Kelly, Susan

Susan Kelly


Susan leads the Restructuring & Insolvency practice group in the UK and Europe and is a member of our Global Board. 

She worked in London for the first half of her career and although now based in Manchester she spends time in London, Europe and further afield in her capacity as co-chair of the Cross Border Restructuring group.

Susan's expertise covers a broad range of domestic and international insolvency (both contentious and non-contentious), lender security reviews and enhancement, restructuring, turnaround and business support. She has particular experience of acting for financiers including top tier banks and international asset based lenders plus she regularly represents major firms of accountants and multi-national corporations.

Susan has worked on many well-known assignments including Printpack, La Seda de Barcelona/Appe, Silentnight, TEG plc, Klarius/Quinton Hazell, Magnus, Burdens, FirstCity, Prontaprint, Hickson & Welch/C6, David McLean and Gamble Rail. She has in-depth experience of all forms of insolvency from a variety of angles and advises clients on their options as creditors, debtors and office holders in any given situation.

Susan is a Fellow of the Association of Business Recovery Professionals, a member of the Insolvency Lawyers Association and a board member of the Turnaround Management Association Europe. She makes regular presentations on a variety of restructuring related topics, mostly recently at the Turnaround Management Association European conference talking about sales of distressed property and loan portfolios and the World Bank Infrastructure Conference talking about international restructuring.


Susan is ranked as a leading restructuring lawyer and a Band 1 professional in the Northwest and noted as an elite leading lawyer in The Legal 500 UK 2015 guide to outstanding lawyers nationwide.

Below are quotes from clients:

  • Susan is noted as acting with “a rare combination of commercial acumen, legal expertise and common sense.” Clients say she will “tear the other side's argument to pieces while putting a clear and concise case forward for her client”
    The Legal 500 UK 2015.
  • “Susan, beyond her considerable smarts and sensitivities to the legal nuances involved in dealing with and amongst all parties in a transaction, proved to be a deft negotiator and a good project shepherd. Being based in the US, I, as General Counsel, also appreciated the numerous occasions on which she provided me advanced insights into the flow of the deal or legal obstacles she anticipated would bear down upon us. The deal was tough but nonetheless successfully concluded an outcome that we could not have achieved without her energy, humour and counsellor skills.”
    General Counsel of a global manufacturing enterprise, 2014.
  • Susan is well respected as “an exceptional business lawyer with an outstanding ability to handle the most complex, difficult and diverse range of matters”, “technically good, commercial and very robust”. She is described as a “leading individual”, and clients agree that she “provides a real partner led approach to client services”.
    Susan and her team “handle a broad range of restructuring matters and are always very impressive – really brilliant”.
    They are known for their “ability to effectively utilise the firm’s significant international footprint to provide clients with a seamless service on cross border matters”.
    They are noted as providing “a very bespoke service with a strong desire to understand their clients”.
    “If I was referring or recommending someone they would be my first choice”
    Chambers UK 2014.
  • Susan is described as “expert in creating simple, clear and effective strategies to deal with complex matters”
    The Legal 500 UK 2014.
  • “Susan tackles new and complex issues and is able to provide us with expedient commercial solutions” and “is praised for her straight forward approach to getting deals completed”
    Chambers UK 2013.
  • Susan is “very well respected by the banks” and lauded for her “strong focus on the detail”
    Chambers UK 2012.
  • Susan is described as “focused, efficient” and “results oriented”
    The Legal 500 UK 2012.
  • Susan is “particularly strong in pensions related matters”
    The Legal 500 UK 2011.
  • Susan is commended as “commercial, informed, succinct and direct”
    The Legal 500 UK 2010.
  • Susan has “a fantastic reputation among accountants and has the ability to pull in top people to give clients a well-rounded service”. Susan and her team boast “strong credentials and a real talent for handling pensions and asset backed lending work”
    Chambers UK 2009.


