Corporate Restructuring & Insolvency

Our Corporate Restructuring & Insolvency Group provides a comprehensive service on all aspects of insolvency (including contentious insolvency), corporate recovery and personal bankruptcy. The team is involved in many of Ireland’s recent high profile insolvencies and corporate restructurings.

Our specialist team advises leading Irish and international insolvency practitioners (liquidators, receivers, examiners, administrators and trustees), financial institutions, investors, creditors (secured and unsecured), directors, shareholders and other stakeholders in restructuring or business termination events. We use our experience to design and implement innovative commercial solutions in this complex field.

While we act in all sectors, we have specific experience in aviation, manufacturing, retail, financial services, technology and property-based businesses. We also have particular expertise in the conduct of complex insolvency assignments with cross-border dimensions.

 

Our team has been involved in some of Ireland's most significant and high profile insolvencies and restructurings. Our recent experience includes:

  • Advising Ballantyne Re plc on an Irish law scheme of arrangement to restructure US$1.6bn of New York law governed notes.
  • acting for Naval Energies SAS in petitioning the High Court for the appointment of Joint Liquidators to the OpenHydro Group and resisting a petition for examinership presented by certain minority shareholders;
  • advising NAMA appointed receiver, Declan MacDonald of PwC, in defence of proceedings issued by a property developer;
  • acting for the Karen Millen Group in its acquisition of certain Coast assets from the provisional liquidator of the Irish entity following administration of the parent; 
  • advising EY as the Joint Administrators of Nortel Networks (Ireland) Limited;
  • acting for DVB Bank SE in the share enforcement of Irish entities in the Alitalia group structure;
  • acting for PK Airfinance SARL in the share enforcement of Irish entities in the Alitalia group structure;
  • acting for Kieran Wallace of KPMG as Share Receiver of certain Quinn group companies, following his appointment to this role by IBRC;
  • advising the Irish public private partnership joint venture, Inspiredspaces Bundle 5 (Ireland) Limited, on the fallout from the high profile collapse of its joint venture partner, Carillion plc, and the liquidation of Sammon Contracting Ireland Limited;
  • advising a number of retailers through successful examinership processes, including:
    • Mothercare Ireland Limited;
    • Debenhams Retail (Ireland) Limited;
    • B&Q Ireland Limited;
  • acting for Neil Hughes of Baker Tilly Hughes Blake as Examiner of FCR Media Limited and related companies, which operates the Golden / Yellow Pages and telephone directory business in Ireland;
  • acting for Neil Hughes of Baker Tilly Hughes Blake as Interim Examiner of Yvolve Sports Limited (the manufacturer and supplier of the Flicker Scooter);
  • acting for Neil Hughes of Baker Tilly Hughes Blake as Examiner of Regan Development Limited (The Regency Hotel);
  • advising the Airplane Group on its long term wind down and ultimate appointment of Liquidators following the conclusion of litigation in New York;
  • acting for George Maloney of RSM Ireland as Liquidator of Eurosurgical Limited and in related asset recovery proceedings;
  • advising CBL Insurance Europe DAC on the liquidation of its principal reinsurer and its consequent administration under Irish law;
  • advising Afilias plc on the successful implementation of a scheme of arrangement to restructure the holding of its share capital;
  • advising in relation to the high profile Quinn International Property Group (under new management) on the retrieval of its international property portfolio including significant assets in Ireland, England, The Czech Republic, Russia, Ukraine and India;
  • acting for the directors of a company that operated a retail store in disqualification / restriction proceedings;
  • advising stakeholders in numerous retail insolvencies and restructurings, including:
    • Bradley Pharmacy Group;
    • Monsoon Accessorize Ireland Limited;
    • H.M.V. Ireland Limited;
    • Xtra Vision Limited;
    • House of Fraser;
    • Carpetright plc.

COVID-19: Company Law Changes

The temporary changes would allow electronic shareholder/creditor meetings and an extended period of protection for companies in examinership during the COVID-19 crisis.


Corporate Restructuring & Insolvency – Guidance for Directors During COVID-19 and Beyond

We consider the duties which directors of Irish companies need to be particularly conscious of given the significant challenges faced by many companies during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.


