Halliwells’ creditors join forces for action plan

The largest creditors of failed law firm Halliwells have formed a committee in what could be a precedent to further legal action against the firm’s former partners.

The biggest sum is owed to the firm’s former bank RBS, with which it has £18m debts. As RBS holds a ­debenture over the LLP’s assets, it is first in line to recover the £10m from the sale of the business.

However, it has been joined by other unsecured creditors on the committee: HM Revenue & Customs, which is owed £4.3m; a ­German fund run by Credit Suisse Asset Management, the landlord of the firm’s ­former headquarters at Spinningfields, which is owed £2.4m; ING Lease UK; and the landlord of Halliwells’ Liverpool office, Bruntwood 2000 Beta Portfolio.

“In the end, legal action depends on funding,” said Ben Larkin, insolvency ­partner at Berwin Leighton Paisner, who is not involved with the matter. “Will the creditors put their hands in their pockets, or will there be such a strong case as to get barristers and lawyers to take it on a CFA [conditional fee arrangement] basis?”

As reported by The Lawyer (15 November), four ex-Halliwells partners are facing legal action from the landlord over unpaid rent at the firm’s former HQ.