Insolvency & Restructuring
Lisa Linklater K.C. is a leading silk with an established reputation nationally for her expertise, advocacy, advice and strategic excellence in all aspects of insolvency and restructuring. Lisa is recommended by both Chambers UK Bar 2024 and Legal 500 UK Bar 2024 as a Band 1 silk in this field of practice.
Lisa has vast experience in acting for administrators, liquidators, LPA receivers, supervisors, creditors, directors and trustees in bankruptcy in high value, legally and factually complex and often high-profile:
- Claims against directors and accomplices (including breaches of directors’ duties, misfeasance, dishonest assistance, knowing receipt, conspiracy, wrongful trading, loan accounts and unlawful dividends). Lisa has parallel expertise and a very strong practice in shareholder disputes, which also involve directors’ duties and company law.
- Technical applications within corporate insolvency involving novel points of law under the Insolvency Act 1986, cross-border issues or wider legal issues such as property.
- Lisa brings her 18 years of experience in cases involving novel points of statutory construction as Junior Counsel to the Crown, as well as her wider experience in Chancery and commercial law and practice to such applications.
- Issues relating to fixed and floating charges, including priority of charge holders and creditors.
- Office holder claims under the Insolvency Act 1986 (transactions at an undervalue, transactions defrauding creditors, preferences, wrongful and fraudulent trading).
- Commercial fraud (see further Lisa’s commercial fraud CV).
- Asset recovery (e.g. trusts, real property, tracing and retention of title).
- Contested administration applications and winding up petitions.
- Challenges to CVAs.
- Cross-border issues.
Lisa is recognised for her expertise, creativity and ability to deal with novel issues, as well as the value she brings to claims strategically given her significant experience as lead trial Counsel in cases involving insolvency and company law issues.
Lisa is adept in cases involving forensic accounting, digital forensic expert reports and other specialist and expert evidence.
Lisa is valued for her ability to effectively lead and bring out the best in the legal teams she is leading for the benefit of clients.
Lisa served as Junior Counsel to the Crown (Attorney General’s Regional Panel) for three consecutive terms (18 years) and was regularly instructed by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in high-profile, complex company director disqualification applications and public interest winding up petitions, as well as by HM Revenue and Customs in precedent-setting cases and multi-million pound tax fraud cases. She is currently instructed as lead Counsel by the Secretary of State for Business and Trade in a complex director disqualification in the retail sector.
Recent highlights of Lisa’s practice include:
- Re Torotrak plc (in liquidation) EWHC 115 (Ch): Successfully secured directions from the High Court for liquidators in an application involving novel issues arising from a proposed distribution in a liquidation to a significant number of members, residing around the globe (2023).
- Advising LPA receivers and lender in respect of priority between a debenture and option agreement, involving lending of £9 million (2023).
- Advising and acting as lead Counsel for the Secretary of State for Business and Trade in a director disqualification matter in the retail sector (2023).
- Cleveland Bridge UK Limited (in administration): Successfully secured directions from the High Court for joint administrators of a former global leader in the design of complex structures including the Shard on a complex application relating to the distribution of £7 million. The application involved novel issues relating to fixed and floating charges, the equitable doctrine of marshalling, substantial preferential creditor claims by HM Revenue and Customs and Saudi law (2022).
- Advising household name and successfully securing settlement in collaboration with instructing solicitors in responding to claims by the liquidators further to s127 Insolvency Act 1986 (2022).
- Advising a construction company as to whether claims in excess of £1m for alleged breach of a design and construction contract for 66 homes were within or outside a company voluntary arrangement. Working within a solicitor team including specialists in construction and insolvency law (2022).
- Advising high-profile respondent to statutory demand for £11.7 million and involving complex issues on the construction of a suite of finance documentation and issues relating to the release of collateral security over property with development potential (2022).
- Securing a favourable settlement for the defendants to a £5 million misfeasance and transaction defrauding creditors claim, brought by the liquidators of an offshore partnership that had moved onshore in long-running HCt BPC proceedings (2018 – 2021).
- Acted for trustee in bankruptcy in long-running second bankruptcy with myriad of issues including significant undisclosed assets and a high value of creditors (2020 – 2022).
- Laurence Bassini v Inner Circle Investments Limited  EWHC 3024 (Comm):Successfully acted for the administrator of the holding company of Bolton Wanderers football club in obtaining indemnity costs following an unsuccessful application for an injunction.