Proving the Debt - Hearsay Rule Still Applies in Debt Claims

In this article we discuss a recent case that highlights the evidential difficulties for lenders in obtaining summary judgment against debtors and the lack of clarity in the area.


ODCE Issues Guidance for Directors Affected by COVID-19 Pandemic

The ODCE has issued welcome guidance for directors concerned about restriction proceedings due to the COVID-19 pandemic


Law in Motion Podcast Discusses the Irish Restructuring Toolkit with William Fry

Listen to Ruairi Rynn (Corporate Restructuring & Insolvency Partner) as he joins the Debtwire Europe podcast to discuss if Dublin's dream to become a European restructuring hub could become a reality.


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We are consistently ranked as one of the leading Insolvency and Corporate Recovery law firms in Ireland.

Department

  • William Fry has "a very strong insolvency and corporate restructuring team – with a full service firm to drawn on as the needs of the case dictates. Extensive credentials across all formal insolvency types and in a number of sectors." The team has "top expertise and outstanding service in complex insolvency and corporate restructuring worldwide." They have also been described by clients as the "go-to big 5 firm for contentious matters. Team strengths are the depth in resources, excellent advice coupled with practical application – you really get a sense of reassurance particularly in contentious matters. They can pull in advice from non-insolvency areas and the one-stop-shop approach works really well where time constraints exist. You know that the mandate matters to them and they will work unashamedly to get the desired outcome" Legal 500 2020
  • Interviewees enthuse: "They are extremely pleasant, responsive and technically able. They have the capacity to find practical solutions to complex and sensitive legal problems." Another clients adds: "the team is in the top tier of insolvency lawyers in Ireland," describing the practitioners as "accessible at all times and very reassuring." Chambers Europe 2020  
  • One client said "the insolvency team at William Fry provided outstanding advice and help to my company in a very difficult situation. The firm's strength lies in its people including Ruairi Rynne who were engaged, proactive and prompt in their advice". Another client states: "very professional firm with a good team in place. Their strength is their people and breadth of experience on various projects". Another says: "William Fry has been exemplary in its work. It has assigned experts to what has been a very technically demanding assignment. A very responsive and professional approach has been adopted consistently". And another praising: "William Fry displayed excellent technical and legal expertise. As an insolvency practitioner it is very reassuring to have the highest level of practical and legal advice when facing into litigation. They have a deep understanding of Irish insolvency law. They understand the expectations of their client while appreciating and clearly explaining the risks involved. They are at the very top of my list of firms". IFLR 1000 2019
  • A client states "a leading firm in the restructuring and insolvency areas, with one of the strongest teams at partner and associate level". A client lauds the team's "strong legal understanding that backs up its logical and commercial approach". Chambers Europe 2019
  • One client remarks: "They respond in a timely manner and avoid last-minute panic. The quality of the work is excellent and you can clearly see that they take time to ensure they understand the instruction and listen to the client's views and concerns." Sources also note: "They are very easy to work with, have the insolvency knowledge that we require and are responsive." Chambers Europe, 2018
  • Clients appreciate the depth of the practice, with one client praising its ability to "offer a wide range of service capabilities" with another commending "the extent to which the firm could draw on a variety of different specialisms as the need arises."
  • Clients value the level of partner contact they have experienced, noting: "Their availability is something that is always appreciated." Chambers Europe 2017
  • A long-established and well-respected firm, with experienced solicitors who have in-depth knowledge of legislation. Not only are the lawyers technically proficient, but they are also commercially minded in arriving at possible solutions. "The firm provides an excellent service, offering quality advice and strong leadership. The team is one of the most responsive of all the big firms." Chambers Europe 2016

