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Adam Cole joins Walkers' Guernsey Insolvency & Dispute Resolution team as partner

Advocate Adam Cole has joined Walkers' Guernsey Insolvency & Dispute Resolution team as a lateral partner hire from another Island firm.

Adam joins partners Alison Ozanne and Sarah Brehaut in the team, which last year saw the arrival of senior associate Helena Lavin and associate Laurent Thibeault's admission as a Guernsey Advocate.

Adam is the latest in a line of lateral partner hires in Walkers' Guernsey team – Advocate Kate Storey joined the firm's Investment Funds team just over a year ago, and group partner Rajah Abusrewil joined the Private Capital & Trusts team in early 2019.

The firm's expansion in Guernsey has seen headcount grow significantly in the last two years.

Alison Ozanne, who leads Walkers' Guernsey Insolvency & Dispute Resolution team, said: "We are delighted to welcome Adam to the team. He has made his mark as a litigator in Guernsey and to be recognised by both leading directories demonstrates the strength of his reputation in the market.

"His specialism in contentious insolvency and trusts matters fits very neatly with our practice, which continues to grow in terms of capacity, reputation and market share."

Adam said: "I am delighted to be joining not just a very highly-regarded international law firm, but also a very well regarded Insolvency & Dispute Resolution team here in Guernsey.

"I look forward to working with Alison, Sarah and the rest of the team, as Walkers continues its international growth strategy."

BVI Commercial Court confirms jurisdiction to sanction pooling across multiple liquidations

Although pooling orders have previously been made by the BVI Court, until now, there has been no published judgment confirming that this is a form of relief available within the BVI. This has now been remedied in the judgment of the BVI Commercial Court in Re Durant International Corp (In Liquidation) & others handed down on 5 December 2019 (BVIHCM (COM) 2017/134).

The applications before the BVI Commercial Court were made by the liquidators of three BVI companies, Durant International Corp (“Durant”), Kildare Finance Ltd (“Kildare”) and MacDoel Investment Ltd (“MacDoel”). The Liquidators sought an order that the estates of Durant, Kildare and MacDoel to be treated as being and be notionally pooled for the purposes of (i) the payment of the liquidators’ fees and expenses, (ii) reporting, and (iii) distributions.

The background to the case was an extensive fraud, carried out between 1993 and 1996 by the then mayor of São Paulo in Brazil, Paulo Salim Maluf. Mr Maluf and members of his family were alleged to have accepted bribes and kickbacks at the expense of the municipality. Those funds were laundered as part of a coordinated scheme involving a web of interconnected transactions and a series of credits and debits between intermediaries including Durant and Kildare and MacDoel.

The Judge found that an analysis of the movement of monies between each of Durant, Kildare and MacDoel was likely to be a time-consuming exercise, with no practical advantage given, in particular, that the only creditors of all three companies were the City of São Paulo and the State of Brazil to whom it was a matter of indifference from which company a distribution comes. Accordingly, the Judge was satisfied that, if he had jurisdiction, this would be an appropriate case in which a pooling order might be made.

The Judge concluded that he did have jurisdiction to grant a pooling order: the BVI Court's jurisdiction in this regard is derived from Schedule 2 to the Insolvency Act 2003 (the "BVI Act"). Schedule 2 gives liquidators of BVI companies the power, inter alia, to make a compromise or arrangement with creditors or persons claiming to be creditors, or having or alleging that they have any claim against the company, whether present or future, certain or contingent, ascertained or not (Clause 2) and the power to compromise on such terms as may be agreed (a) calls and liabilities to calls, debts and liabilities capable of resulting in debts, and claims, whether present or future, certain or contingent, ascertained or not, subsisting or supposed to subsist between the company and any person; and (b) questions in any way relating to or affecting the assets or the liquidation of the company (Clause 3). These powers are mirrored in the powers conferred on liquidators in the standard form of order made in the BVI upon a winding up, invariably subject to the sanction of the Court, and were conferred on the liquidators in this case subject to the sanction of the Court by the terms of the Orders appointing them.

