of State where bankruptcy debts and expenses are settled by a third party, even where there are monies within the bankruptcy estate that could have been used: Safier v Wardell  EWHC 20 (Ch);
- obtaining judgment against the former directors of an insolvent company who had breached their fiduciary duties and paid an unlawful dividend, thereby enabling the liquidator to obtain a six-figure personal contribution towards company debts;
- locating and recovering significant assets for a trustee in bankruptcy which had been transferred into the name of the bankrupt’s spouse shortly before a bankruptcy order was made in order to try to put them beyond the reach of creditors; and
- recovering assets worth £1 million for the trustee in bankruptcy of a complex estate by establishing that a trust set up to hold the assets was a sham or, alternatively, a transaction at an undervalue.