The “Shifting Sands” of cross border insolvencies

Authors: Mike Saville (Grant Thornton), Richard Fisher QC (South Square)

Given the nature of recent world events, choosing what jurisdiction in which to begin cross border insolvencies can seem like a guessing game.

Our Shifting Sands report, a joint project between Grant Thornton and South Square, explores the changing dynamics of international jurisdictions in insolvency proceedings.

This report follows the Discord To Harmony paper we produced in 2015. At that time, the report highlighted the growing prominence of offshore jurisdictions in international insolvencies and the move towards greater harmonisation.

Much has changed since then. The past five years has seen a series of unprecedented shocks:

  • the decision on Brexit
  • the election of the Trump administration and the events surrounding his departure
  • the ongoing COVID-19 situation and its impact on the global economy

For the report, we surveyed 150 lawyers and market participants in more than 25 on and offshore jurisdictions. Their views paint a picture of a changing cross-border insolvency landscape, and this was all before the full ramifications of COVID-19 were known to us.

The UK was considered to be the most-effective insolvency regime amongst the global participants surveyed. This is some consolation given the potentially adverse implications that Brexit may have on the UKs share of the global restructuring market.

Offshore access to funding, and the cost and speed of hearings remain challenging. These issues were cited as challenges back in 2015 and remain the areas where offshore jurisdictions are rated less strongly.

Although our research reveals a general preference to instruct local advisors, 60% of respondents said the presence of cross border aspects would have a significant influence on their decision to instruct counsel or insolvency practitioners based onshore.

For further insights into cross border insolvencies, download the full report.

Scroll To Top