Brid Holden Legal Director


Speaks:  English

Qualified: 2008 - Solicitor of England & Wales

Admitted: 2007 - Roll of Solicitors Law Society of Ireland


Primary office:  Birmingham

Secondary office:  London




Brid Holden

  • A legal director (dual qualified – ROI) in the Dispute Resolution Team having joined the firm in 2008 on qualification.
  • Passionate about delivering work, results driven and care about delivering the right result for each client. Keen to build strong and lasting relationships with clients promoting the progression of matters in a commercially pragmatic manner.
  • Engaged by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Official Receiver for 13 years. Led a number of the Secretary of State's high profile proceedings and noted as the 'go to' person for turning around complex cases in accordance with pressurised Court deadlines.
  • Adept at managing litigation risk, extensive drafting experience and ability to retain command over a diverse range of material. Ever mindful of the merits of any claim and the visibility of assets. Where matters proceed to trial significant experience in assessing witness credibility in advance of trial, anticipating likely defences and managing risk accordingly.
  • Involved in a number of tender processes including drafting tender documentation, case reviews and preparing teams and attending at tender presentations.

Contentious Insolvency, Fraud and Asset Recovery

  • Supervising a team of 12 lawyers undertaking the Official Receiver recovery work on over 250 matters involving corporate and personal insolvencies. These matters range from misfeasance, TUVs, preference payments, tax fraud, fraudulent and wrongful trading DLAs and more recently the misapplication of government support schemes. Also advising the ORs on an ongoing basis on ad hoc and technical aspects of various contentious insolvency recovery matters.
  • Advising the Official Receiver Public Interest Unit (OR PIU) on   a large failure and connected nominee companies on matters arising from the Company going from special administration with some £400 million of assets held on trust into compulsory liquidation, with remaining rump assets valued at £7 million. Coordinating alongside the OR with third parties including FCA and FSCS. Current advisory work centres on the nature of asset ownership and exit strategy.
  • Advising the OR PIU on the contentious insolvency aspects of a matter involving the sale of some 15 units containing storage pods, companies having been wound up in the public interest. The advice ranged from recovery of business rates and water rates, dealing with the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) advising on assignment of claims to the  FCSS from compensated investors, considering and advising on potential claims for recovery, advising on voidable disposition, DSAR requests. Currently advising on proof of debt claims.
  • Advising the Bona Vacantia Division (BVD) of the Government Legal Department on cross border contentious insolvency proceedings and managed to secure £1 million by way of settlement when BVD had considered walking away given the complexity of earlier longstanding litigation. 
  • Advising the OR PIU on the sale of a football ground and contentious insolvency matters involving the English Football League (EFL), voidable dispositions, receiver costs and various loan facilities.
  • Advising the OR PIU on creditor / dividend payments involving a US$850 million cross border money laundering scheme involving restraint and confiscation in the US and enforceability in the UK and generally advising on money laundering offences and accepting / rejecting proof of debts for voting and dividend purposes. Dealing with NCA.
  • Acting in conjunction with City of London Police in coordinating and running a Pilot Civil Asset Recovery Programme. The pilot case involved advising an elderly victim (with dementia) of a bitcoin fraud where in excess of £2 million had been invested in an international bitcoin scam. Secured a recovery for the benefit of the victim.
  • Acting for Liquidators in relation to a £2 million misfeasance claim against a director where the initial group of companies were wound up in the public interest as a result of fraud. This matter is shortly proceeding to a Trial.
  • Acting for Liquidators in relation to a £8 million contentious insolvency claim involving a number of companies. Advising on letters before action and seeking to avoid re-litigation of certain aspects, which were previously the subject legal determination in order to increase recoveries to creditors and short circuit what would otherwise be a lengthy and complex litigation. 
  • Acting for a Brazilian Bank in protracted proceedings against a financier who brought about a crash in the Brazilian stock market. Advised on disclosure issues both here and also in Jersey. Advised and progressed a successful NPO application in Jersey which resulted in the Client securing some US$10
  • million assets previously out of reach, due to complex trust and corporate structure, set up by the financier and connected entities.
  • Acting for multiple Liquidators in respect of release of assets stranded in complex trust structures. Investigated and progressed a successful application at Court, which resulted in a pro forma sale process to enable the sale of Verified Carbon Units (VCUs) on behalf of the Liquidators, acting as Trustees. Liaised and tendered with various MNCs for the sale of VCUs on the APX Registry in the US. Currently in the process of identifying individual investors who were mis-sold the VCUs at hugely inflated prices with a view to eventual distribution of sale proceeds.
  • Acting generally for OR PIU on VAT fraud. Investigating various companies including telecoms, metals and diamonds on complex extra territorial VAT Fraud. Liaising with HMRC VAT Officers and Specialist HMRC MTIC Officers. Drafting of multiple complex statements and issuing and progressing proceedings at Court through to conclusion.
  • Advising liquidators on breach of duty, wrongful trading and/or fraudulent trading and asset recovery. Conducting interviews and enquiries, pursuant to s236 of the Insolvency Act, 1986. Issuing and progressing claims under Insolvency Act and Rules through Court. Acting for Official Receiver in respect of pension fraud and trust structures and sale of assets.

