Stephen is a highly experienced insolvency and restructuring specialist who deals with both corporate and personal insolvency assignments, providing pragmatic and commercial advice. With extensive expertise in all aspects of insolvency litigation, transactional/advisory and cross-border work, his practice focuses largely on advising insolvency officeholders as well as those affected by insolvency, including creditors, lenders, professional, businesses and individuals.
Stephen is a member of the Association of Business Recovery Professionals (R3) and the Insolvency Lawyers Association.
Stephen is a highly knowledgeable solicitor who has acted on several of my insolvency appointments over the years. Stephen provides thorough advice in a timely manner with a commercial slant.
Licenced Insolvency Practitioner at Mazars LLP
- Corporate and personal insolvency procedures, including administrations, liquidations, receiverships, bankruptcy, voluntary arrangements, and insolvent estates
- Contentious insolvency, including antecedent transaction claims
- Tracing, securing and pursuing claims to recover assets located within the UK or offshore
- Investigations, including s236/s366 applications
- Transactional insolvency, including drafting and negotiating agreements for the sale of assets by insolvency officeholders
- Creditor services, including security reviews, ROT issues, advising lenders, advising landlords and undertaking debt recovery
- Advising directors on their duties and liabilities, including disqualification proceedings and s216 prohibited names issues
- Defending statutory demands and petitions, including applications to set aside or injunctions to restrain presentation
- Company strike-offs and restoration applications
Contentious experience highlights:
- Acting for joint trustees in bankruptcy who obtained a freezing order before recovering two properties, including one concealed as a part of a series of complex transactions. This matter included a two-day trial before Chief Registrar Baister which resulted in a judgment which has clarified the law on equity of exoneration (reported at  BPIR 49).
- Successfully acting for a trustee in bankruptcy to investigate and pursue a claim against the bankrupt’s ex-spouse that the transfer by the bankrupt of his interest in the £1 million matrimonial home under the terms of a matrimonial order made by consent 3 days prior to his bankruptcy was void pursuant to s284 Insolvency Act 1986.
- Advising a well-known quarrying company on seeking an injunction following threats made by a vexatious tenant to issue a winding-up petition against it.
- Advising a Championship football team in respect of multiple winding-up petitions it received from HMRC during a period when the owner was looking to sell the club.
- Investigating, tracing and recovering assets located in South Africa, Bulgaria, Cyprus and the UK on behalf of a trustee in bankruptcy. The work included obtaining a worldwide freezing order and an order prohibiting the bankrupt and her partner from leaving the jurisdiction. This resulted in a luxury Pacific Ocean property and cash concealed in an account in the name of an offshore trust being realised from South Africa. The claims in Bulgaria were the first set of secondary insolvency proceedings opened in that country. In addition, three original Picasso artworks, together with 15 other paintings that had been hidden from the trustee by the bankrupt, were recovered.
- Applying for the appointment of a provisional liquidator over a debt-counselling business and then subsequently acting for the liquidator in claims for breach of contract and fraudulent trading relating to the misappropriation of £600,000 of client money by the debt management business.
- Acting for joint trustees in the Court of Appeal case of Hill v Haines  EWCA 1284 which clarified when a property adjustment order made in matrimonial proceedings could be challenged as a transaction at an undervalue.
Non-contentious experience highlights:
- Leading a five-man team to advise an internationally well-known manufacturer of excavators to purchase the business, assets and land from a competitor’s administrators and LPA receivers for £3 million in a pre-pack deal.
- Advising a further educational provider to restructure and reorganising its business following the receipt of an adverse OFSTED report which resulted in its government funding being withdrawn. The work involved ensuring that learners were not affected during the restructuring, prior to then appointing administrators over the corporate entity affected by the OFSTED report.
- Acting as an integral member of the team representing the joint administrators of the UNESCO World Heritage site of Morwellham Quay located in Devon, to include advising the administrators as they traded the business and were granted a licence to enable the BBC TV Programme “Edwardian Farm” to be filmed on site and then acting for and advising the administrators while they marketed and sold the assets of Morwellham to enable the site to be preserved.
- Acting for the management team of UKBW Ltd, a bathroom retail business to acquire back the business and assets from its administrator in a pre-pack deal. The deal was completed in time for the new business, Bathroom Village, to open for the January sales.
- Successfully seeking a hostile Administration Order in order to appoint an administrator in order to sell office premises in North London valued in excess of £2 million. In selling the premises, it was necessary to unravel a number of leases granted over the premises by the former directors of the company in the months prior to the administrator’s appointment.
- Negotiating and conducting sales of businesses and assets by insolvency officeholders.
Please note: The experience list above may include examples of work completed prior to joining Keystone Law.
Stephen qualified as a solicitor in 2004. Before joining Keystone Law in 2016, he worked at the following firms:
- Clarke Wilmott