Halliwells LLP was an English law firm practising from offices in Manchester, London, Liverpool and Sheffield, with 116 partners and over 600 employees [1].

On 20 July 2010 Halliwells the High Court made an order putting Halliwells into administration. Dermot Power and Shay Bannon of BDO LLP were appointed administrators [1]. Halliwells' practice was sold as a pre-packaged insolvency to four other firms: Hill Dickinson, Barlow Lyde and Gilbert, Gateley, and Kennedys [2].

At the time, this was the largest English law firm to go into administration [3].

The administrators initially blamed market conditions and high rents for the firm's failure [4]. 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[5]. 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 [3]. The administrators have sued the 32 recipients [6] and have alleged that Halliwells’ equity partners altered the minutes of a meeting about the s reverse premium before passing them on to the rest of the firm [7]. There has been an attempt to resolve the dispute by mediation [8][9].

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 [10].


  1. 1.0 1.1
  3. 3.0 3.1 Aldridge, Alex (22 October 2010). "Corporate law firm undone by boom-era excess". The Guardian (online). Retrieved 6 June 2012. ,
  9. "Former Halliwells partners in £21m mediation talks". Manchester Evening News (Business). 19 April 2012. Retrieved 6 June 2012. 
  10. "Chamber boss and lawyers in fight over £21m deal". The Yorkshire Post. 14 March 2012. Retrieved 6 June 2012. 
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