Directors Disqualification (DQ) proceedings

  • Acting for the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in some of the highest profile proceedings to come before the Courts ranging from multi million pound frauds including MTIC, pension fraud, carbon credits, land banking, pension liberation fraud and storage pods. Regularly dealing with matters of "public interest", duties of fairness and advising on difficult and complex costs hearings arising from DQ proceedings.
  • Acting for BEIS most recently in a complex and document heavy MTIC VAT Fraud sitting for a 10 day Trial, seeking the disqualification of four directors who advanced cut-throat defences. This matter involved six HMRC Officers as witnesses attending in support of the Claim and preparing evidence on their behalf in line with Kittel. Applications during the course of the trial included an application to adjourn the trial, adduce and rely on further substantive evidence, amending the Claim Form and successfully obtaining permission for the Claimant to rely on the Defendants' prior convictions. Judgment is yet to be handed down in the overall claim.
  • Acting for BEIS on a contested and document heavy, breach of director's duties claim, involving the mis-selling of hotel rooms. Currently liaising with witnesses and preparing reply evidence ahead of a trial next year.
  • Acting for BEIS in respect of an accounting irregularities fraud, which resulted in an estimated £64 million black hole in the Group Companies' accounts, orchestrated in order to draw down funds pursuant to banking covenants. Advised on a successful Application to issue a Claim out of time given the public interest nature of the proceedings. Instructed and liaised with forensic accountants and procured primary evidence from the Liquidators and additionally key individuals from the finance department, including the former FD who we successfully issued Directors Disqualification (DQ) proceedings against and procured a higher bracket disqualification order.
  • Acting for BEIS in SoSBEIS v Steven [2018] EWHC 1331 (Ch) and successfully obtained a disqualification order. The Judgment of His Honour Judge Russen QC dealt with a number of matters in reaching his decision; from the misconduct complained of, the evidential burden, and extenuating circumstances, which may impact or even deflect the court from a finding of unfitness.
  • Advising the Client which lead to the decision of In Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills v Potiwal [2012] EWHC 3723 (Ch), where the court considered issues of res judicata, privity and abuse of process. Court decided in Client's favour that relitigation of issue may be abuse of process even in absence of privity (High Court). This has been a key decision in terms of efficiencies in progressing claims, which are fully contested.
  • Acting for the Secretary of State for BEIS and advising on parallel criminal proceedings and the issue of privilege and disclosure in such circumstances. Generally advising on privilege in the cross over between third party advisors and companies in liquidation or dissolution. Advising on inadvertent waiver of privilege and privilege in corporate structures.
  • Acting for the Secretary of State for BEIS on Excise and VAT Duties fraud and the cross border element in respect of the importation of alcohol.
  • Acting for the Secretary of State for BEIS and progressing a number of matters through to Trial involving former directors where Claims for a disqualification order are being pursued by the Secretary of State for BEIS in respect of persistent breaches of Home Office Immigration and Enforcement legislation.
  • Investigating a complete range of industries from Pensions, Jewellery, Motor Industry, IT, Telecoms, Insurance, Real Estate, Food & Beverage, Steel and the provision of Educational Services, for the Secretary of State for BEIS in respect of proceedings and various applications pursuant to the Company Directors Disqualification Act, 1986. Examining books and records and interviewing directors, employees and third parties to advise the Client on whether it is in the public interest to progress DQ claims.
  • Involved in various ancillary applications such as leave to act notwithstanding a disqualification order, adjournments of trials, stays, strike out, service applications (out of the jurisdiction and alternative) and appointment of various experts. Liaised with professional witnesses, HMRC Officers, Insolvency Practitioners and lay witnesses through to the conclusion of trials.
  • Used to dealing with complex frauds, and procuring evidence from members of the public who have been the victim of such frauds.

