Ex-Halliwells fixed share partners mull legal action against equity partners

A group of former fixed share partners in failed firm Halliwells are investigating decisions made by equity partners in the run up to the collapse of the firm with a view to taking legal action against them.

Irwin Mitchell partner Chris Jones is representing 14 fixed share partners in relation to litigation spiralling out of the firm’s demise (15 August 2011).

A statement released by the firm today on behalf of the 14 lawyers said they had spent “a significant amount of time investigating the actions of the full members of the LLP in the period to the date of the administration order and those investigations are continuing. A considerable amount of information is being, and will continue to be, sought in this regard”.

It continued: “The aim of the investigation is to ascertain our clients’ position as regards the conduct of the full members prior to administration given both the potential claims against our clients and the losses incurred by them as a result of the administration of the LLP.

“Our clients wish to reserve their position until these investigations have been completed.”

The partners are facing legal action from the firm’s administrators at BDO Dermot Power and Shay Bannon, who have instructed Addleshaw Goddard  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.

Claims against former Halliwells partners are understood to total £10m, ranging from between £10,000 and £200,000 per partner.

In June BDO 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).

The parties have since agreed to mediate the dispute in the new year (1 September 2011).