Susan Kelly is a partner in our Restructuring & Insolvency Practice Group.

    Susan has an extensive national and cross-border and restructuring practice in which she represents international banks, asset-based lenders and other financiers, restructuring and turnaround professionals, directors and management teams, as well as creditors, and advises on all issues arising in financially stressed and distressed scenarios.

    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 multinational corporations.

    Susan has worked on many well-known assignments, including Urban Splash – SIG Building Systems, CNG – Axcess Financial Europe, Cash Generator Limited and Cheque Centres Limited, Must Have – VIP Electronic Cigarettes, 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 is a Licensed Insolvency Practitioner (licensed 1997). She is certified by the European Association of Certified Turnaround Professionals.

    Susan 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 at the World Bank’s Global Financial Infrastructure week in Istanbul talking about multijurisdictional restructuring matters.

    Susan is a former member of our Global Board and was a board member of the Turnaround Management Association Europe. She previously led the Restructuring & Insolvency Practice Group in the UK and Europe.


    Susan is perennially ranked as a leading restructuring lawyer and a Band 1 professional in the Northwest. Below are quotes from clients:

    • Susan is “very experienced, extremely commercial and has really good risk awareness”. Chambers 2020
    • Susan and her team are “professional, knowledgeable and helpful.  The level of support was fantastic”. Chambers 2019
    • Susan is “very pleasant to work with and insightful – she always thought everything through well.” Chambers 2018
    • “Susan Kelly was instrumental in navigating a complex legal and regulatory situation to a successful end. Perhaps more significantly, she was not only outstanding at her core responsibilities within the team, but she added tremendous value by identifying new creative solutions that created significant business benefit. Always available and always positive, she was a delight to work with.” Doug Clark, President, Axcess Financial Europe Limited, October 2017
    • “Susan is a very talented and tenacious lawyer, able to handle the most complex of deals. During the transaction, she successfully delivered for my firm, she showed that she is innovative in coming up with workable solutions to move a deal to conclusion, as well has having the courage to challenge the other side when they are being unreasonable or obtuse. She is a very committed person and will work tirelessly around the clock if need be to hit deadlines. A good communicator, she also gets alongside her clients to help simplify and explain difficult legal concepts. Susan would be an asset to any firm looking to complete a commercial transaction.” Paul Court, Managing Director, Cash Generator Holdings Limited and Cheque Centres Group Limited, October 2017
    • “Beyond her considerable smarts and sensitivities to the legal nuances involved in dealing with and amongst all the parties, she 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, humor and counselor skills.” Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Global manufacturer and distributor, December 2014
    • Susan is referred to as “first rate”. The Legal 500 2017
    • Susan is noted as “a very strong leader who continues to be excellent at restructuring”. Clients have also said the team are “distinguished by their global reach. Despite their international reach and being a big firm, you get big resources at short notice and the offices do talk to teach other. The service offering is joined up.” Chambers 2016
    • Susan is mentioned as leading a “very professional” team and is described as “exceptional”. The Legal 500 2016
    • Susan’s team offers strength in depth with “strong leadership”. Chambers 2015
    • 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”, “robust” 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
    • Susan “has an excellent standing in the North West”. The Legal 500 UK 2009
    • Susan “is the most proactive” and “impressive”. The Legal 500 UK 2008
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    • Urban Splash – Leading a cross-practice group team and advising on Urban Splash’s acquisition of loss-making SIG Building Systems’ business and assets. This opportunistic transaction enabled the internationally renowned Urban Splash to expand its off-site construction capacity and control the production of its houses for future growth.
    • CNG Holdings – Leading a cross-border and cross-practice group team and advising US-based financial services provider CNG on its restructuring in Europe. Acting on the sales of, amongst others, the Cash Generator groups and its multisite national business and Cheque Centres. This was a complex cross-border assignment and involved Susan leading a team of 10 partners across the US, the UK and Poland with support from practice groups including litigation, financial services, corporate finance and intellectual property.
    • Must Have Limited – Leading the team acting for the administrators of Must Have, which entered administration with more than US$100 million in secured debt due to financiers across the UK and the US. The team advised on the legal aspects of trading the business in the short term, as well as the complex security position and distribution arrangements between the various secured parties.
    • 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 multinational 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 multijurisdictional assignment, which saw Susan leading an international team of eight 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 multibanked 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 multijurisdictional 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 1,300 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
    • Recommended in Chambers UK 2017 for Restructuring/Insolvency, National Leaders (Outside London)
    • Recommended in Chambers UK 2017 as Band 1 Restructuring Lawyer
    • Recommended as a Leading Individual in The Legal 500 UK 2018 for Insolvency and Corporate Recovery

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