General Commercial

  • Acting on various contractual disputes with national and multinational clients, advising on interpretation of clauses, breaches and termination of contracts, and generally in respect of settlement.
  • Acting for multinational clients in respect of the Commercial Agents Directive and compensation due. Considered and advised on terms arising thereunder.
  • Acting for a multinational client on securing POCA where that Client had been the victim of internal fraud.

Career & Recognition

Filter timeline:
  • 2020

    • Career
      April 2020
      Gowling WLG (UK), Legal Director
  • 2016

    • Career
      March 2016
      Gowling WLG (UK), Principal Associate
  • 2015

    • Career
      July 2015
      Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co, principal associate
    • Education
      January 2015
      Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co, senior associate
  • 2014

    • Career
       2014
      Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co, associate
  • 2008

    • Qualifications (Year of Call/Admission, etc.)
       2008
      Qualified, Solicitor of England & Wales
    • Career
       2008
      Wragge & Co LLP, associate
  • 2007

    • Qualifications (Year of Call/Admission, etc.)
      December 2007
      Admitted, Roll of Solicitors Law Society of Ireland
  • 2005

    • Education
       2005
      LLM (Masters in European Law): Results 2.2 Honours, University College Dublin Faculty of Law, Ireland
  • 2001

    • Education
       2001
      Graduate Diploma in Business Studies (Information Technology): Results 1.1 Honours, University College Dublin Michael Smurfit GSB, Ireland
  • 2000

    • Education
       2000
      Bachelor of Civil Law: Results 2.1 Honours, University College Dublin, Ireland

Memberships

  • Director of the Midlands Fraud Forum (MFF), and acting VICE Chair of the MFF Steering Committee, hosting and delivering Masterclasses to over 270 members across the public and private sector. Also a member of the London Fraud Forum and regularly attends their masterclasses.
  • Part of the Director Education Focus Group being organised by Investigation & Enforcement Services at The Insolvency Service.
  • Invited to contribute Government Counter Fraud Profession Cross Sector Advisory Groups on COVID-19 and Developing Professional Standards. Provided training to the GCFP fraud champions across the public sector.
  • Delivered a wide range of training to the ORs and BEIS tailored to their specifications including more recently delivering a mock trial event and also training on costs in contentious insolvency including litigation funding to the Deputy Official Receivers.
  • Prepared and delivered training on recovery actions available to liquidators arising from the government support - Business Bounce Back Loan Schemes.
  • Co-authored an article - 'Tax Abuse & Insolvency: HMRC Response in the Corporate Insolvency & Rescue Journal, and authored a Lexis Nexis article on the implications of a Judgment in a case involving evidential burden and extenuating circumstances.

Insights & Resources