Louis Doyle KC

Year of call: 1996  | Year of silk: 2020

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Clerked by: Gary Young, Harry Young
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Louis Doyle KC is a commercial silk with a particular expertise and reputation and extensive experience in insolvency and insolvency-related work, the latter commonly involving commercial claims litigated under the procedural umbrella of a formal insolvency.

Louis works on both the corporate and personal sides for office-holders, creditors (private and institutional), shareholders and other stakeholders. He has appeared in about forty reported insolvency cases and is named as a leading practitioner across insolvency/restructuring, commercial dispute resolution and chancery in both Chambers & Partners and the Legal 500, as he has been variously since 1999. According to one plaudit, “He is fantastic on his feet and has a very keen sense of how to pitch cases with judges and with opponents; he is well read, technically excellent and clients love him”.

Louis’s practice also encompasses company law, credit and security, financial litigation and interim remedies, including injunctions and summary judgment, director disqualification and public interest petition work (Attorney General panel member, 2001-2007). Alongside the litigation in which he engages, Louis’s practice also extends to non-contentious drafting and advisory work, including an increasing role in assisting and advising, either alone or as part of a team, in the planning and structuring of high-value transactions or assessing the legal risks in proposed investments, most recently a profit participation agreement for investment to be used in procuring a US$30m credit line guaranteed by the US government.

Since its first publication in 2005, Louis has co-authored what is now Doyle, Keay & Curl’s Annotated Insolvency Legislation (10th edn, 2022, LexisNexis) (with Professor Andrew Keay and Joseph Curl KC of 9, Stone Buildings, Lincoln’s Inn where Louis is also a door-tenant). He is also a contributing editor to the leading looseleaf, Gore-Browne on Companies (LexisNexis). Over lockdown, Louis established and now edits the bi-monthly journal, Kings Insolvency. (To be added to Chambers’ free distribution database or to obtain past editions, simply email [email protected]). He has lectured widely to professional audiences on his areas of interest and has undertaken pro bono work throughout his career at the Bar.

Louis has acted for clients from a very wide range of backgrounds, sometimes in very challenging circumstances. As a leader, he encourages team involvement and role delegation. Louis’s preferred approach is an early-stage identification of a client’s aims and outcomes together with an objectively realistic evaluation of merits and risk. Louis is enthusiastic in appropriate cases about mediation and ADR, of which he has extensive experience. He is also interested in innovative case funding ideas.

Louis was born in Liverpool into a working-class family. He is married and has six children. He qualified as a solicitor in 1994 before being called to the Bar in 1996 and joining what is now Kings Chambers in 1999. For many years he served as an officer in the Army’s reserve parachute battalion. In 2017 he founded and headed up Kings Chambers Wellbeing. His interests include fitness, music, literature, The Cormac McCarthy Society and Liverpool Football Club.

Louis’s ongoing and recent work includes:

