Martha Maher


Martha Maher

Call 1987 (Inner Temple)
Qualifications BCL, LL.B, University College, Cork, Ireland, LLM, Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, Inns of Court School of Law, Inner Temple Major Scholarship, Cork Examiner Scholarship, Pegasus Scholar to Australia CEDR Accredited Mediator (2008) Called to Irish Bar BL and New South Wales Bar
Professional Memberships Chancery Bar Association

Expertise


Martha acts in cases involving:

  • Commercial contract litigation
  • Injunctive and other interim relief
  • Professional negligence
  • Professional discipline
  • Fraud, misrepresentation
  • Bloodstock and equestrian Sports
  • Arbitration/mediation
  • Bribery

Recent cases

  • Advising a company in the security/counter-terrorism industry in relation to arbitration proceedings concerning a number of interrelated contractual claims including breach of distribution agreement against subsidiaries of listed security company.
  • Advising and successfully acting for former MD in relation to proceedings for alleged multi-handed procurement fraud/secret commission/conspiracy/procuring breach of contract  in connection with gasworks installation in large development site in the Midlands.
  • Chairing disciplinary panel of equestrian regulatory body to investigate doping allegation involving competition horse.
  • Advising and acting for Accountant/Insolvency Practitioner in relation to disciplinary charges before the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.
  • Acting for regulator in relation to disciplinary charges against scrivener notary arising out of so-called boiler room fraud.
  • Acting in contract/misrepresentation dispute concerning Grand Prix Dressage Horse.

Recommendations 

  • “She really gets into the detail of things. She’s good at drilling down into the documents and thinking outside the box.” “She is user-friendly and a good advocate whom I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend.” Chambers UK, Commercial Dispute Resolution (2018)
  • “Martha has a broad commercial disputes practice, spanning fraud, partnership and company matters as well as insolvency. She also has expertise in ADR, and she is recommended for her experience and people skills. ‘She likes a good close working relationship with her instructing solicitors and she’s a very good trial advocate.’ ‘She is commercial, proactive and good at getting on with clients.’ ” Chambers UK, Commercial Dispute Resolution (2017)
  • “Martha has an incisive mind and is a very good, feisty advocate.” Legal 500, Commercial, banking, insolvency and Chancery law (2016)
  • “Martha is a formidable advocate renowned for her tenacious approach to litigation. She is particularly adept in fraud, insolvency and partnership litigation. ‘She is very commercial. She thinks about the practicalities of really getting a dispute resolved.’ ‘She was very responsive, very thorough and gained a really good grasp of a complicated dispute really quickly. She presented really well and the clients were impressed by her.’ ” Chambers UK, Commercial Dispute Resolution (2016)
  • “Martha is able to identify technical weakness in an opponent’s case.” Legal 500, Commercial, Banking and Insolvency (2015)

Martha specialism’s include:

  • Company and LLP disputes involving exiting directors and shareholder litigation including:
    • Unfair Prejudice petitions under s994 Companies Act 2006
    • Derivative actions
    • Misfeasance actions
    • Breach of fiduciary duties
  • Directors’ rights and duties to include de facto and shadow directors
  • Corporate fraud including fraudulent trading, bribery
  • Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986. She has been on the panel of Treasury Counsel in disqualification cases 1992 to 2006

Recent cases 

  • Acting for Norwegian group of companies in the oil drilling industry in relation to the exit of a UK based managing director/shareholder.
  • Advising and acting for former MD on the successful defence of allegations of bribery , conspiracy to defraud and procuring breach of contract.
  • Acting for minority shareholders in a design and supply company in relation to long running unfair prejudice dispute with major shareholder alleged to have acted in breach of Shareholders’ Agreement and in breach of fiduciary duty by having set up entities in other jurisdictions to secretly siphon off the company’s profits.

