Lawyers lauded for asset recovery expertise
(CNS Business): A number of lawyers in Cayman have been recognised for their excellence in the field of asset recovery, which is an area providing a buoyant stream of work, despite the relative slowdown in cases connected with the global financial crisis. The Who’s Who Legal guide to Asset Recovery 2015 identified 22 practitioners in Cayman as recommended experts in the field.
Appleby and Walkers are the most prolific firms in this year’s guide, with three lawyers from each among the recommended experts: Andrew Bolton, Jeremy Walton and Christopher Russell made the list from Appleby, while Nick Dunne, Neil Lupton and Colette Wilkins represented Walkers.
Taking a global perspective, the Who’s Who research team conclude that the asset recovery market is in a state of flux, as previous branches of work emanating from the financial crisis and Russia (where sanctions have taken effect ) come to an end and firms look for new sources of work. The position in Cayman is perhaps more active due to its popularity as a corporate domicile and firms were generally reporting increased workflow.
Nick Dunne, Senior Counsel with Walkers, said that Cayman’s position as jurisdiction of choice for many corporate structures means that many asset recovery cases will have a Cayman element.
“The recent clarification of the Grand Court’s power to take effective steps to secure and freeze assets in support of overseas proceedings has further expanded the importance of Cayman in such cases,” he said. “Clients are becoming increasingly aware of the ability to obtain effective remedies within the islands in formulating litigation strategies for cases taking place elsewhere.”
Dunne said there has been significant growth in applications for “free-standing” relief of the sort where substantive proceedings are taking place overseas, in addition to a steady flow of fraud and insolvency based instructions.
Elsewhere on the list, Maples and Calder, Mourant Ozannes, Solomon Harris and Campbells each had a presence, with two lawyers considered among the elite.
Researchers at Who’s Who Legal, which has been ranking leading attorneys in various areas of business law since 1996, stated that the buoyant offshore asset recovery market continues to grow steadily, with firms in Cayman as well as the Channel Islands and BVI reporting a busy year, dominated by insolvency and trust-related fraud cases.
“Asset recovery cases are a fact of life, whether arising from periods of economic bust such as the financial crisis, or boom,” Walkers’ Dunne said. “Even in a vibrant market there are companies exposed to significant levels of risk, and an environment in which investors are willing to commit to ventures is also, inevitably, a breeding ground for speculative or fraudulent schemes.”
Among the areas that practitioners expect to grow in popularity, the guide pointed to tax-related asset tracing, which was said to be no surprise, amid “the fervour with which tax authorities across the globe are clamping down on tax evasion and looking for assets offshore. Given that tax is an area in which offshore firms tend to excel, our sources welcome this turn of events and report that they are well prepared to advise both clients on the receiving end, as well as those instigating procedures,” the report stated.