Halliwells LLP was an English law firm practising from offices in Manchester, London, Liverpool and Sheffield, with 116 partners and around 850 employees.[2] The LLP was established in 2004 to take over the practice of Halliwell Landau.[3] Key individuals involved in its management were senior partner Alec Craig and managing partner (then executive chairman) Ian Austin,[4] London office head Clive Garston,[5] Liverpool office head and then managing partner Jonathan Brown,[6] and Sheffield office head Suzanne Liversidge.[7]

Halliwells LLP
Halliwells logo.jpg
HeadquartersManchester, United Kingdom
No. of officesFour
No. of lawyers372 (2010)[1]
No. of employees848 (2010)[1]
Major practice areasGeneral practice
Revenue£67 million (2010)[1]
Date founded2004
Company typeLimited liability partnership
Dissolved20 July 2010


On 20 July 2010, the High Court made an order putting Halliwells into administration. Dermot Power and Shay Bannon of BDO LLP were appointed administrators.[2]  Halliwells' practice was sold as a pre-packaged insolvency to four other firms: Hill Dickinson, Barlow Lyde & Gilbert, Gateley, and Kennedys.[8]

At the time, this was the largest English law firm to go into administration.[9][10]

The administrators initially blamed market conditions and high rents for the firm's failure.[11] An additional factor behind the firm's failure was a property transaction connected to Halliwells' decision to become an anchor tenant in the Spinningfields business development in Manchester.[12] The firm received a reverse premium of £20 million from the landlord, which was shared between the firm's 32 equity partners, who each took between £250,000 and £1 million. This was kept secret from the junior partners.[9] The administrators have sued the 32 recipients[13] and have alleged that Halliwells’ equity partners altered the minutes of a meeting about the reverse premium before passing them on to the rest of the firm.[14] There has been an attempt to resolve the dispute by mediation.[15][16] Ian Austin[17] and Suzanne Liversidge[18] have each spoken publicly about Halliwells' failure and denied any personal responsibility.

In March 2012, 36 of the former junior partners who were not told about the reverse premium threatened to sue the 32 equity partners who took the £20 million.[19]


  1. ^ a b c "UK 200 Results 2010: Halliwells". The Lawyer. Archived from the original on 6 October 2012. Retrieved 8 October 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Re Halliwells Llp & Ors (Rev 1) [2010] EWHC 2036 (Ch) (30 July 2010)". Bailii.org. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  3. ^ "Halliwells latest to take plunge as LLP conversions gain momentum | News". The Lawyer. 21 June 2004. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  4. ^ "Halliwells' staff: where are they now? | News | The Lawyer". thelawyer.com. Retrieved 11 February 2014.
  5. ^ "Halliwells corporate trio quit London office to join DAC". Legalweek. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  6. ^ "DANGEROUS AMBITION: Halliwells At The Brink". Chambers Magazine. Archived from the original on 17 August 2011. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  7. ^ "'Bombshell' defection at city law firm - News". The Star. 23 December 2009. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  8. ^ "Halliwells appoints BDO as administrators". Insolvencynews.com. 21 July 2010. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  9. ^ a b Aldridge, Alex (22 October 2010). "Corporate law firm undone by boom-era excess". The Guardian (online). Retrieved 6 June 2012.
  10. ^ "Halliwells becomes biggest casualty of the recession". Lawgazette.co.uk. Archived from the original on 24 February 2013.
  11. ^ "BDO administrators seal pre-pack deal at Halliwells - 22 Jul 2010". Accountancy Age. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  12. ^ Bounds, Andrew (6 February 2011). "Northern law firms face survival battle". FT.com. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  13. ^ "Former Halliwells partners to repay £20.4m Spinningfields windfall | News | The Lawyer". Thelawyer.com. Retrieved 11 February 2014.
  14. ^ Swift, James. "Explosive allegations surface in Halliwells court case | News". The Lawyer. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  15. ^ Dowell, Katy (23 April 2012). "Addleshaw Goddard plays host to Halliwells mediation | News". The Lawyer. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  16. ^ "Former Halliwells partners in £21m mediation talks". Manchester Evening News (Business). 19 April 2012. Retrieved 6 June 2012.
  17. ^ "Halliwells' ex-managing partner: 'I gave my life to that practice' | News". Thelawyer.com. Retrieved 11 February 2014.
  18. ^ "Chamber leader faces legal case - Local". The Star. 15 March 2012. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  19. ^ "Chamber boss and lawyers in fight over £21m deal". The Yorkshire Post. 14 March 2012. Retrieved 6 June 2012.