  • Acting in three sets of high-value proceedings for a liquidator and a litigation funder in claims for unpaid share capital including claims under the Insolvency Act 1986 (including s.74 calls), s.33 of the Companies Act 2006, breach of fiduciary duty and breach of trust, estoppel (by share certificate and otherwise), mistake and rectification.
  • Obtaining orders at very short notice the appointment of receivers under s.37 of the Senior Courts Act 1981.
  • Advising Boris Becker in relation to his ongoing bankruptcy.
  • Interactive Digital Systems Ltd v VST Enterprises Ltd [2021] EWHC 887 (Ch): acting on behalf of minority contingent creditor applicant, supported by “just and equitable” petitioners, on opposed administration application. Currently on appeal to the Court of Appeal.
  • Advising institution on susceptibility of bank redress for financial product mis-selling to set-off (valued in eight figures).
  • Acting for and advising (with Steven Flynn, Kings Chambers’ sports law team) the offshore owner of a failed Football League club. Since appearing at the first hearing before the Sporting Sanctions Appeal Tribunal on behalf of the administrators of Wrexham Football Club in 2001, Louis has acted on the administrations of fourteen Football League clubs (including Leeds United, twice).
  • (Cayman Islands) Acting for the liquidators of an investment feeder-fund now in dissolution in respect of very high value claims arising out of a high-profile failed Cayman investment trust (contractual and statutory construction, partnership law, estoppel and tracing).
  • Acting for two of three respondents, leading Professor Andrew McGee, on the return date of a freezing and proprietary injunction obtained by the Financial Conduct Authority alleging fraudulent promotion and marketing of lcollective investment schemes. Case settled.
  • (British Virgin Islands) Advising (separately) liquidators of two heavily insolvent BVI companies on the scope of the conflict of laws principle prohibiting in a domestic state the enforcement of a revenue debt of a foreign state.
  • Broomhead v National Westminster Bank plc [2021] EWHC 105 (Ch) (Chief Master Marsh): brought in as replacement for earlier trial silk leading Martin Budworth for appellant debtor alleging bad faith and fraud against bank on application for permission to amend. Involves pleading fraud and disclosure where party asserts disclosure complete.
  • Acting for the (litigation funded) claimant in High Court high-value claims against directors and related parties arising out of the failure of medical claims company. Involves: statutory claims; claims for conspiracy; deceit; breach of fiduciary duty and trust; unjust enrichment; dishonest assistance in breach of trust; knowing receipt and estoppel (in various forms). Successful resistance of strike out on basis that pleading of de facto directorship defective (without the need for amendment).
  • Acting for two of three defendants in High Court misfeasance proceedings pleaded at circa £68m which raised issues including: limitation; extensive argument as to the scope of the duties of a director/trustee, in particular as to the scope of s.172(3) of the Companies Act 2006; causation; and quantum arising out of a company engaged in tax planning for sophisticated investors. Case settled successfully at mediation before fifteen-day trial.
  • Acting for petitioners on s.122(1)(g) Insolvency Act 1986 “just and equitable” winding-up petition involving interlinked and long-standing family businesses. Involves difficult evidential issues relating to recordings and the provenance of documents where allegations and cross-allegations of forgery and convening of board and shareholder meetings.
  • Acting for Indian creditors in the winding-up in the Isle of Man of a holding company in relation to disputed claims concerning issues of proof, subrogation and separate proceedings in the the Isle of Man and the Supreme Court of India, and substantial assets in those jurisdictions, Bosnia, the US and the BVI.
  • Re Burningnight Ltd [2020] EWHC 2663 (Ch) [2021] BCC 133 (for the administrators) (administration extensions opposed by significant creditors, factors relevant to discretion and jurisdiction to make winding-up order absent petition).


    Significant Cases

    Re Moss Groundworks Limited [2019] 3079 (Ch)

    WTA Global Holdings Ltd (In Liquidation) v Lombard North Central Plc (Commercial Court) [2019] EWHC 277 (Comm) [2019] 2 WLUK 702

    (HHJ Klein, civil procedure, banking and finance, alleged misconduct by bank global restructuring group, breach of contract, limitation periods, measure of damages, non-compliance, striking out, summary judgments, unless orders)

    Re Smooth Financial Consultants Ltd [2018] 8 WLUK 84

    ((HHJ Halliwell client money, misuse, level of knowledge applicable, obligation to resign as a director, director disqualification orders, disqualification periods)

    Inform CPI Ltd v Tower Hamlets LBC (Commercial Court) [2018] EWHC 2730 (Comm); [2018] 6 WLUK 692

    (HHJ Hodge KC, information technology, local government, burden of proof, interpretation, software licensing agreements, non-domestic rates and savings therein relating to business hereditaments)

    Re Pappy Ltd (In Liquidation) [2017] 8 WLUK 344; [2018] B.P.I.R. 1451

    (Directors, intra-group transfers, preferences claims in liquidation)

    Raithatha v Baig [2017] EWHC 2059 (Ch); [2017] 7 WLUK 583; [2018] B.P.I.R. 743

    (Chief Insolvency & Companies Judge Briggs, issues of quantification of loss and causation in context of misfeasance as regards failure of directors of Halal monitoring company to register company for VAT on professional advice)

    Safier v Wardell [2017] EWHC 20 (Ch); [2017] Bus. L.R. 564; [2017] 1 WLUK 147; [2017] B.P.I.R. 504

    (HHJ Behrens; successfully established that, on bankruptcy annulment, monies paid by third party into Insolvency Services Account not susceptible to Secretary of State levy)

    Re Dent (In Administration) [2016] EWHC 2650 (Ch); [2017] Ch. 422; [2017] 3 W.L.R. 198; [2016] 10 WLUK 599; [2017] BPIR 164

    (Norris J,equity, administration, Agricultural Credits Act 1928, marshalling, partnerships, subrogation, trustees-in-bankruptcy)

    Barclays Bank plc v Registrar of Companies [2015] EWHC 3140 (Ch)

    (Norris J, backdating of winding-up petitions)

    Hunt v Withinshaw [2015] EWHC 3072 (Ch)

    (Morgan J; ss.315 and 318 of the Insolvency Act 1986, vesting orders)

    Hunt v Conwy County Borough Council [2014] 1 WLR 254

    (Sir William Blackburne; leading case on bankruptcy disclaimer)

    Appleyard v Wewelwala [2013]1 WLR 752

    (Briggs J; trustee’s remuneration and call for amendment to insolvency legislation)