Recommendations

  • “Martha is well regarded by peers and is known for her tenacity and drive. ‘She is strong on directors’ issues, and company matters generally.’ ‘Very flexible, highly knowledgeable and impressive to the clients.’ ” Chambers UK , Chancery (2016)

Martha is known for her longstanding specialism in corporate, partnership and individual insolvency including:

  • Administration
  • CVAs
  • IVAs
  • Misfeasance
  • Wrongful trading and fraudulent trading
  • Preference claims
  • Transactions at an undervalue
  • Acting for and advising IPs
  • Acting for and advising insolvent individuals, directors
  • Disciplinary Charges against IPs before IPA, ICAEW, ACCA
  • Acting for banks or other commercial bodies associated with or affected by corporate or individual insolvency

Recent cases

  • Advising fund operators of an unregulated investment fund in connection with issues affecting the winding up of the fund.
  • Advising MD of group of sporting companies as to allegations by liquidator in relation to transactions at undervalue and unlawful distributions of capital in relation to payments of dividends and inter-company loans.
  • Advising and acting in relation to the demise into administration of top 100 law firm Cobbetts LLP.
  • Advising and acting for bankrupt with complex portfolio of interests in relation to annulment, rescission of bankruptcy and as to appropriate exit strategies.
  • Advising and acting for Accountant/Insolvency Practitioner in relation to disciplinary charges before the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.
  • Advising IPs on alleged negligence claims against them in connection with prepack sale of business.

Recommendations 

  • “Her appreciation of the facts and issues surrounding a case is impressive. She is also very personable.” Chambers UK, Restructuring/Insolvency (2018)
  • “A quick and decisive thinker.” Legal 500, Commercial, banking, insolvency and Chancery law (2017)
  • “Martha is an expert in regulatory work relating to insolvency practitioners, who is also adept at handling high-profile partnership disputes that feature an insolvency element. ‘Puts clients at ease, is very proactive and has great drafting skills.’ ” Chambers UK, Restructuring/Insolvency (2017)
  • “Martha has an incisive mind and is a very good, feisty advocate.” Legal 500, Commercial, banking, insolvency and Chancery law (2016)
  • “Martha is praised for her approachability and strong client care skills. ‘She is very user-friendly and good on her feet in court.’ ” Chambers UK, Restructuring/Insolvency (2016)
  • “Martha is highly rated as an adviser and advocate for handling corporate, personal and partnership insolvencies. She is particularly highly praised for her team-driven and engaging approach to her instructions, and for her exhaustive attention to detail.” Chambers UK, Restructuring/Insolvency (2015)

Martha is a CEDR trained mediator, and well-regarded counsel. She regularly acts for  parties in successful mediations in all business related disputes including contracts, joint ventures, partnerships, corporate fallouts and valuation disputes, and insolvency related matters. She has acted and appeared in a number of Arbitrations.

Why choose Martha to mediate?

  • Approachable
  • Deal focused
  • Maintains momentum
  • Quick to absorb detail
  • Diffuses adversarial approach (particularly between counsel!)
  • Resilient
  • Business-like
  • Cost sensitive rates

Martha’s recent mediation cases included:

  • A dispute for recovery of contractual debt against background of complex portfolio of security and insolvency allegations.
  • A dispute between former law firm partners involving valuation of departing partner’s share.
  • A dispute between former MD and  subsidiary of drilling tools manufacturer.
  • A demerger of international legal joint venture.

Feedback:

  • “Martha knew the issues and our position in relation to them in detail.”
  • “At one point we thought the mediation was over but Martha brought us back around the table and eventually the matter did in fact settle.”
  • “She is a pragmatic mediator and quick to pick up on the real issues of a case.”

Download brochure: Mediation by Martha Maher

Described by Chambers UK 2017 as one of the region’s leading partnership specialists, Martha has a national profile in complex partnership litigation and her practice covers advice and acting for partnerships, LLPs and other business structures in addressing a number of issues including:

  • Advising on construction of agreements including partnerships, LLPs, Joint venture agreements and other business structures.
  • Advising and acting in relation to internal disputes; partner/member rights and responsibilities, issues of good faith.
  • Effectiveness of restrictive covenants.
  • De-equitisation.
  • Exit issues including dismantling of joint venture agreements between professional practices in different jurisdictions.
  • Expulsion and compulsory retirement
  • Accounts
  • Unfair prejudice
  • Dissolution and winding up of partnership affairs
  • Advising in relation to insolvency issues; acting in relation to insolvency proceedings including administration and winding up.

