Nigel Brockley

I have extensive experience of advising both companies and individuals in relation to all insolvency issues. My experience within this field has involved ranged from lengthy company directors’ disqualification proceedings to associated claims against directors personally, including fraudulent and unlawful trading, the giving of preferences and transactions at an undervalue, unlawful distributions and payment of dividends.  My practice, necessarily requires a fluency in company law and I often appear for Respondents in disputes regarding the acquisition of insolvent businesses.

In disqualification proceedings I  have acted and provided advice in associated claims, including civil court claims brought by liquidator and criminal proceedings.

I have acted for directors where the underlying allegations have included gross negligence (resulting in death).

I have  clients who have brought claims arising out of insolvency proceedings, concerning  the duty of care owed by a liquidator or administrator to the director of an insolvent company and the duty of care owed to such directors by HMRC (in petitioning for personal bankruptcy or corporate insolvency).

My approach

I try to ensure that my advice is easy to understand and capable of being followed by the non-lawyer; each client’s ability to undertake preparatory work at the various stages of litigation is something that I assess on a case-by-case basis.

I seek to ensure that legal costs are minimised, although, I am able to refer clients to solicitors, free legal advice centres and experts where it is necessary. I advise my clients to consider a range of approaches to litigation funding.

I am happy to meet clients wherever is convenient and I have offices in London, Bristol and Birmingham.

I have a busy professional life and understand that advice, when it is needed, tends to be urgent, therefore I can arrange to hold meetings during the weekend or outside of conventional office hours.

I prefer to have an initial telephone discussion with my clients to satisfy myself that I am able to help, and this first short meeting can be arranged by telephone; I will not charge for this.

My practice base is quite broad but if I can not help with your legal issue, I will probably be able to refer you to a colleague who may be better placed to assist.

My approach to fees is to try to accommodate any budgetary constraints but again, if I can not I may be able to refer you to a more junior colleague. It is important to note that many claims now brought by insolvency practitioners are funded by conditional fee agreements, where the capacity for costs to escalate is significant, if the claim is not sensibly managed.

I am happy to arrange fixed fee agreements and to provide ongoing help on a retained basis. My fees are, I hope, fair!

My work

I have acted in many claims, which whilst brought by the liquidator, are in all but name claims by HMRC, based upon petitions presented due to my clients’ failures to pay VAT and income tax. 

The approach adopted by the liquidator in such cases has been to place a high burden on my clients regarding the discovery of documents which they no longer retain – these documents may disprove the liquidator’s claims but reliance is placed on the fact that my clients can not disclose them. It has been important to engage in earlier settlement discussions to avoid spiralling costs. This has been achieved in cases but other times a lengthy trial has been unavoidable. It has proved to be important, in achieving a successful outcome, to challenge the role and purpose of the liquidator by providing significant relevant witness evidence. In defence of these claims, it has been necessary to remind both the liquidator and the court, that the day-to-day management of a business is not to be looked at with the precision of hindsight and to show that whilst duties are not to be abrogated, business matters are, occasionally imperfectly dealt with, at the time. 

(1) I have acted in a claim involving negligent advice given by a solicitor specialising in insolvency where the evidence served countered my own client’s case that certain assets had not been transferred to a spouse, in order to avoid those assets being taken into account, in the event of an insolvent liquidation. The solicitor failed to consider the significance of a statement made in a witness statement by the solicitor responsible for drafting the deed by which the asset was transferred. This wholly prejudiced my clients’ case and lead to a very large payment being made to the liquidator. The clients required my assistance in negotiating with the insurers in order to demonstrate the significant prospects of success that there had been in defeating the liquidator’s claim and advising as to the value of that lost chance.

(2) I acted for a director in a claim where a lengthy disqualification period was sought arising from his management of an adventure holiday company. The, so called, facts appeared in many national newspapers and it was important to remind the Court of the need to ensure that the sanction imposed was appropriate, whilst not being excessive. In this case, it was imperative to keep my client aware of the duration of the ban that was likely to be imposed. The case was a difficult one in which the best interests of my client were preserved. 

About me

I have been a barrister for more than 25 years and have always undertaken a significant volume of charitable work, which I now continue through the Bar Pro Bono Unit. I have provided lectures and training to a diverse audience, including solicitors, local authorities and trade unions.

Before coming to the Bar, I worked in property and ran a restaurant in Mayfair. I also studied drama and have been involved with various fringe productions. I am now a WRU level 1 rugby coach and Sunday is often taken up with festivals of mini rugby.

I have conducted public access work since it was first possible to do so and have appeared and advised in disputes in a wide range of courts and tribunals (including on appeal).

What my clients say

I come to my cases, thoroughly prepared and with a determination to achieve the best outcome. My written advice is specific and clear and highlights the strengths and weaknesses in a case.  In court, I am described as determined, forensic and respected.

My clients say that I engage with them in language which they are capable of understanding. 

“Nigel has been Counsel of first choice for me for the past 10 years. His deep subject knowledge, attention to detail, pragmatic advice, willingness to fight when required and superb cross examining skills has made him a firm favourite with many clients.”  - Alasdair Hobbs

Professional & academic

I studied economics, initially, worked for a few years in property and then went on to study law.

I was called to the Bar in 1992 and trained in banking, contract, commercial, company and employment law.

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