Dramatic pause

Mediation talks between ex-Halliwells partners and liquidators are adjourned

When the former Halliwells partners agreed to enter mediation with the failed firm’s liquidators in April, everyone knew they had one hell of a task ahead of them. Even with Quadrant Chambers’ Michel Kallipetis – a sage of a mediator, by all accounts – overseeing proceedings, conflicting agendas and animosity left over from the Manchester firm’s 2010 collapse were always going to make reaching consensus tough.Dramatic pause

When former Halliwells partners agreed to enter mediation with the failed firm’s liquidators in April, everyone knew they had one hell of a task ahead of them. Even with Quadrant Chambers’ Michel Kallipetis – a sage of a mediator, by all accounts – overseeing proceedings, conflicting agendas and animosity after the Manchester firm’s 2010 collapse were always going to make reaching a consensus tough.

The latest word on the matter is something of a cliff-hanger, then. According to a source close to the talks, the first of which were held in Addleshaw Goddard’s London offices, have been adjourned until January, with a precise restart date yet to be fixed. Independent Mediators chief executive David Douglas confirms proceedings have been adjourned, but will say no more.

Certainly, there are plenty of issues for former partners to chew over with liquidators BDO partners Shay Bannon and Dermot Power. Chief among these is the return of the £20.4m windfall partners trousered after a reverse premium deal with the firm’s Manchester office landlord Allied London. Not to forget, there is also an ongoing High Court battle between a group of former Halliwells fixed-share partners and the liquidators, who are trying to recover drawings. Neither party is giving any ground in that fight either.

Though some familiar with the ins and outs of Halliwells claim the mediation is doomed to fail, it says something that talks have lasted this long.