Restructuring and Insolvency in Hong Kong

Tanner De Witt Solicitors is ranked as a Tier 1 / Band 1 law firm in the field of restructuring and insolvency in Hong Kong by leading industry publications including Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners. Our lawyers specialise in a wide spectrum of insolvency administrations, complex restructurings and bankruptcies involving global assets, with a particular emphasis on contentious and court-related issues.

While Tanner De Witt is an independent Hong Kong law firm, our Restructuring and Insolvency lawyers act for many international clients involved in multi-jurisdictional and high profile matters. We provide legal advice and representation to insolvency practitioners, creditors, directors, shareholders, private and listed companies, bondholders, and individuals facing cash flow difficulties and have experience with a wide range of specialist tribunals and professional associations.

Tanner De Witt Solicitors provides Restructuring and Insolvency legal solutions to clients involved in a diverse range of industries in Hong Kong, the People’s Republic of China and throughout the Asia Pacific Region.

We advise and act on:

Examples of our lawyers’ wide experience include:

  • Lead counsel on the complex restructuring of Kaisa Group‘s offshore debt amounting to over $2.5bn.
  • Acted for KPMG as the liquidators of the Hong Kong arm of OW Bunker Group, advising on numerous issues associated with its insolvency proceedings.
  • Advised KPMG as the liquidators of MF Global, which includes representation at hearings on issues such as the ad valorem duty payable by provisional liquidators and the treatment of costs incurred by liquidators.
  • The firm played a pivotal role in connection with the appointment of provisional liquidators to Oasis Hong Kong Airlines, and was instructed by the provisional liquidators in all aspects of this multi-faceted administration, which has presented some unique challenges given the international scope of the Oasis business and the high-profile nature of the collapse.
  • Successfully acting in what is now the leading case of an unfair preference action in a “non-associate” case where the firm acted for the liquidators against a receiver holding the proceeds of certain assets that were “preferred” to the company’s bankers.
  • Advising the receivers appointed in respect of an online trading company selling CDs and DVDs following a much-publicised judgment against the company in the UK for some £40 million. Notwithstanding the UK judgment, the receivers successfully concluded a sale of the company’s assets following a period of trading under receivership, a rare event in Hong Kong.
  • Assisting receivers appointed by the Jersey Court over a Jersey trust in taking legal action in Hong Kong to secure control over entities within the trust structure in an effort to enable court-ordered payments of several million pounds to be made to a disenfranchised beneficiary of the trust, in connection with a long-running and high-profile matrimonial matter in Hong Kong concerning a jewellery trading family.
  • Advising a US-based manufacturer of retail electronic products in connection with difficulties arising with its Hong Kong and PRC partners, concerning indebtedness of in excess of US$70 million.

Restructuring and Insolvency – Our International Network

As a top Hong Kong law firm, Tanner De Witt Solicitors has established relationships with overseas professional services providers, including offshore law firms and major international liquidators. This international network of experts is easily accessible by our lawyers ensuring clients receive fully integrated advice concerning their often multi-jurisdictional and complex matters.

Restructuring and Insolvency – Our Hong Kong Lawyers

The Restructuring and Insolvency practice at Tanner De Witt Solicitors is co-led by Ian De Witt and Robin Darton, both of whom are ranked as top lawyers in the field by various publications including Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners.

Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2020

One of the top insolvency teams in the market’, the three-partner team at Tanner De Witt is highly in demand as a result of its ‘specialised experience combined with practical advice’. Best-known for its contentious prowess, the team receives a raft of mandates from insolvency practitioners (IPs), as well as referral work from international law firms to advise on the Hong Kong aspects of cross-border matters. ‘Two of the most prominent insolvency/restructuring lawyers in Hong Kong’, Ian De Witt and Robin Darton have ‘great all-round experience’, while 2019 promoted partner Sunny Hathiramani has a flourishing reputation at a more junior level across a range of restructuring and insolvency issues, in relation to both companies and individuals.

Chambers and Partners Asia 2020

Well-established independent Hong Kong firm with a strong reputation, particularly in relation to high-stakes contentious insolvency cases. Regularly handles large, complex domestic litigations and clients include distressed companies and liquidators. Also able to handle cross-border Hong Kong–Mainland China restructurings as well as non-contentious matters.

The firm as a whole has a commercial and pragmatic approach to its work aimed at finding the right solution for the client.” The team is known for its local work, and is praised as “highly regarded by the insolvency practitioners in Hong Kong.

Robin Darton has an outstanding reputation for his insolvency litigation practice and is also able to advise clients with regard to non-contentious matters. One interviewee comments: “His litigation knowledge is unsurpassed by others. He’s very hands-on and has a good understanding of what the client wants.”

Ian De Witt is described as “one of the bible writers for insolvency law” by one source who adds: “He’s a walking dictionary on legal matters relating to insolvency.”“He often advises on contentious matters and counts distressed companies, liquidators and bond trustees among his clients. A market commentator notes: “He’s a safe pair of hands, he’s someone who really thinks of the problems that the cases give rise to and he’s got an almost encyclopaedic understanding of insolvency law.