Brian Simms QC | Partner

Brian Simms QC is the Senior Partner of the firm and the head of its Litigation and Insolvency and Restructuring Groups. He has vast experience in the courts of the Bahamas appearing regularly at first instance and in the Court of Appeal, as well as in the Privy Council.

The legal directories continually rank Brian as a tier one litigator and praise him for the quality of his work and expertise in commercial litigation, trust disputes, insolvency and fraud cases. Chambers & Partners this past year described him as "an assuredly high-quality lawyer who deals with the most substantial cases" He has also been noted for "telling you straight where you are and if you are likely to win".

Brian has extensive experience in running offshore cases involving a number of jurisdictions. He is also often called upon to form part of a team of international lawyers from onshore and offshore jurisdictions.

Brian attended both McGill University and Exeter University. He is a member of the Bahamas Bar Association, a former member of the Bar Council  and  the former Chairman of the Bar and Bench Committee. He is an overseas member of the English Chancery Bar Association, a member of Insol and an Honorary Fellow of the Institute for International Legal Studies.  He has also served on The Bahamas Constitutional Review Commission.

Brian is regularly requested to present papers and give speeches at conferences and in particular on the ever changing attacks on Offshore Asset Protection Trusts.

Lastly Brian is an avid sportsman having represented his country as a player and a coach. While at McGill University he was a finalist for the Forbes Trophy having participated in the Rugby and Hockey programs.

Liquidations and Receiverships

("LC" indicates where Brian acted as Lead Counsel)

AWH Fund Liquidation (on-going). Advising and appearing (LC) for an international bank in relation to payments which the liquidator claims were preferential.

In the matters of Companies A, B and C (on-going). Advising and appearing (LC) on behalf of the Petitioner in the winding up proceedings on the basis of oppression and just and equitable grounds despite the solvency of the companies. The assets of the companies are in excess of $600 million.

Bankruptcy of Sheikh Fahad Mohammed Al-Sabah (on-going). Advising and appearing (LC) on behalf of the major creditor being the Grupo Torras a subsidiary of the Kuwait Investment Office and subsequently the Bankruptcy Trustee.

Liquidation of Company A (on-going). Advising the liquidators of the Company in relation to claims arising under a failed hedge fund with investors shareholders in excess of 500 million.

Madoff Liquidation (2009). Advised investor offshore funds as to the enforceability of the Trustees right to reclaim funds from investors paid within the preference period.

In the matter of Caledonia Trust Company Limited (on-going). Advising and appearing (LC) on behalf of the United States of America in relation to funds owing to the United States.

In the matter of New Hope Holdings Limited (on-going). Advising and appearing on behalf of the directors and shareholders in seeking to discharge the appointment of a Receiver over substantial assets of the company.

In the matter of Ebvail Limited (on-going). Advising and appearing (LC) on behalf of the major creditor on the petition and subsequently the liquidator.

Sir Jack Hayward et al v Lady Henrietta St George et al (2006-2008). Advised and appeared (LC) on behalf of the Receivers of the Grand Bahama Port Authority Limited and the Port Group Limited. These companies in addition to having substantial investments acted as the local government for the city of Freeport.

Moore Park Fund Liquidation in Bahamas and BVI (2005-2007). Advised directors as to director liability issues resulting from the activities of a fraudulent trader of the hedge fund's assets.

Class A Shareholders v Class B Shareholders (2004-2006). Advised and appeared (First instance (LC), Court of Appeal (LC), and Privy Council) on behalf of class A shareholders in Oracle fund over which share class had priority in the winding up. The preference would have made a 60 million dollar loss for the Class A shareholders. The Court ruled that they ranked equally.

Cantrade Privatbank AG v. Fortis Fund Services (Bahamas) Ltd (2004-2007). (advised and appeared on behalf of a UBS in relation to proceedings in the Bahamas arising from the liquidation of the Oracle Fund).

In the matter of Johnson Industries (2000-2003). Appeared (LC) on behalf of Shareholder in application to appoint a provisional liquidator pending the winding up of the company on just and equitable grounds.

 

Notable Trust Cases

X v X (on-going). Acting and appearing on behalf of beneficiaries in relation to an action to remove the protector of a trust and nullify purported actions of the Protector).

United States of America v Mr. X (on-going). Advising and acting for the United States on various options in attacking trusts established by Mr. X a creditor of the United States.

A v B (2004-2008). Advised and appeared in multi million dollar dispute on behalf of party A in relation to the administration of the trust which called into question the actions of the Trustee and the Protectors.

In P trust (2008). Appeared on behalf of Trustees in seeking to have trust declared a nullity on the basis of wrong foreign tax advice to the Settlor. Concerned a number of principles including Hastings v Bass.

In M trust (2008). Advised and appeared on behalf of Trustee where trustee resigned having been given wrong tax advice. Hastings v Bass applied.

In Y Trust (2008). Advising beneficiary in relation to the removal and replacement of a Trustee in the face of the Trustees refusal to pass trust to successor trustee.

C v D and Trustee A (2002-2005). Advised and appeared on behalf of beneficiaries in relation to a 500 million claim concerning family commercial trusts involving issues of trustees duties and beneficiary rights.

Grupo Torras Litigation (1998-2006). Appeared in the Bahamas on behalf of Grupo Torras in a number of cases involving tracing claims, freezing orders and trust busting claims. Recoveries made in excess of $200 million. Advised as part of the global team in relation to actions in other jurisdictions including Re Esteem settlement case in Jersey.

In re Trust A (on-going). Advised Trustees in relation to claims by foreign liquidator of collapsed funds to corpus of the trust.

In re Trust B (2004-2006). Advised trustee in relation to claims by foreign government to the corpus of the trust. Litigation in Gibraltar and Anguilla.

Re Krishna Books Publishing Trust (4 ITELR 2002). Determination if trust was a trust for beneficiaries or a purpose trust and if a purpose trust was it a charitable purpose trust or a non charitable purpose trust.

In re Wong Trust (ITLER 2002). Advised and appeared on behalf of JP Morgan Trust Company in a dispute as to whether increase in value of stock portfolio of the trust was income or capital. Case is cited in Underhill and Hayton 16th Edition as the leading authority on the point.

In X trust (2002). Advised and appeared on behalf of beneficiary in multimillion dollar trust matter where the validity of the trust was being challenged in the face of an in terroren clause where a beneficiary would lose all rights under the trust if he failed in his claim.

 

Other Notable Cases

 

Michael Wilson & Partners v Thomas Sinclair (on-going). First instance (LC), Court of Appeal (LC) and set to be heard by Privy Council Advising and appearing on behalf of the Michael Wilson & Partners (MWP) in relation to tracing claims arising from a fiduciary relationship and the ownership of assets held under a Bahamian Trust. MWP have been successful thus far in their arguments that the Bahamian Court does not have jurisdiction over the matter.

Exxon Mobile v PDVSA (on-going). Advised Exxon in relation to the enforceability of any arbitration award resulting from the nationalization of their assets in Venezuela.

Mega Management v Southward Ventures et al (on-going). First instance (LC), Court of Appeal (LC) and set to be heard in Privy Council (LC) in September. Advised and appeared on behalf of Defendants in relation to alleged fraud in a purported transfer of shares concerning the Great Harbour Cay development. Presently the matter is proceeding up the Appeal ladder concerning an order striking out the Plaintiffs claim.