Insolvency and Restructuring

Carson McDowell has rejuvenated its insolvency and restructuring practice and has strong links with the majority of lenders and insolvency practitioners in Belfast, together with the larger insolvency practices further afield. The team has worked with NAMA, Bank of Ireland, Bank of Scotland/Certus, JP Morgan Chase Bank, Credit Suisse, First Trust Bank, and Irish Bank Resolution Corporation Limited, together with insolvency practitioners from KPMG, PWC, Deloitte, Horwood Neill Holmes, RSM McClure Watters, BDO, Cavanagh Kelly and fixed charge receivers from BTW Shiells, Osborne King, and Morton Pinpoint.

We advise all the major domestic financial institutions in relation to options and strategies for enforcement of security or renegotiation and restructuring of distressed debt portfolios, together with advising administrators, receivers, liquidators and trustees in bankruptcy pre and post-appointment. The team has also advised several major borrowers in relation to restructuring of debt and advice on insolvency options.

Our specialist lawyers work with teams across the firm to provide comprehensive in-house support for clients managing distressed debt, including specific advice on distressed property matters which form the majority of the current appointments in Northern Ireland. The team draws from the vast array of specialisms within the firm to advise on specific issues facing insolvency practitioners and fixed charge receivers, including licensing matters, construction queries, planning and environmental concerns and employment matters. It is this wide array of specialist knowledge within the wider team that allows us to deal with any query, no matter how novel, arising during an enforcement scenario.

What we do

  • Security review and reporting
  • Advice on powers of receivers and insolvency practitioners
  • Appointment of IPs and receivers
  • Advice in relation to IVAs and CVAs
  • Debt restructuring and debt for equity swaps
  • Loan book acquisitions and restructuring
  • Incentivised exit strategies
  • Consideration and challenge of Centre of Main Interests (COMI) issues
  • Advising directors of insolvent companies
  • Disposal and realisation of assets by consent or enforcement
  • Advising on duties of IPs in office

What Others Say About Us

The Legal 500 2020

What the team is known for

The team at Carson McDowell stands out for 'the breadth of experience, the commitment of individual lawyers and the expertise across sectors'. It advises major banks, insolvency practitioners and corporates on contentious and non-contentious matters, and has experience handling cross-jurisdictional insolvencies and personal insolvencies.

Work highlights

Advising Sports Direct on the Northern Irish aspects of the acquisition of House of Fraser from the administrators of the business.

Acting as agents in Northern Ireland for Browne Jacobson LLP to assist NRG2 / Radius Plastics Limited with its application to the Bankruptcy Court in Northern Ireland for permission for several directors to be permitted to continue in their roles as directors of various group companies following director disqualification proceedings in England.

Advising Gibraltar-based Castle Trust Group as a security trustee on the sufficiency and enforceability of security given in relation to £3m of loan notes issued by Charis Wealth Management to various individuals essentially as an investment opportunity.

Acting as agent in Northern Ireland for Brodies LLP to assist Oil States Industries (UK) Limited in a claim against Lagan Building Contractors Limited (in administration) and associated parties for £15m.

Advising KPMG on the validation of its appointment as joint administrator of McGrath Brothers Engineering Group Limited.

Notable practitioners

Strong insolvency practitioner' Darren Toombs leads the team jointly with the 'technically very strong' Sinead McGrath. The team was bolstered by the appointment of two new associates.

Significant clients

KPMG, Grant Thornton, Keenan Corporate Finance, The HNH Group, Brodies LLP, Sports Direct, Herbert Smith, Browne Jacobson, VW Financial Services, BMW Financial Services.