Addleshaw Goddard plays host to Halliwells mediation

Addleshaw Goddard will host the mediation between 32 ex-Halliwells partners and the firm’s liquidators, BDO partners Dermot Power and Shay Bannon, today.

The mediation, which is being heard in Addleshaws’ London office, is being presided over by mediator Michel Kallipetis QC (12 April 2012), who was formerly head of Littleton Chambers.

The process is being run in a bid to decide whether the administrators can demand the return of a £20.4m windfall that Halliwells’ equity partners pocketed following a reverse premium deal with their Manchester office landlord, Allied London (17 June 2011).

Addleshaws partner Alison Goldthorpe has instructed 11 Stone Buildings’ Lexa Hilliard QC for the administrators. In recent years Hilliard has been involved in some of the biggest litigation in the High Court, including acting for the liquidators of Madoff Securities International Limited, Grant Thornton. She was also involved in the unwinding of Woolworths, Land of Leather and Farepak.

Peters & Peters partner Keith Oliver is representing 30 of the firm’s 32 former equity partners while Irwin Mitchell is also understood to have a role for the partners (23 January 2012).

Last week the High Court heard allegations that minutes taken during an equity partner meeting regarding the leaseback deal were altered before being passed onto the rest of the firm (18 April 2012).

The allegation surfaced in a case being heard by Mr Justice Warren in the Chancery Division of the High Court concerning former junior equity partner Michael Burns, who retired from Halliwells in 2009 and joined DLA Piper later that year.

Lawyers for Burns were arguing that the terms of his retirement deed – which stipulated a ‘clean break’ for Burns from Halliwells – provided a complete defence to the failed firm’s liquidators’ demands for cash from the former partners.