    Linfoot v Adamson [2012] BPIR 1033

    (applicable test on objection to treatment of proof by voluntary arrangement supervisor)

    Stericker v Horner [2012] BPIR 845

    (proprietary estoppel, undue influence and scope of Court of Appeal’s decision in McGuinness v Norwich & Peterborough Building Society on statutory demand set aside)

    Re MTB Motors Ltd (in administration) [2012] BCC 601(retrospective administration orders)

    Rehman v Chamberlain [2012] BCC 770

    (Court’s approach to alleged part consideration and s.245 avoidance of floating charge)

    Re A Block Transfer Order by Kaye [2010] BPIR 602

    (block transfer of large number of IVAs; expenses of creditors’ meeting and associated formalities; jurisdiction of court to interfere with approved arrangements where costs caps met)

    Re Power Builders (Surrey) Ltd, Power v Petrus Estates Ltd [2009] I BCLC 250

    (Lewison J; creditors’ meetings; liquidation; proof of debt; voting rights; proper approach to admission of proofs under r.4.70 and equivalent provisions)

    Revenue and Customs Commissioners v Cassells [2009] BPIR 284

    (Morritt C; annulment; discretionary powers in annulling under s.282 and reviewing under s.375)

    Simpson v Bowker [2008] BCC 781; [2007] Costs LR 850

    (Court of Appeal; creditor claims; company voluntary arrangements; costs; debtors; fees; funding arrangements)

    Stanley J Holmes & Sons Ltd v Davenham Trust plc [2007] BCC 485

    (Court of Appeal; administration; proper basis for valuation of third party goodson application for sale by administrators under Schedule B1, para 71)

    Kingsley IT Consulting Ltd v McIntosh [2006] BCC 875

    (Mr Terence Mowschensen KC; directors’ duties; secret profits; quantification of director’s liability to account to complainant company)

    Smurthwaite v Simpson-Smith [2006] All ER (D) 368; [2006] BPIR 1469

    (IVA; meaning of “reputed wife”; treatment of creditor by chairman; setting aside of arrangement; personal costs liability of office-holder, including various interim applications for specific disclosure and s.375 review before Warren J and the late Laddie J)

    Re Ultramotorhomes International Limited [2006} All ER (D) 227

    (Patten J; EC Regulation on Insolvency Proceedings; applicable law; proper construction of CVA; effect of German security; delivery up of arrangement assets)

    Akhtar v Rafiq [2006] I FLR 27

    (Bodey J; appearing for the Crown (Queen’s Proctor); effect of fraud/defective service in Middle Easton court process)

    Oakley v Ultra Vehicle Design Ltd (In Liquidation) [2006] BCC 115; noted also at [2005] IL4P 55

    (Lloyd LJ, sitting as a High Court judge; appropriate jurisdiction; conflict of law; EC Regulation; English court to deal with dispute subject to German law)

    Rio Properties Inc v Amer Mouaffac Al-Midani [2003] BPIR 128

    (bankruptcy; whether $2.8m gaming debt incurred in US capable of founding English bankruptcy petition)

    Commissioners of Customs & Excise v Allen [2003] BPIR 830

    (first reported disputed block transfer order)

    Palgrave Brown v Stinnes Logistics AG [2002] All ER (D) 241

    (Court of Appeal following five day trial in the Mercantile Court; interpretation of contractual agreement; liability of vendor to meet due diligence costs of prospective purchaser))

    Doyle v Saville [2002] BPIR 947

    (successful appeal to High Court overturning findings of transactions-at-undervalue and preferences below)

    Re Salmet International Ltd (in administration) [2001] BCC 796

    (Blackburne J; ranking of office-holder’s remuneration as expense in administration where shortfall)

    Industrial Diseases Compensation Ltd v Marrons [2001] BPIR 601

    (charging orders; setting aside; scope of CPR r.40.9)

    Harris v Gross [2001] BPIR 586

    (IVAs; standing of supervisor to petition for bankruptcy after expiration of fixed-term arrangements)

    Re Julie O Sullivan [2001] BPIR 534

    (jurisdiction of court to interfere with nominee’s fee as fixed by creditors; subsequent appeal to theCourt of Appeal aborted)

    Fuller v Cyracuse [2001] 1 BCLC 187

    (Mr Peter Leaver KC; striking out just and equitable winding-up petition in the face of complex offer to buy-out petitioner)

    Cork v Rawlins [2001] 3 WLR 300, CA

    (Court of Appeal; bankruptcy; vesting of contractual claim)

    Ord v Upton [2000] Ch 352 [2000] 2 WLR 755, CA

    Court ofAppeal; bankruptcy; nature of cause of action; vesting of personal injury claim)

    Lombard North Central plc v Brook [1999] BPIR 710

    (CVA; liquidated damages/ penalty clause; treatment of creditor for voting purposes)

    National Westminster Bank plc v Caldeira [1999] CLY 3225

    (bankruptcy; charging orders)

    Kelly v Pilgrim [1998] CLY 399

    (automatic directions; joinder)

    Related News


    "Louis is fantastic to work with. He makes the complex simple and is approachable and very down to earth, putting instructing solicitors immediately at ease. Combined with that, his ability to dissect an argument and an opaque suite of seemingly impenetrable documentation is second to none."

