She is very knowledgeable, ultra client-friendly, practical and commercial. Chambers & Partners UK Bar 2024
Raquel is hugely experienced and knowledgeable. She is an excellent advocate and very impressive in a hearing. Despite her experience and seniority she is extremely approachable and inspires confidence in solicitors and lay clients. Legal 500 UK Bar 2024
Restructuring & Insolvency
  • Winding up
  • Administration
  • CVAs / IVAs
  • Personal insolvency
  • Receivership
  • Contentious insolvency
  • Creditor schemes and restructuring plans
  • Directors’ disqualification
  • Misfeasance

Raquel’s insolvency practice spans corporate and personal insolvency. She sits part time as a Deputy Insolvency and Companies Court Judge where she hears trials as well as shorter cases.

Recent cases include:

Re Snoozebox Limited- CVA proceedings relating to whether a possible fine in criminal proceedings had been compromised in a CVA.

Re Park First and other companies – advising and representing the administrators and companies in relation to complex interlocking series of CVAs concerning parking places in airports over which investors retained leases of parking places. Advising on the property rights created and how best to deal with them in the CVAs. Defeating a successful challenge to the CVAs

Advising the landlords in relation to a CVA challenge raising the issue as to whether obligations relating to cladding and related health and safety issues are property rights. Case settled on confidential terms

Clarks footwear CVA – challenges by substantial landords on grounds of unfair prejudice. Challenge settled on confidential grounds

Acting for well-known security agents in relation to construction and interpretation of complex financial documents and advising on priorities, costs payments and rights of parties in circumstances where various stake holders threatened to sue.

Instant Cash loans – acting for the company at the convening hearing of the proposed scheme where ultimately the Judge held that an early surrender of a lease interfered with property rights.

Acting for the Liquidator in relation to a failed tax avoidance umbrella companies scheme where issues relating to whether the funds held by the company are subject to a trust in favour of the offshore beneficial owners of employer companies.  Ongoing

Hathurani v Jassat
High stakes bankruptcy litigation arising out of a joint venture dispute in which allegations of illegality were made.

Pensions
  • Moral hazard
  • Pensions and restructuring

Raquel is the leading Silk in the area of pensions and insolvency. She has led on many high profile cases on behalf of the Pensions Regulator (and won all of them), including on Nortel and Lehman in the Supreme Court.

She has acted for the trustees of the Kaupthing Singer and Friedlander pensions scheme in their successful proceedings against the company in administration relating to the provability of the section 75 claim.

Her wealth of experience in this area also makes her a favourite to advise clients facing investigations and/or action by the Pensions Regulator against them.

Significant cases include:

Lehman Brothers v The Pensions Regulator (2014)
£184 million settlement payment (the largest sum paid to a pensions scheme) represented a full-buy out of Lehman’s member benefits.

Re Storm Funding (2013)
Concerning the maximum quantum payable under a s.47 contribution notice.

Nortel & Lehman v The Pensions Regulator (2013) Supreme Court
Liabilities under a financial support direction (FSD) issued against an insolvent company would rank as a provable debt.

Re Johnston Press – acting on behalf of the secured lenders in relation to a proposed restructuring and proposed RAA with the Pensions Regulator.  Advised on risk of moral hazard action. Company went into a pre pack administration and no moral hazard action was identified by the Regulator in its section 89 notice.

Re Cobham defence systems – acted and advised the Trustees of the Cobham pension scheme about the risks to the pension scheme of the proposed buy out by Advent International and the scheme of arrangement. The mater settled on satisfactory improved terms for  the pensions scheme.

Re Bombardier – acting on behalf of the Bombardier group in relation to threatened moral hazard proceedings relating to the sale of its Belfast based subsidiary.

Litigation & Arbitration
  • Shareholder disputes
  • Joint venture disputes
  • Partnership / LLP disputes
  • Fiduciary duties
  • Civil fraud and asset recovery
  • Cross-border disputes
  • Interim remedies

Raquel’s experience enables her to deal with all aspects of litigation including mediation and arbitration. She advises frequently on the relationship between arbitration and insolvency, including cross border issues. She frequently sits in the Companies’ Court hearing shareholders disputes and other company litigation.

Recent cases include:

Acting for a successful AI company in its proceedings against a US based large corporation legal issues relating to a joint venture, implied terms, collateral contracts and complex issues relating to the computation of loss – ongoing in the Commercial Court

Acting for security agents in proceedings issued by director/shareholder and parent companies against  the secured lenders and the security  agents. Issues to be determined include whether the secured lender can only seek to make a demand for repayment as well as seek the appointment of administrators where  the lender has no ulterior motive. Ongoing

Confidential Shareholder Dispute
Advising high value individuals in relation to Jersey companies concerning beneficial interests in the shares of the company.

