A group of 14 ex-Halliwells partners have joined forces to instruct Irwin Mitchell partner Chris Jones to fight claims made against them by the failed firm’s administrators at BDO.
BDO administrators Dermot Power and Shay Bannon, who have instructed Addleshaw Goddard, are looking to recover drawings paid out in the run up to the firm’s collapse, as well as tax payments made on behalf of partners by the firm.
All members of the group were fixed share partners at Halliwells between May 2009 and July 2010. None of them joined the firms that purchased Halliwells’ assets in 2010 – Barlow Lyde & Gilbert, Gateley, Hill Dickinson and Kennedys. These firms are understood to have settled any claims relating to drawings as part of their asset purchase agreements.
Jones at Irwin Mitchell said: “Irwin Mitchell in Manchester has been appointed to represent 14 individuals who were fixed share members at Halliwells during some or all of the period between May 2009 and July 2010 concerning financial demands made against them.
“There’s no basis for these claims and we’re currently liaising with the administrators.”
On behalf of the administrators, Addleshaw Goddard has contacted 211 former Halliwells partners – both fixed share and equity – in relation to the action. Of the 211, 75 have been told that they do not owe anything to the administrators.
Claims against former Halliwells partners are understood to total £10m, ranging from between £10,000 and £200,000 per partner.
In a statement to the Manchester Evening News, a BDO spokesperson said: “The administrators are now taking steps to recover amounts due to Halliwells LLP from former members. Consequently, the administrators solicitors’ have written to a number of individual former members to seek recovery of sums due to the LLP.”
BDO has also launched a claim in the High Court against 32 former Halliwells partners, including former chairman Ian Austin, who shared between them the majority (£20.4m) of a £24.5m reverse premium payment from the firm’s Spinningfields landlord (20 June 2011).