Team

Fergus Doorly

  •  According to Legal 500 2020, Fergus is "a brilliant lawyer and thinks carefully about cases, the pitfalls and the strategy. He sees the big picture while not missing any of the detail. You won’t go wrong with Fergus in your team." Another clients adds that he is a "trusted advisor with extensive knowledge of pertinent case law."
  • Fergus "is a really astute insolvency lawyer. Well respected among his peers and contentious issues arising do not faze him. He is always highly responsive with advice, not just highly responsive for the sake of it. From a client perspective, even though he is instructed on a large number of mandates, you get the service as if you were the sole client." Legal 500 2020
  • Clients say Fergus "always provides quality advice in a timely manner that clearly focuses on the issues at hand." Chambers Europe 2020 
  • Fergus is deeply respected by market commentators, who consider him to be a highly experienced practitioner in this field. He has notable experience of examinerships, liquidations and receivership and routinely represents directors and shareholders of insolvent companies.  Chambers Europe 2018 
  • Clients consider Fergus to be "strategically and tactically very good" in corporate litigation. Chambers Europe 2017
  • "Fergus Doorly is a superb lawyer.  His advice is reasoned, considered and delivered in a calm reassuring way. He knows the court system and can anticipate problems well in advance,”  IFLR 100 2017

  • Market commentators state "He is really good at identifying pitfalls for the client and will suggest innovative, unprecedented and adventurous techniques. He gives strategic input by taking an objective viewpoint on whether or not a new approach might logically work, even if it has not been tried before." Chambers 2016 

Ruairi Rynn

  •  "Ruairi is an excellent insolvency solicitor. Very commercial, focuses on the key issues quickly and very responsive. He has the ability to explain and deal with complex issues and to develop innovative solutions." says one satisfied client. Another says Ruairi is a "consummate professional in his role, exhibiting skill, diligence and client awareness." Legal 500 2020
  • Sources describe Ruairi as "an up-and-coming lawyer with very strong knowledge and experience in insolvency matters." Chambers Europe 2020
  • According to IFLR1000 2020 Ruairi is "a very competent restructuring advisor with a wealth of experience to draw on. Commercial and technically strong yet approachable and adept at providing practical solutions."  
  • Ruairi Rynn  is valued by clients as "a very astute and capable solicitor who is technically very strong and commercial." Chambers Europe 2019
  • A client states "excellent adviser" Ruairi Rynn, who "has terrific judgement". Legal 500 2019
  • Ruairi Rynn is singled out for praise by market commentators, who note: "He is commercial, practical and technically quite strong," adding that "clients find him very good to deal with." He was a member of the team that advised Investor Compensation Company as a significant stakeholder in the liquidation of Custom House Capital. Chambers Europe 2018
  • A happy client says “A very talented associate who handles matters efficiently and has the potential to be a rising star.” IFLR 1000 2018
  • Ruairi  is singled out for praise by market commentators, who note: "He is commercial, practical and technically quite strong," adding that "clients find him very good to deal with." Chambers Europe 2018
  • Ruairi is described as “a very talented associate who handles matters efficiently and has the potential to be a rising star.” IFLR 1000 2018
  • As an Associate Ruairi was ranked as a "Next Generation Lawyer" for Insolvency and Corporate Recovery in the Legal 500 2017 and an "Associate to Watch" by Chambers Europe 2017

Craig Sowman

  • Craig has been described as "an experienced insolvency solicitor. He is approachable, practical with extensive sectoral expertise." IFLR 1000 2020 
  • According to Legal 500 2020, Craig is "technical and efficient yet very approachable. He provides clear concise advice always focusing on the key issues and with excellent attention to detail. He is proactive and pragmatic." Another client adds that Craig is "a top notch, relatively newly appointed partner. Excellent insolvency knowledge and a real, no-nonsense approach to issues arising. You always feel you are in good hands when he is instructed on an assignment. Really good at resolving key issues. He can see the issues from the outset. He is always available and highly responsive."
  • Chambers Europe 2020 has ranked Craig as up and coming due to notable market support. He represents debtors, creditors and insolvency practitioners in administration, examinership and liquidation proceedings. Interviewees describe him as "tough, pragmatic and innovative."
  • Craig has been ranked as a "Next Generation Lawyer" for Insolvency and Corporate Recovery in  Legal 500.

Key Contacts

Fergus Doorly Partner

Ruairi Rynn Partner

Craig Sowman Partner

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