Welcome to our third newsletter of 2019
Everyone’s getting very much busier!
As I write this I have just returned from a series of meetings with IPs and lawyers who cover much of the UK. The resounding message is clear: everyone is getting an awful lot busier.
Manolete’s regional network of in-house lawyers, that now covers most of the UK, has been established in a relative short timeframe but they are proving very effective in adding to Manolete’s total case numbers. We are signing record numbers of cases and completing them in unprecedented numbers too. We have now reached three new important milestones: over 300 cases signed, 200 completed and 100 live.
We look forward to a busy autumn where several conferences come in quick succession. Manolete is the proud headline sponsor of the TRI Conference on 13 November and will also feature at all the main forthcoming ICAEW, IPA and R3 events (see articles below).
Manolete will be holding a panel session at the TRI conference with myself, our Head of Legal, Mena Halton and Board Director, Dr Stephen Baister. There will be opportunities for our clients to attend as our guests so don’t be afraid to ask for free passes! I was also delighted to be asked to be a guest panellist at Pinsent Masons excellent Insolvency Conference, due to take place on 1 October – always an excellent and packed out event.
Steven Cooklin, ACA ACSI CF
Chief Executive, Manolete Partners PLC
In this issue:
- Manolete’s Strategic Partnerships by Charlotte May
Financing Your Investigations by Andrew Cawkwell
Manolete Headline Sponsor for TRI Conference
Gabriel Moss QC – In Memorium by Steven Cooklin
If the cap doesn’t fit…. Reflections on the ‘Arkin Cap’ by Stephen Baister
Manolete's Strategic Partnerships by Charlotte May
Our South West and Wales Associate Director, Charlotte May, has recently been appointed Head of Key Strategic Partnerships to manage Manolete’s professional body key sponsorship and relationship agreements. Charlotte reports on her new role and our recent and forthcoming activity.
“In the last year or so, Manolete’s regional network has grown rapidly to cover all of Britain, so we are working closely with our sector professionals to co-ordinate and manage our national and regional activities with the key organisations of R3, IPA and ICAEW. We have signed strategic partnerships agreements with all three and are considering supporting other organisations while developing our relations with the best in the sector.
These bodies provide great educational opportunities and events for us to showcase our work and keep abreast of the latest industry trends. We are proud of the work we are doing to support the sector at national, regional and local levels.
We are a key sponsor for R3 and as part of our long-term partnership we sent a contingent, headed by Chief Executive Steven Cooklin, to Northumberland in May for the R3 Annual Conference under a surprisingly blue sky. Steven addressed the conference on the Manolete model and changes (such as larger up-front payments) we have made since becoming a listed company. It was a great opportunity to network with Northern-based IPs and solicitors in particular.
We also have a strategic relationship with ICAEW and were lead sponsor for their Annual Insolvency Conference in the City of London on 26 June. In the autumn, we are supporting the ICAEW regional insolvency roadshows, where our Associate Directors will be presenting and meeting local IPs.
In addition to these roadshows, we are supporting the IPA roadshows in Cardiff, Leeds and London in the autumn. In Scotland, we are sponsoring the ICAS conference in November.
Before we pause for the summer, we already have planned several other events from the SESCA Reading Conference in September and the R3 London Women’s Lunch in October to the TMA annual conference and R3 SPG conference in November.
The Manolete calendar is looking very busy already but if there’s a national or regional event you would like to discuss then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.”
Financing your investigation work by Andrew Cawkwell Manolete lead in the North-East
A critical part of Manolete’s approach to business derives from putting ourselves in the shoes of the Insolvency Practitioner. By better understanding the unique pressures they face, Manolete can find the means to ease those pressures, to get cases settled and better returns to the Insolvent Estate.
We make sure IPs and their lawyers are aware that when we sign a case we can help contribute to their historic WIP with immediate up-front payments.
There are a significant number of cases where there is also a requirement to first undertake a sizable amount of investigation work to allow those claims to be properly pursued.
For example, there may be a need to examine the company's books and records extensively to compile the evidence to pursue those claims. And all that costs money.
I recently spoke to an Insolvency Practitioner in Newcastle who took on a case where clearly there were millions of pounds of revenue coming into the company in the 12-month period leading up to the insolvency (mainly from re-financing assets). However, that money ‘miraculously’ disappeared, there were significant creditor balances outstanding and a strong suspicion of wrongdoing. But the amount of money needed to prove that suspicion through investigative work would be very substantial.
That is where Manolete can come in. Our funding works by allowing such investigation work to be undertaken with a view to such claims been brought. We would agree a scope of work and cost profile to allow the cases to move forward. Manolete has recently agreed funding up to £30k for investigatory work on a particular case.
