Partner - Corporate/Commercial Disputes, Restructuring and Insolvency
Robert is a barrister with full rights of audience in the English Courts and in the Courts of the British Virgin Islands. Robert specialises in dispute resolution, restructuring and insolvency and has been practising for nearly twenty five years. His practice covers corporate and commercial disputes, director and shareholder disputes, asset tracing claims, insolvency disputes, and formal corporate restructurings. Robert has worked on many high-value and complex disputes and restructurings at all levels, and much of his work is cross-border in nature. Robert is experienced in managing complex multi-jurisdictional disputes for his clients.
Robert regularly works with onshore, midshore and offshore, foreign and domestic law firms, funds, banks, accounting practices, insolvency practitioners, office holders, high-net-worth individuals, corporate service providers, family offices, directors, shareholders, debtors and creditors. Robert looks to find cost-effective, commercial solutions for his clients.
Robert has worked at two leading City law firms and two top offshore law firms and is intimately familiar with the law and practice of the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands. Robert spent almost ten years establishing and building a successful litigation, restructuring and dispute-resolution practice for an international law firm in Singapore. As well as having an established client best in England, Robert has a solid client base in Singapore, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Indonesia, where he regularly markets. Robert is the co-founder of the Singapore Middle Temple Society and has rights of audience in the Singapore International Commercial Court.
Robert is familiar with all manner of corporate/commercial claims, ancillary proceedings, corporate restructurings, insolvencies and receiverships. He has been recognised as a leading lawyer in the Who's Who of Restructuring and Insolvency Lawyers and the Who's Who of Asset Tracing lawyers since 2013 and is listed as Global Leader in both practice areas, and a Thought Leader in the field of asset tracing.
A banking client recently commented, “Robert is an excellent lawyer, and a go-to for disputes. He is highly hands-on, responsive and adept at distilling key issues in complex situations. His ability to formulate strategic and practical advice with high efficiency is a true gem.”
Chambers Global have said that Robert "is brilliant, has great client management skills and attention to detail and keeps completely up to speed", and "is very easy to work with".
Chambers Global say "Robert Foote is recognised by the market as a 'very capable and skilled' corporate and insolvency litigator. He has a wealth of experience in acting in BVI courts, and has an in-depth knowledge of the jurisdiction."
Who's Who Legal 100 has commented: "Robert Foote is an 'excellent adviser' on insolvency, restructuring and asset recovery matters."
Examples of Robert’s work:
• Advising a billion-dollar Singapore-based, southeast Asian healthcare group concerning an application by two directors/shareholders to appoint a liquidator of its holding company on the just and equitable ground. Advising the client about statutory mergers and making an application to have the winding-up petition struck out on the basis that the merger gives the petitioners relief that they are acting unreasonably in not accepting.
• Making an application for a Norwich Pharmacal relief against a company to identify the company's owner to further matrimonial proceedings in the PRC and to decide whether to make similar applications offshore.
• Advising a major Singapore-based company on restructuring options, including the appointment of provisional liquidators and a members’ scheme of arrangement.
• Advising eight private equity houses on the recovery of redemption proceedings totalling US$300m, including advising in relation to statutory demands, stays in favour of arbitration, winding up, and arguments relating to substantive disputes about debts.
• Acting for a Singapore bank in relation to the recovery of a US$50m investment in its capacity as a trustee of a unit trust. Tracing those funds into BVI and the UAE. Making a momentous decision application to terminate the unit trust.
• Advising KrisEnergy, a Cayman Islands company listed on the Singapore stock exchange, on restructuring options, including the appointment of ‘light-touch’ provisional liquidators and the need to run a parallel scheme of arrangement.
• Representing the majority shareholders of the largest car tyre and battery manufacturers in Dubai in a shareholders' dispute and successfully opposing applications to appoint liquidators of three companies on the just and equitable ground. The proceedings were settled by way of the valuation of forty or so companies in multiple jurisdictions, ultimately valued at hundreds of millions.