In reaching his decision on jurisdiction, the Judge followed the decision of the English Court of Appeal in Bank of Credit and Commerce International SA (No 3), citing in support the passage in the judgment of Dillon LJ [1993] BCLC 1490 (at p1510) where he confirmed that “…in a liquidation… there can be a departure from the pari passu rule if it is merely ancillary to the exercise of any of the powers which are exercisable with the sanction of the Court under Part I of Schedule 4 to the Insolvency Act 1986". Part I of Schedule 4 to the Insolvency Act 1986 is in materially identical terms to Schedule 2 of the BVI Act . In the instant case, the pooling arrangement would not in fact involve a departure from the pari passu principle since the same two creditors were creditors of the three companies concerned.

Drawing comfort from that, and from the fact that similar orders have been made in Jersey and the Cayman Islands, the Judge was content to make an order sanctioning the pooling arrangement.

Whilst the decision breaks no new ground, it is useful to have a reported decision in which the BVI Commercial Court confirms that, in an appropriate case, it will sanction a pooling arrangement.

Walkers Leads Offshore in Legal 500 Asia-Pacific 2020

Walkers' Hong Kong office has once again been ranked in Band 1 for Offshore Law by Legal 500 in the 2020 Asia-Pacific Guide and lead the jurisdiction with five lawyers ranked as 'Leading Individuals'.

Described by Legal 500 as "One of the strongest offshore teams in Hong Kong", Walkers' 11-partner team "is very experienced across Cayman and BVI laws."

One source described Walkers as "hungrier than most of the offshore firms. Also, they tend to be quite proactive on deals rather than just waiting for the transaction counsel to ask them to do their offshore bits and pieces."

Walkers' Leading Individuals:

Walkers is spearheaded by "exceptional" managing partner Andy Randall, who provides "well-coordinated and highly professional advice" to clients across a broad range of funds, corporate, litigation and finance-related matters.

Paul Aherne has a "broad perspective of the market" and is regularly at the forefront of the highest-profile mandates handled by the office, including his work for Deutsche Bank on the restructured financing to Noble Group and for Morgan Stanley on the financing of The Centre, one of Hong Kong's most prestigious commercial buildings.

A fluent Mandarin speaker, the "thorough and commercial" Denise Wong heads up the China practice and excels in handling private funds work, both on the fund formation side and M&A front.

The "knowledgeable and practical" Timothy Haynes is, according to one client, "undoubtedly the best offshore dispute resolution partner in Hong Kong" and provides "very measured and strategic advice" on contentious insolvency matters, as well as broader commercial disputes.

The investment funds side of Walkers' practice was also recently strengthened by the arrival in August 2018 of the "excellent" James Gaden.

Listen Up! - Jersey Public Speaking Competition

Organised by Walkers (Jersey) LLP, Listen Up! is a competition open to year 12 and 13 students, which aims to encourage public speaking.

The competition
Students are invited to create a 2-4 minute vlog answering the question:

“What does liberation mean to you?”

In answering this question, the vlog may explore any topic important to the applicant and need not be directly related to liberation of the Channel Islands in 1945. The vlog will be evaluated for:

  • interpretation of brief;
  • creativity;
  • presentation skills; and
  • enthusiasm.

A shortlist of applicants will be invited to present their speech to a panel in the week commencing 10th February 2020.

The shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend a public event hosted by Walkers on the afternoon of 27 February 2019 to celebrate equality and diversity in the run up to International Women’s Day 2020 titled: A celebration of liberation through the generations. The event will include a variety of speakers, a celebration picnic, an interactive panel discussion and networking opportunities.

The competition winner will receive a £200 cash prize and will also be granted the opportunity to deliver their speech at the event.

Submission information
To apply, entrants should complete a submission form and submit this together with their vlog (please ensure to save the file with your first and last name to avoid any confusion) to: https://walkersglobal.sharefile.com/r-rf1b26c8348f490b9

Submission Deadline:
Tuesday 4 February 2020


Competition Flyer


Submission Form


This competition is governed by applicable Terms and Conditions. Any further questions regarding the competition can be directed to Meg McAuley on: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Greater powers to administrators and liquidators under new Guernsey Insolvency Law reforms

Reforms to Guernsey's insolvency legislation to give greater powers to administrators and liquidators and streamline distribution processes are likely to be enacted in the very near future after a new law was passed by the States of Guernsey yesterday.