We are very open to these discussions so IPs and their lawyers should not think considerable investigation work is an insurmountable barrier in itself to a case being pursued in partnership with us. In fact, we very much welcome enquiries of this nature.
Manolete, Headline Sponsor for TRI Conference - November 13
The Turnaround, Restructuring and Insolvency (TRI) Conference is held during the day prior to the prestigious TRI awards in the evening. It is an excellent forum attracting turnaround specialists, insolvency practitioners, solicitors and barristers. Manolete is absolutely delighted to be this year’s headline sponsor.
The general ethos of the event is to use real case studies to derive practical lessons for all stakeholders in the insolvency sector. For example, David Chapman, the Official Receiver of the Insolvency Service will be presenting on the collapse of Carillion.
Manolete will be holding a panel session with Chief Executive Steven Cooklin, Head of Legal Mena Halton and Board Director, Dr Stephen Baister. There will be both economists’ and industry viewpoints on the economic climate and panel discussions on changes to crown preference and the conditions facing retail and high street businesses.
The TRI Conference will aid professionals making networking connections too. As headline sponsors we have some complimentary tickets so please just drop us a line if you want one. Additionally, you could benefit from a free entry deadline extension for the TRI awards to 9th August if you quote “Manolete Partners” via phone or e-mail.
To book your place at this year’s conference, please click here to visit the TRI Conference 2019 website.
Gabriel Moss QC – in Memoriam by Steven Cooklin
When Manolete had signed its first 100 cases, we held a celebration at the 100 Club and gave out a few awards. There was only one person I could consider for ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ and that was Gabriel Moss QC.
Gabriel was Queen's Counsel at South Square Chambers for 30 years until his sudden death in March. To many, he was a much revered and respected QC, a Professor of insolvency law, whose unique expertise was called upon by the UK Government and many administrations across the world. To those lucky enough to know him, he was an exceptionally kind, generous and funny man with an acute but never overpowering intelligence.
The cases Gabriel was involved in such as Lehman Brothers, Robert Maxwell, Polly Peck, Barings Bank show he was at the peak of his profession and commanded extraordinary respect among his peers.
Ten or so years ago I was invited to South Square chambers to discuss some aspects of the Insolvency Act. From that discussion the Manolete model was essentially born. I and everyone connected with Manolete owes Gabriel a huge debt of gratitude for his unparalleled insight and wisdom.
We send our all our deep condolences to his family.
If the cap doesn’t fit… Reflections on the ‘Arkin Cap’ by Stephen Baister
The law reports are replete with statements deploring satellite litigation, especially when it comes to questions of costs, whether they arise before or after trial: see, for example, Jones v Wrexham Borough Council on arguments over CFAs and R (on the application of Buglife) v Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation on protective costs orders. Funded cases have made their contribution too.
The ‘Arkin cap’, so called after the decision of the Court of Appeal in Arkin v Borchard Line Ltd, in which the court capped the costs liability of a litigation funder which had funded part of the unsuccessful claim but not the whole, has given rise to its fair share of satellite litigation; but in reality it was always fact-specific. To the extent that anyone thought otherwise it is now clear they were wrong: the Arkin cap was firmly put in its place by Mr Justice Snowden in April. In a case called Davey v Money he rejected the idea of its being a legal principle.
In his view the Court of Appeal was “simply setting out an approach that it envisaged might commend itself to other judges exercising their discretion in similar cases in the future”; it was not, he said, “a rule to be applied automatically in all cases involving commercial funders, whatever the facts…”
He went on, having regard to the facts of the case before him, to award full costs against the funder in favour of the successful party. The cap didn’t fit. Snowden J’s decision should come as no surprise, given the wide ambit of the court’s discretion when it comes to questions of costs.
Any insolvency practitioner contemplating litigation funding ought to ask himself or herself whether the funding model he or she is considering using is likely to give rise to satellite litigation over costs, ATE insurance, any CFA agreement - or anything else for that matter.
The Manolete model is simple, generally financing any case taken on from start to finish, right up to the Supreme Court if necessary (as it has been on one occasion) and providing a complete indemnity to the office-holder backed by Manolete’s substantial capital, not on insurance. That should enable the client and his or her lawyers to concentrate their efforts on getting the case to trial or settlement quickly and without the distraction, delay and extra costs of satellite litigation before trial or after judgment.
It is a model which every office-holder should think about before bringing proceedings.
Dr. Stephen Baister
Non-Executive Director, Manolete Partners PLC