    Legal 500 2023

    "He's a fantastic advocate and he knows his onions in anything insolvency-related."

    Chambers UK 2023

    "Louis is very commercial, really easy to use and on top of the papers. He also grasps concepts quickly."

    Chambers UK 2023


    • Provincial Panel, Treasury Counsel (Civil Litigation) (primarily disqualification and Revenue work) (Appointed 2000, re-appointed 2003, retired 2007)

    Chambers UK 2022

    “A wonderful barrister.” “Clear and strong with clients.” “He is a very good advocate.”

    Legal 500 2022

    “Louis has a remarkable emotional intelligence and ability to connect and communicate with clients from all walks of life, his advocacy is superlative and he can be relied upon to consider and advise upon all aspects of a case.”

    “Incredibly knowledgeable and commercial. Great in front of clients and always comes across totally professional.”

    Chambers UK 2021

    “He is very proactive and exceptionally good with clients.” “He is a very slick advocate.”

    “A very approachable barrister – he is great with clients and can explain complex legal matters in a simple way.” “Very good on paper and has an excellent presence in court.”

    Legal 500 2020

    “A highly recommended new silk.”

    “He is extremely strong commercially, excellent at understanding the solicitor and client objectives and needs, also displays a great depth of technical knowledge and understanding”

    “He is clear of thought and provides concise advice.”

    “His practice includes company law, insolvency and financial litigation.”

    Chambers UK 2020

    “He is very accessible and always really helpful. If it’s a tricky contentious insolvency case, Louis is a go-to.” “He doesn’t sit on the fence and gives very robust opinions. He presents his client’s case in the strongest way possible.”

    “He is a leading practitioner for insolvency-related chancery work.” “He has a very relaxed advocacy style which is very effective and he backs that with fabulous intellectual knowledge.”

    Chambers UK 2019
    “He knows the insolvency law and rules very well, he’s very authoritative and he’s a very energetic advocate.”
    “An excellent, well-informed barrister. A pleasure to instruct.” “Extremely able and an excellent advocate.”

    Legal 500 2019
    “Excellent on his feet.”

    Chambers UK 2018
    “Particularly good on contentious matters, he is well known and respected in the industry.”
    “He is a very intelligent guy with a good knack for looking at cases from new angles.” “He has an excellent range of experience, provides commercially sound advice and represents good value for money.”

    Legal 500 2018
    “An insolvency expert.”

    Chambers UK 2017
    “I rate his advocacy skills and technical knowledge very highly.” “Both clients and judges seem to absolutely love him.”

    Legal 500 2017
    “A first-class barrister.”

    Chambers UK 2016
    “A well-known and very well-regarded barrister, strong on insolvency issues.”
    “He is an excellent, well-informed counsel. He’s a pleasure to instruct.”

    • Degree: LLB (CNAA), LLM (Birmingham)
    • Admitted as a solicitor in 1994
    • Year of Call: 1996 (Lincoln’s Inn)

    • Insolvency Lawyers Association (full member)
    • R3 (full member)
    • Chancery Bar Association
    • Committee Member, Northern Chancery Bar Association
    • Committee Member, Northern Commercial Bar Association
    • Professional Negligence Bar Association
    • Advocate (formerly the Bar Pro Bono Unit)

    • Doyle, Keay & Curl’s Annotated Insolvency Legislation (10th edn, 2021) (with Professor Andrew Keay and Joseph Curl KC)
    • Contributing editor to Gore-Browne on Companies (looseleaf, LexisNexis)
    • Insolvency Litigation (1997, Sweet & Maxwell)
    • Administrative Receivership: Law & Practice (1995, Sweet & Maxwell)
    • Over the last thirty years Louis has published various articles in refereed and academic journals on all aspects of insolvency, as well as commercial law issues as diverse as the legal regulation of investment by trustees (Trust Law International), the legal status of contracts for difference and derivatives (New Law Journal), common law and statutory liability for public offering documents (The Company Lawyer) and the independence requirements for trustees of pension schemes on scheme failure (Company & Insolvency Review). Some of his work is cited in leading textbooks.
    • Previously a member of the editorial board of Insolvency Intelligence and The Insolvency Lawyer.

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