Partner Sarah Brehaut from Walkers' Guernsey Insolvency & Dispute Resolution team said that the changes to the law would update and modernise the jurisdiction's insolvency legislation, following a discussion and consultation process that has lasted almost seven years.

The new law – formally entitled the Companies (Guernsey) Law, 2008 (Insolvency) (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 – contains many new provisions which will bring Guernsey's insolvency regime more in line with that of other offshore jurisdictions and, indeed, the UK.

In summary the changes to the law provide that:

• If it likely to assist the achievement of any purpose for which the administration order was made an administrator will be able to make distributions to secured creditors and those with a preferred debt under the 1983 Preferred Debts (Guernsey) Law;
• A company may be dissolved on a specified date, following the discharge of an administration order, where it appears to the Court that a company has no assets that might permit a distribution to creditors.
• There will be an initial meeting of creditors within one month of the date of an administration order (or such other time as the Court sees fit)
• Where it is proposed to wind up a company voluntarily, the board of directors may make a declaration of solvency, stating the company satisfies the solvency test - if they do not make such a declaration, the company may not appoint a liquidator that is not independent.
• Liquidators will have a positive duty to report delinquent directors to the Companies Registry and the Guernsey Financial Services Commission.
• Liquidators and Administrators may require a statement of affairs from officers of the company (or others named in s387(3) of the Companies Law)
• Liquidators will have enhanced powers to apply to Court for the production of documents from company officers and to apply to the Court for public examination of those who have been officers of the Company.
• With the permission of the Court liquidators may now, by giving notice, disclaim onerous property; and
• New provisions also appear in relation to transactions at an undervalue and extortionate credit transactions, 

Sarah, who is also the Island's Bâtonnier, said that the reforms were a clear modernising step that would be welcomed by insolvency practitioners as well as legal counsel.

She said: "Guernsey's company and partnership insolvency regime is part of the foundation of the Island's attraction and success as an international financial services centre.

"These reforms, which have been produced in consultation and co-operation with the industry, are the first meaningful amendments to Guernsey Insolvency law for several years, and will offer even more certainty and clarity in respect of processes, independence and powers.

"We anticipate that the ordinance will be enacted swiftly, so anyone dealing with an active insolvency matter – or who is likely to be – should be seeking advice on the implications of the new law."

Walkers continues to grow its Corporate Services business with New Senior Vice President hire

Walkers is pleased to announce the appointment of Joanna Taylor as Senior Vice President of Walkers Professional Services (Ireland) where she will be based in the Dublin office.

Commenting on Joanna's appointment, Fiona de Lacy, MD of Walkers Professional Services said: "I am delighted that Joanna has joined our senior team. The growth and expansion of our corporate services group will further enhance Walkers ability to provide a one-stop solution for our clients for legal, tax, listings and corporate services, both here in Ireland and internationally. Since establishing the Irish WPS business with a team of 2 in 2016 the team has grown consistently and now comprises 26 dedicated corporate services professionals with Joanna's appointment. The team is expected to grow by a further 25% during 2020 and the addition at this juncture of an individual with the experience that Joanna brings, reflects both our ambition and our commitment to serving the needs of our clients at the highest level."

In her new role, Joanna will be responsible for overseeing a team who manage the transaction obligations of a large portfolio of aircraft leasing and securitisation SPVs, including CLO, CMBS, SRT, receivables and other securitisation transactions. Joanna brings a wealth of experience as an SPV director to WPS having served on the board of directors of a wide range of SPVs.

Prior to joining Walkers Professional Services, Joanna was Head of Relationship Management in the Irish office of Wilmington Trust, managing a relationship management team that provided corporate administration and trust services to structured finance and equipment leasing transactions. Joanna has spent over a decade specialising in corporate administration services and has significant experience in the provision of director services to Irish SPVs. She previously worked in Capita IFS where she led the Business Development Team. Prior to this Joanna worked in the aircraft leasing and structured finance department of AIB International Financial Services.

Remarking on her new appointment with Walkers, Joanna said: "I am delighted to join Walkers Professional Services Ireland, as Senior Vice President. I look forward to working with Fiona de Lacy and being part of this dynamic and growing team."