Court judgment backs Jersey authorities to deal with £1.3 billion cross-border insolvency case

Jersey's Viscount is seeking the assistance of the English High Court for the first time in 36 years in a £1.3 billion cross-border insolvency case. 

Jersey's Royal Court has granted the Viscount's application and issued two letters of request to the English High Court seeking judicial cooperation and recognition of the Viscount and her appointment as administrator of the désastres of a Jersey doctor and a Jersey-registered company declared en désastre late last year.

The Royal Court has also requested the High Court to authorise the Viscount to exercise such of her powers and functions as maybe necessary, including allowing her to intervene in and prosecute or defend or apply for a stay in various sets of proceedings currently before the English courts.

If the request is accepted by the English Court, it will be the first time that Jersey's Viscount has been recognised by the High Court since 1981 – it will also mean that creditors should not assume in the future that Jersey's Royal Court will always concede to a request to put a Jersey insolvent company into English administration.

Advocate Nicola Roberts, Counsel in Ogier's Jersey Dispute Resolution team, acted for the Viscount in the successful application to the Royal Court for the request to the English court for recognition in respect of the local GP and Orb a.r.l., the Jersey company, both of which were declared en désastre on 24 November 2016. Since that date creditors have submitted claims against them in the combined sum of £1.3 billion.

Nicola, who specialises in contentious insolvency matters, said: "In the past, the Royal Court has often agreed to allow Jersey insolvent companies to go into administration in the UK – for the first time in decades, the court has instead sought the assistance of the English High Court to recognise Jersey's Viscount and allow her to administer and exercise her powers in its jurisdiction instead.

"In light of the judgment, creditors of Jersey companies should no longer assume that the door to UK administration is always going to be open, it is very much based on the facts of each particular case and what is in the best interests of creditors as a whole.

"In this instance the Court felt it was important that the Island, as a well-respected financial centre, discharge its responsibilities for dealing with the affairs of this Jersey registered company and Jersey resident."

Nicola, who is qualified in England, Jersey and the BVI, was appointed to Counsel at the start of the month. As well as working on restructuring and insolvency matters, Nicola has considerable experience of complex, high value multi-jurisdictional commercial litigation with a particular focus on commercial fraud, trusts, regulatory issues including sanctions, and shareholder disputes.