- Obtaining an early and favourable settlement of threatened claim by liquidators for breaches of directors’ duties, unlawful dividends and transfer of assets at an undervalue, valued at over £1 million (2020).
- Successfully acting for the liquidator in a claim against a de facto director for breach of directors’ duties (2018 – 2020).
Lisa is widely published in company and insolvency law including in R3’s Recovery and Sweet & Maxwell’s Insolvency Intelligence. She is a member of the editorial advisory board of the Company Lawyer. Recent seminars presented by Lisa include the new moratorium and restructuring plans introduced by the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 and directors’ duties.
In 2015 she was appointed as a member of the prestigious expert advisory group on a project on Security Rights & the European Insolvency Regulation, a partnership between the University of Leeds and other leading universities. Lisa is also a member of the advisory board of the Centre for Business Law and Practice at the University of Leeds.
She is a fellow of R3 and full member of the Insolvency Lawyers’ Association.
She is vice-chair of the Northern Business and Property Bar Association.
In addition to the above recent highlights, further illustrations of Lisa’s experience in insolvency in previous years is as follows:
LITIGATION AND CONTESTED INSOLVENCY PROCEEDINGS
Lisa is frequently instructed as Counsel in corporate insolvency litigation and contested insolvency proceedings. She has a very strong practice in claims relating to breaches directors’ duties, built from repeat instructions in this area, as well as in shareholder disputes and from having acted as Junior Counsel to the Crown for 18 years in directors’ disqualification claims.
- Acting in a number of claims against directors in respect of loan accounts (2020 – 2021).
- Assisting liquidator in claims of over £1 million against directors for breaches of their duties and wrongful trading where complex limitation issues arise (2018 – 2019).
- Advising and assisting liquidators of a company that had supplied luxury coaches in obtaining substantial recoveries in claims under section 127 of the Insolvency Act 1986 (voidable transactions) (2015 – 2018).
- Successfully obtaining settlement for liquidator of claims of unlawful dividends and misfeasance against directors (2018).
- Successfully obtaining settlement for Defendants to serious claims of knowing assistance, knowing receipt and related tracing claims, brought by a company registered in Gibraltar, acting by its liquidators where the claims and costs were in excess of £1 million. The case settled at the court door (2017).
- Successfully obtaining winding up order of company owning valuable Wagyu cattle and at the centre of dispute between shareholders (2017).
- Lisa successfully acted for the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills in obtaining the disqualification of both a managing and other director of companies which had been involved in an intricate MTIC VAT fraud, involving complex facts: Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills v Khan & Warry EWHC 1381 (Ch).
Lisa continues to be first choice Counsel for many leading firms on technical and often unusual issues arising in liquidations and administrations, as well as contested administration applications and winding up petitions.
- Representing supervisors in challenge to voluntary arrangement, involving technical issues on the Insolvency Rules and Insolvency Act (2020).
- Successfully acted for judgment creditor of company in recovering money previously frozen under freezing orders, which was the subject of dispute with the liquidator of the debtor company (2019).
- Representing administrators of a limited liability partnership in the agriculture sector in applications to make a distribution to unsecured creditors (2018).
- Re Graico Property Co Ltd (in administration)  BCC 15 (Norris J). Acted for administrators on a precedent case of practical importance for insolvency practitioners as to the scope of the court’s powers when ending administration.
- Represented the liquidator of a company with valuable property and related to a members’ club affiliated with a political party, in novel application for directions raising numerous precedent issues (2016).
- Advised public sector stakeholders in the Insolvency Rules on consultation on the amendment of the Insolvency Rules (2011).
- Lisa acted for the owner of Valley Parade in respect of issues arising from the Company Voluntary Arrangement of Bradford City Football Club over a decade ago.
REAL PROPERTY AND TRUSTS IN AN INSOLVENCY CONTEXT
Lisa is adept at handling real property and trusts issues in an insolvency context, including LPA receiverships.
- Acting for a high-profile retailer following its purchase from administrators in defending emergency proceedings for the delivery up of items in the high-street stores it was occupying (2018).
- Representing a purchaser of a pharmaceutical business from administrators in claim by landlord for dilapidations and unpaid rent. Landlord is relying upon Jervis v Pillar Denton Ltd for priority over other creditors (2017).
- Advice as to whether a grant by a charity to a company in liquidation was held on Quistclose trusts (2016).
- Firstpoint Security Trustee Ltd v Enterprise House Development Ltd & ors: Acted for Law of Property Act receivers of a hotel in the Midlands in successfully defending injunctive proceedings brought by second charge holder and securing payment of the costs and expenses of the receivers (2014).