 Recent cases

  • Advising partner in relation to collapse of Midlands partnership.
  • Advising equity partner in connection with break-up of well known Northwest LLP.
  • Advising and acting in relation to the demise into administration of top 100 law firm Cobbetts LLP.
  • Advising and acting for partner in concurrent partnership, property and Children Act disputes involving dissolved partnership of well known West Country racing pub and acting alongside family law counsel in successful combined FDR/CPR directed resolution of disputes before senior District Judge.
  • Advising medical partnership in relation to expulsion of non-compliant partner.
  • Advising a firm of solicitors in relation to retirement issues affecting the departure of a senior partner.
  • Advising a partner in city law firm in respect of exit issues involving dismantling of jv agreement between law firms in different jurisdictions.

Recommendations

  • “A very good barrister indeed; she undoubtedly has expertise in this area and I commend her.” “A very capable barrister who has dealt with high-profile partnership work, which forms a key part of her practice.” Chambers UK, Partnership (2018)
  • “Martha commands widespread recognition as one of the region’s leading partnership specialists and is active across the full range of practice area issues, with particularly keen skills where medical and commercially-focused partnership structures are concerned. Admired for her tough courtroom advocacy, she is also noted for her openness to alternative dispute resolution processes and is prominent in the mediation of partnership disputes. ‘She is definitely up there as a true specialist when it comes to partnership work.’ ‘Absolutely excellent.’ ” Chambers UK, Partnership (2017)
  • ” ‘Martha is a very experienced practitioner with an impressive knowledge of partnership law.’ ‘She is very user-friendly and is good on her feet.’ ” Chambers UK, Partnership (2016)
  • “Martha is a talented practitioner who frequently appears in high-profile partnership disputes. She is particularly skilled in partnership disputes that feature an insolvency element. ‘She is very positive and a very good practitioner. She doesn’t take things lying down.’ ” Chambers UK, Partnership (2015)
  • “Sources are particularly complimentary regarding Martha’s handling of GP partnership disputes. ‘She is my top choice. She has a great attention to detail and is indefatigable.’ ” Chambers UK, Partnership (2014)

Practice Overview

Martha is a “highly rated” commercial chancery barrister specialising in commercial litigation, company disputes, partnership litigation and insolvency. She is also an effective mediator.

Martha Maher will be speaking at the Chancery Bar Association Channel Islands Conference 2016

Between 1989 and 2009 she practiced from Guildhall Chambers.  Martha is known for her “very straight forward”, commercial, no nonsense approach, and for her tough and persuasive advocacy style.

She is also known for her longstanding company and insolvency expertise and has several reported corporate and insolvency cases to her credit over the years including Re Westmid Packaging Services Limited (Company Director Disqualification), David Meek (Administration) Mordant V Halls. She also acts and advises in cases involving contracts, civil fraud and  breaches of fiduciary duty. “She isn’t afraid to pick something up and delve into it”.

Martha appears in high-profile partnership disputes.. She has acted in the well publicised case of failed law firm Cobbetts LLP, acting for the LLP and KPMG. She has acted in one of the leading reported cases on expulsion, breach of the duty of good faith and damages for breach of partnership, with citations in all leading partnership textbooks, the decision of Neuberger J in Mullins v Laughton et al reported in 2003 Ch 250. She was involved in advising and acting in connection with the pre-pack administration of the solicitors firm Halliwells LLP reported at 2011 1 BCLC 345.

Martha has acted in cases involving satellite negligence of legal and accountancy firms in relation to the above areas for example in Walker v Mark Holt and Co 2008 BCC 458 involving allegations of deliberate continued trading at the expense of creditors.

Martha acts for insolvency and other professionals in relation to disciplinary charges before their regulatory bodies, and has recently acted on behalf of the Worshipful Company of Scriveners in relation to disciplinary charges against a Scrivener Notary arising out of a so-called boiler room fraud involving a UK insolvency. She has been appointed as External Reviewer of Complaints for a leading-RPB.

She is regular speaker at commercial/insolvency legal seminars. She has contributed to the new Lexis Nexis PSL online on Partnerships and Insolvency and to Lexis Nexis Current Awareness.

Martha is identified as a ‘top barrister’ by Who’s Who UK Bar: Company and Partnership 2017. She is described as having “30 years experience, in commercial chancery work” and with “extensive expertise in partnership disputes and directors’ disqualification cases”.