• Acting for a Dubai family in an asset tracing claim, tracing assets over US$1bn and tracing assets into Singapore, Austria, the British Virgin Islands and New York. The lawsuit involved appointing provisional liquidators in Singapore, section 1782 disclosure proceedings in New York and thirteen Norwich Pharmacal applications.
• Partner with the conduct of a US$500m bond restructuring for a company listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange with operations in Mongolia that involved multi-jurisdictional schemes of arrangement and Chapter 15 recognition in New York.
• Acting for court-appointed receivers, holding the ring pending the determination of litigation between two parties litigating for assets worth over US$100m. Assisting the Receivers with all aspects of their functions which involved advising them about taking control of the company's assets, including the shares of a Japanese-listed company.
• Acting as an expert witness in the Singapore International Commercial Court, advising on misrepresentation and breach of contract claims for a claim over US$50m. Making written submissions, as counsel, in those proceedings.
• Acting as an expert before the High Court in Tel Aviv, Israel, concerning a shareholder dispute involving a holding company.
• Acting as an expert for a limited partnership in a SIAC arbitration involving the interpretation of the redemption provisions in a limited partnership agreement.
• Instructed by Shanghai Counsel to trace an investment of US$20m through various offshore companies into a company in the PRC. This involved obtaining Norwich Pharmacal relief and changing the boards of the offshore companies by appointing liquidators of them and then attempting to change the board of the PRC company to recover and sell its assets.
• Acting for a company in a dispute concerning its shareholding in Turkey's largest mobile phone producer. The claim was for wrongful interference with contract and inducing breach of contract. The value of the claim was approximately US$2.5bn.
• Advising numerous high street and Swiss private banks and other institutional investors about the liquidation of various BVI Madoff ‘feeder’ funds. Advising the same clients in respect of mistake and restitution claims brought by the liquidators of those funds and about the subsequent appeals. The total value of all claims brought by the funds’ liquidators was more than US$1.4 billion. Advising clients and their New York Counsel about voidable transaction insolvency act claims that the funds’ liquidators have brought in New York.
• Appointing provisional liquidators and then liquidators in circumstances where one of the company’s directors had been responsible for an US$18m fraud in Hong Kong.
• Advising KPMG, who had been appointed as receivers over eight companies with direct and indirect equity interests in forty-eight PRC companies. The receivers had been appointed to hold the ring pending the determination of a dispute between two joint venture companies.
• Advising, drafting and presenting a scheme of arrangement for the company that owns the license for the Ukrainian national lottery.
• Advising, drafting and presenting a scheme of arrangement for the largest extruder of aluminium in the PRC. The scheme was multi-jurisdictional and involved multiple companies, including two Bermudan companies, a Samoan company and three Hong Kong companies. The clients were a firm of insolvency practitioners in Hong Kong.
• Advising a United States Securities and Exchange Commission Receiver about his appointment by the New York Courts as a receiver over six companies and their subsidiaries. Subsequently, negotiating a cross-border protocol with foreign liquidators.
• Acting for a well-known animation company successfully defending alleged wrongful repudiatory breach of contract claims brought by UK and US-registered companies. Insolvency and general contract issues
• Acting for shareholders of the third-largest cider brewery in England in unfair prejudice proceedings and in relation to an £800,000 contract claim.
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Robert has been described as follows in Chambers Global:
- a “solid and sensible lawyer”
- “very easy to work with”
- a well-respected practitioner who "is brilliant, has great client management skills and attention to detail and keeps completely up to speed"
- a conscientious and straight-shooting lawyer” who is “proactive, responsive and sensible”
Listings in Legal 500 include:
- "inspires confidence"
- “an excellent client manner”
The International Who's Who of Asset Recovery Lawyers:
- "Robert Foote is the 'go-to' lawyer for urgent injunctive relief in Singapore."
- corporate and commercial disputes
- director and shareholder disputes
- asset tracing claims
- insolvency disputes
- funds disputes
- formal corporate restructurings.