  • Printpack Enterprises Limited – leading a cross practice group team to agree the £60 million sale of the assets of Printpack to an MBO team. Printpack was part of the global conglomerate Printpack Inc, a £1.5 billion turnover packaging manufacturer. Enterprises needed to urgently restructure its debt and protect the rights of the beneficiaries of its pension scheme. The team included Pensions, Labour Employment, Tax, Real Estate and Banking. Susan advised the board of Printpack Enterprises and liaised closely with the global counsel of Printpack Inc. The sale was successfully negotiated and resulted in the ongoing trading of Enterprises and preservation of all 80 plus jobs. Susan also advised with regard to the impact of a Polish subsidiary entering insolvency and the effect of that on the eventual successful sale of the business.
  • Klarius Group Limited /Quinton Hazell Limited – acting for the group board of directors of this large multi-national automotive parts manufacturer and distributor based in the North West with a £250 million turnover and in excess of £100 million in liabilities. Susan advised the Group with regard to its struggling subsidiaries in Eire, France, German, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Poland and the UK. She advised the board with regard to a restructure and refinance of the business and dealt with the sales of various subsidiaries including the UK. Susan also advised on its formal insolvencies of the Spanish and French businesses and the restructure of the German, Italian and Polish businesses. A major multi-jurisdictional assignment which saw Susan leading an international team of 8 partners across a number of practice groups.
  • Magnus Properties (UK) Limited – acting for financiers and the subsequent administrators in relation to the administration and restructuring of the commercial and residential property portfolio management business of Magnus and related companies located in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Eire. The portfolio consisted of over 1,000 residential and commercial units, including nursing homes and hotels, and involved managing multi banked debt of in excess of £85 million. Susan advised on the strategy for restructuring, the portfolio issuing applications to courts in different jurisdictions, the application of EU Regulations and centre of main interests, issues in relation to the multi-jurisdictional nature of the business, and investigations into the affairs and dealings of the company.
  • Appe (UK) Limited – retained by the trustees of Appe’s pension scheme with regard to the formal insolvencies of Appe’s group and its parent La Seda de Barcelona based in Barcelona, Spain. The LSB Group turnover is in excess of £1.5 billion. Appe is headquartered in the UK and is a market leader in designing and manufacturing PET preforms, bottles and containers for a wide range of markets such as food, beverages and household products. Its pension scheme was under funded with an estimated deficit in the region of £30 million. This matter involved working with the trustees to protect the UK pension scheme’s position and involved complex cross border analysis of Spanish insolvency procedure, and international law and its effect on the UK pension scheme.
  • Silentnight Limited – Silentnight employed more than 1300 people and had a turnover in excess of £120 million. It produced and sold mattresses and divans with an impressive market share of 25% and a long list of household client names. Susan was originally retained by the Group to advise on strategy with regard to a major pension scheme deficit in the region of £130 million. Subsequent solvency issues and a possible voluntary arrangement were advised upon and Susan was retained by the administrators of Silentnight upon their appointment achieving an immediate sale of the business and assets and preserving the vast majority of jobs.
  • Burdens Group – acting for GE Bank Limited as financier of Burdens the leading UK supplier of civil engineering and building materials to the infrastructure, utilities, construction and environmental sectors. Burden had a turnover in excess of £350 million and employed over 1,100 people across its 50 depots in the UK. Susan led a team of partners across our banking and financial services, trade and competition and real estate practice groups and worked with Burdens to restructure its business successfully reducing GE’s exposure. Included acting on the sale to Wolseley plc which involved myriad property issues, transitional services agreement and clearance from EC Competition Authority.
  • FirstCity Partnership Limited – advising the trustees of pension scheme of FirstCity and its defined benefit scheme with a deficit of £30 million and considering the insolvency recovery options. Subsequently acting for KPMG as administrators of this FSA regulated insurance broker and risk management adviser in the London and international insurance market. FirstCity’s business included income lines re the brokerage side in excess of £22 million. Susan advised the administrators and subsequently the liquidators involving detailed advice on the sale of FirstCity’s business with the preservation of the vast majority of jobs. Susan also liaised with the then Financial Services Authority with regard to regulated activities and generally with regard to the Financial Services and Market Act 2000, the operation of client accounts under the FSA CASS Rules, including successful court proceedings to obtain Berkeley Applegate orders for the handling and distribution of trust assets and client monies, insurance run-off service agreements and ongoing court proceedings relating to challenges to validity of unregistered security interest over indemnity insurance refunds.

Reported Cases 

  • Tony Rowse NMC Limited [1996] BCC – liquidator’s remuneration and expenses.
  • Cadbury Schweppes plc v Somji [2000] AER – voluntary arrangement and unfair prejudice to creditors.


  • College of Law, Chester, 1986
  • Nottingham Trent University, LL.B., 1985


  • England and Wales, 1988
  • Recognized as a leading individual by Chambers UK 2016
  • Listed as an Elite leading restructuring lawyer in The Legal 500 UK.
  • Perennially listed as a leading restructuring lawyer The Legal 500 UK for Insolvency and corporate recovery.
  • Perennially listed in Chambers UK as a Band 1 leading restructuring lawyer.

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