- Successfully obtaining a settlement sufficient to clear the debts and expenses of the bankruptcy by establishing a proprietary interest in the estate of the former spouse of the bankrupt (2013).
Lisa has extensive experience of matters involving commercial fraud.
Successfully represented the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in winding up companies in the public interest that had:
- Acted as the trustee of pension funds of over £4 million and yet could not clearly explain the application of those funds (2018).
- Defrauded members of the public who had understood that the companies would engage in trading in binary options on their behalf Directional Solutions Ltd & ors(2017).
- Falsely promised investors in the United Kingdom lucrative returns on alleged gold mining operations. The companies were registered in South and Central America (2015).
- Successfully representing the Official Receiver in both the Crown and High Court in connection with civil proceedings arising from a criminal investigation into the storage and sale of non-duty paid goods and associated money laundering activity (2015) (Proceedings in both the HCt and Crown Ct).
COMMERCIAL LITIGATION IN AN INSOLVENCY CONTEXT
Lisa is a popular choice for commercial litigation in an insolvency context, for instance involving purchasers of businesses or commercial properties.
- Laurence Bassini v Inner Circle Investments Limited & ors  EWHC 3024 (Comm): Successfully acted for the administrator of the holding company of Bolton Wanderers football club in obtaining indemnity costs following an unsuccessful application for an injunction.
- Acted for Sports Direct following its purchase from administrators in defending emergency proceedings for the delivery up of items in the high-street stores it was occupying (2018).
- Representing company that bought a pharmaceutical business from a company in administration in claims brought by the administrators that the terms of the business sale agreement have been breached (2017).
- Successfully defending injunctive relief proceedings brought by a major manufacturer of bed products that had purchased a portfolio of properties from administrators in a “fire sale” and obtaining a favourable settlement of claim before a six day trial. The claim centred on allegations of civil fraud and was related to high profile criminal proceedings relating to the premises (2016).
- Close Asset Finance Limited v B & ors: Defended application for repossession of specialist machinery, used to make medical milk for export pursuant to licence, and subject to hire purchase agreements, brought by finance house. The first hearing of the application settled, preserving use of machinery for client during administration (2015).
- M v Focus (DIY) Limited: Successfully obtained large settlement for creditor of company in administration in respect of goods with a value of in excess of £1m that were subject to a retention of title clause. Lisa also acted for a creditor in similar circumstances in the administration of Courts plc.
- Acting for trustees in bankruptcy in obtaining suspension of discharge of bankruptcy and declaration that £500,000 was after-acquired property (2021).
- Successfully obtained settlement for clients in complex case as to whether a debt of approximately £300,000 due to a bank had been released by a bank under the terms of an individual voluntary arrangement and whether a mortgage secured those debts (2020).
- Lisa acted for the bankrupt in a precedent claim following the case of Horton v Henry  EWCA Civ 989 against a trustee in bankruptcy to recover pensions drawn down by the trustee in bankruptcy (2017).
- Advising trustee in bankruptcy in relation to alleged sham trust of property worth over £1 million (2017).
- Represented a German bank in “bankruptcy tourism” case involving a Turkish national who had borrowed significant amounts from the bank to develop property in Germany (2016).
- Successfully acting for an Irish national, made bankrupt in England, on a unique application under s281(5) Insolvency Act 1986 for an order to release him from liability under a court order in Ireland to pay damages for negligence for personal injury following an affray (2016).
- Successfully representing a former multi-millionaire, made bankrupt following his participation in an aggressive tax scheme, in opposing an application by his trustee in bankruptcy to suspend his discharge from bankruptcy on grounds of alleged failure to cooperate (2015).
- Successfully obtaining an indefinite suspension of discharge of bankruptcy of a property developer, based in Ireland, with affairs crossing multiple jurisdictions (2013).
- Gittins v Serco Home Affairs  1 WLR 1218 Whether or not debtor (who was in prison) was entitled to petition for own bankruptcy and consequently whether bankruptcy order should be annulled. Instructed by creditor.
- Pettit v Novacovic  BCC 462 (Norris J) Succeeded on behalf of trustee in bankruptcy in obtaining payment from agent (bankrupt’s accountant) who had received monies from bankrupt after bankruptcy. Hollicourt (Contracts) Ltd v Bank of Ireland was distinguished.
- Re Johnson  BPIR 987 Represented Official Receiver in precedent case on application by discharged bankrupt for an annulment of his bankruptcy.