BESTrustees v Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander
Established the assignability of s.75 debt thereby opening up the secondary debt market.

Corporate
  • Shareholder disputes
  • Corporate governance
  • Interpretation of constitutional documents
  • Joint venture disputes

In recent years, Raquel has been instructed on cases which remain confidential at present where investigative and advisory work is carried out arising out of the use of complex and multi-jurisdictional corporate structures and commercial transactions.

Often these have related to whether the sale or restructuring of a business or of a group of companies has been carried out in a way which seeks to take advantage of tax, pension or insolvency legislation (for example in providing for only trade creditors in the new business, leaving out unfavourable creditors such as pension and tax liabilities). Raquel is often retained because of her ability to understand the financing aspects and complex structure of the underlying transactions, as well as her in-depth knowledge of and experience in insolvency and pensions law. She is well versed in leading teams of counsel and professional advisers to achieve the desired result.

Raquel acted on behalf of the Bank in Dominion Corporate Trustees v. Capmark ( formerly GMAC Mortgage Bank ) relating to issues of priorities of charges in debenture documentation and relating to whether trustees of an offshore trust had a priority over a Bank’s charge secured over the property of a SPV. Raquel successfully defended the Bank’s priority both at first instance and in the Court of Appeal preventing difficulties arising for Banks in future lending situations with SPVs.

Membership & Publications

Chancery Bar Association

Insolvency Lawyers’ Association

Financial Services Lawyers’ Association

Bencher of the Inner Temple

International Women’s Insolvency & Restructuring Confederation

 

Recognition

Ranked in Legal 500 (Insolvency and Pensions) and Chambers & Partners (Restructuring & Insolvency and Pensions)

“She can break down complex matters and provide commercial, strategic advice.”

“A go-to silk for personal insolvency – she’s fearsomely bright and an excellent advocate.” “She is very commercial, direct and tenacious in court. She is a creative and an aggressive strategist.”

“She is brilliant, provides really well-balanced advice and is extremely quick-thinking.”

“She has a fantastic technical ability and vast experience in knowing how to deal with difficult debtors and obstructive litigants.”

“She is an engaging, characterful advocate, conveying a passionate belief in her client’s case.”

“She is an outstanding advocate – bright and user-friendly.” “She is just on point, always on the ball and can see the case from every angle.”

“She creates novel solutions to seemingly insurmountable problems.”

“A first-choice barrister and a persuasive and compelling advocate.”

“An expert in cases involving pensions and insolvency.”

“She is very unstuffy, collaborative, flexible and a delight to work with, and she has a very engaging conversational manner in court which many judges respond well to.” “She probably knows more about the Pensions Regulator’s powers than anybody else.”

“She is fantastic, particularly on pensions with an insolvency angle. She is enormously user-friendly and easy to get on with.” “She’s very well known in both pensions and insolvency circles. She’s very client-friendly, bright, pragmatic and commercial.”

“She has a very good handle on how the court thinks and is a go-to lawyer for pensions insolvency issues.”

“Raquel is extremely bright and has a great ability to keep things focused. She is always able to break down complex matters and provide clear, strategic advice.”

“A tour de force in court, she is user friendly and approachable. Skilled in handling the most difficult of clients.”

“Very committed, imaginative, unstuffy.”

“She is very user-friendly, persuasive with judges and a strong court performer.”

“The personal insolvency guru – she is creative, thinks outside of the box, and on her feet she is fantastic.”

“Solicitors like her ability to instil confidence and she deals very well with anxious clients.” 

“She is very client-friendly, practical and very easy to work with.”

In October 2012, Raquel was named ‘Barrister of the Year’ at the Insolvency and Rescue Awards,. In January 2012, she was selected as one of the ‘Hot 100’ by ‘The Lawyer’ and she was also shortlisted as Insolvency Silk of the Year by Chambers and Partners.

Ranked in

Chambers & Partners UK Bar 2024 –
Restructuring/Insolvency, Pensions

Legal 500 2024 –
Insolvency (Insolvency Silk of the Year 2015), Pensions

News

Raquel Agnello KC Chairing a panel at the INSOL Channel Islands Seminar
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? Snoozebox Limited v The Health and Safety Executive Judgment
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Raquel Agnello KC writes for Butterworths Journal of International Banking and Financial Law.
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COULD POTENTIAL CHALLENGES TO CVAS ALTER THE CURRENT APPROACH BY THE PPF TO CVAS? RAQUEL AGNELLO QC COMMENTS IN FT PENSIONS EXPERT ARTICLE
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ARTICLE: INSOLVENCY AND RESTRUCTURING – LIFE AFTER BREXIT
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