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HFW Launches BVI Office With Acquisition Of Leading Disputes Business

7 February 2022

Global law firm HFW has launched in the British Virgin Islands by acquiring the office of offshore law firm Lennox Paton.

The move gives HFW a leading disputes practice in the BVI, led by senior partner Scott Cruickshank and including associates Jonathan Child and Helen Chen, who speaks fluent Mandarin and Cantonese. Scott was Lennox Paton’s BVI Managing Partner and Head of Litigation.

The team will advise clients on complex, high-value corporate and commercial litigation, including foreign judgment enforcement and interlocutory relief, insolvency and restructuring, fraud and asset tracing, shareholder and JV disputes, and company law disputes and director claims.

HFW has been litigating for clients in offshore jurisdictions for more than 20 years, and its new BVI office will work closely with the firm’s expert litigators in London, Hong Kong, Shanghai and its other offices across the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific.

Noel Campbell, Head of HFW Litigation:

“This is a very significant development for our global disputes offering – we are now uniquely positioned among international law firms to assist clients with litigation in London, Hong Kong, Shanghai and the BVI.

“We have been looking seriously at the BVI for several years – it’s a major litigation centre and most of the international cases relate to fraud, insolvency/restructuring and shareholder disputes, which are key areas of strength for our team globally. An increasing number of clients – particularly those based in Greater China, Russia/CIS and Brazil – are attracted by the BVI’s respected body of law and regulatory regime, which is rooted in English common law. That links up well with our offices in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Brazil, and our strong track record of Russia-related disputes, including high-profile matters such as the winding up of the Boris Berezovsky insolvent estate in London.

“HFW’s relationship with Lennox Paton in the Bahamas goes back over 20 years and we’ve worked extensively with Scott and his team for more than a decade. They have significant experience litigating in the Eastern Caribbean Commercial Court, Court of Appeal and the Privy Council (the final Court of Appeal for the BVI, which sits in London), and Scott is one of the few litigators on island with such a long and continuous experience of the BVI courts, having first arrived in the BVI in early 2008. We’re proud to welcome them to HFW.”

The team is ranked as a leading BVI dispute resolution practice in both Chambers and The Legal 500, with Scott described as an “intellectual powerhouse” with “a wealth of invaluable BVI-related knowledge”.

Scott also received a Lexology Client Choice Award for asset recovery in the BVI.

Scott Cruickshank, Partner, HFW:

“Most of the complex commercial litigation in the BVI has an international element to it, and we have worked with HFW on many high-value multi-jurisdictional cases. HFW has one of the most active disputes practices globally and the BVI team specialises in complex, high-value fraud, insolvency, and corporate and commercial litigation.

“It was a natural progression for us to join HFW, which provides a strong platform to continue to build our disputes business and provide clients with a seamless, global service. We are now a formidable, global team.”

The move continues a period of significant international expansion at HFW. The firm has now completed 12 international office openings, mergers and associations since 2016, including a fully-integrated US merger and other moves in Brazil, China, the Middle East and Monaco.

Richard Crump, Global Senior Partner, HFW:

“This is another important step in our continued international expansion, giving us a first-rate team in a jurisdiction that is becoming increasingly significant for cross-border transactions and complex international litigation. This move underlines our longstanding commitment to the BVI, where we have been litigating for decades, as well as to investing in the markets that are important to our clients. We have grown considerably as a business over the past five years and now have 20 offices across five continents. We will continue to actively pursue opportunities to further strengthen and broaden our business across our sectors, services and geographies in order to best support our clients around the world.”

Press Contact
Chris Johnson
Head of Communications