Hannah Thornley +44 (0)20 7696 9900 hannahthornley


Practice Managers

Hannah Thornley

Hannah Thornley Hannah Thornley

Hannah Thornley

Called to the Bar 2003
+44 (0)20 7696 9900
Hannah Thornley
Called to the Bar 2003

Hannah is an experienced advocate and litigator. She appears regularly in the High Court and advises on domestic and international cases which are often of a complex or urgent nature. Hannah has also appeared as a junior in the Court of Appeal, the Privy Council and the House of Lords.

After her studies of company and commercial law at Cambridge University and her study of corporate insolvency law at Oxford University, Hannah has built up a wealth of expertise in disputes relating to companies and insolvencies, as well as cases which include general commercial, contractual and corporate issues during her years of practice at the Bar.

Hannah has advised, represented or appeared in Court for numerous UK, international and high profile banks, companies and private individuals. Hannah has acted for or against directors, shareholders, trustees, creditors, debtors, landlords, insolvency practitioners, accountants, solicitors, barristers, insurers, politicians and celebrities. She has acted for and against the Secretary of State and HMRC on a number of occasions. Clients Hannah is able to mention include: Lloyds TSBHSBC; Natwest; Bank of IrelandStandard Chartered BankAbbey NationalAnglo-Irish BankVolksbankCommerzbank; Agricultural Development Bank of Trinidad & Tobago; the Company that previously owned Manchester City Football ClubBritish Airways Pension Trustees; Landlords in Games Station; Landlords in Woolworths; BHS; Phones 4uConnaughtBarrattsBirthdaysCourtsPremier International FoodsThomson Directories, Dawnay DayEast London Bus GroupOilexco; Assetco Group; Lemma Insurance; Independent Insurance; UIC Insurance; Brit Insurance; the National House Building Council.

Hannah has a particular interest and extensive experience of shareholder disputes and the duties of directors in general and specifically in relation to insolvency and fraud situations.

Hannah was appointed to the Attorney General’s Panel of Junior Counsel to the Crown (C Panel) from 2 March 2015 for five years. Competition is fierce and only candidates of the highest quality are appointed.

In May 2016, Hannah was appointed as a specialist legal adviser to the Work and Pensions and Business Innovation and Skills House of Commons Select Committees in relation to the BHS inquiry.

Hannah was recommended as an "up and coming" junior in Chambers & Partners 2014. She was ranked in Chambers & Partners 2015 and was described as: "a very robust advocate". She is again ranked in Chambers & Partners 2017 and "is highly recommended for her technical aptitude and pragmatic approach". It further states that: "Hannah clearly knows the law inside out".


Insolvency and Restructuring

Hannah regularly advises on company, corporate insolvency and bankruptcy issues. Recent cases include acting for or advising:

  • The Work & Pensions Select Committee and Business, Innovation and Skills Committee as a specialist advisor on the BHS inquiry
  • A public figure on bankruptcy, debt and anonymity issues
  • A hedge fund owner on debt recovery
  • A number of different directors in respect of alleged breaches of duty
  • A number of family and partnership disputes
  • In respect of several director disqualification matters
  • A director in respect of alleged breaches of duty
  • A foreign bank on English insolvency actions
  • A just and equitable winding up petition
  • The directors of New Store Europe UK Ltd in connection with an application for administration and for a validation order, and the administrators in relation to ROT claims
  • The directors of the Phones 4U Group in connection with administration applications over 10 group companies, and the administrators in relation to an application to sell assets free of security, acting as junior to Antony Zacaroli QC
  • Volksbank in relation to a COMI dispute in bankruptcy
  • The provisional liquidators of a company in relation to a multi-million pound fraud and trust assets
  • The landlords in the Games Station case in relation to administration expenses, acting as junior to Antony Zacaroli QC: Pillar Denton Limited v Michael John Andrew Jervis [2014] EWCA Civ 180 (CA(Civ Div))
  • The Bank of Ireland in a COMI dispute arising out of the bankruptcy petitions of former Irish millionaire property developers the O’Donnells, acting as junior to Gabriel Moss QC: O’Donnell v Bank of Ireland [2013] EWHC 489 (Ch)
  • The company that previously owned Manchester City football club in relation to a fraud arising from the sale

 Other company and insolvency cases include acting for or advising:

  • The liquidator of a Gibraltar insurance company in relation to multiple claims, acting as junior to Glen Davis QC
  • A well-known insurance company in relation to the insolvency of its tenant, a firm of solicitors
  • Two companies that were the subject of public interest winding up petitions and applications for provisional liquidation
  • The directors of a company in relation to breaches of the duty of care and skill
  • A director in relation to section 236 proceedings
  • A director in relation to disqualification proceedings which were ultimately discontinued with costs
  • A firm of solicitors in relation to a shareholder and internal dispute
  • The administrators of the Connaught property group on a number of matters
  • A County Council in relation to an application to rescind a winding up petition
  • The administrators of the Barratts shoe group
  • Lloyds TSB and the AssetCo fire and rescue services group in relation to winding up petitions that had been issued against the group
  • The administrators of East London Bus Group on the distribution of dividends
  • The joint provisional liquidators of Independent Insurance Company  in connection with the winding up petition
  • British Airways Pension Trustees in relation to its application for an Administration order over one of its lessees
  • The liquidators of certain Dawnay Day group companies
  • Anglo-Irish Bank Corporation in relation to its Administration applications over debtor companies
  • Oilexco North Sea in relation to an Administration application made by the directors of the company
  • The administrators of Birthdays
  • Landlords in connection with the Woolworths administration
  • Langard v Sheldon Lochore, 2008, unrep. dealing with transactions at an undervalue and persons associated with directors of companies
  • Provisional liquidators of UIC Insurance Company
  • As junior to Richard Hacker QC on the administration application by the directors of Courts and Courts (UK)
  • Appeared weekly on behalf of numerous petitioners and companies in the Companies Court Winding Up list from 2008 to 2011
  • Regalway Care v Shillingford [2005] EWHC 261 (Ch), defending a company and director accused of VAT carousel fraud and dealing with injunctions

Banking and Finance

Cases include acting for or advising:

  • A private individual against a High Street Bank in respect of personal guarantees
  • Bank of Ireland against Irish property developers Brian and Mary O’Donnell
  • Abbey National and one of their employees in relation to section 236 examination proceedings
  • Bank of Ireland against an English property developer and certain property development companies in relation to personal guarantees
  • Standard Chartered Bank in relation to a multi-party fraud action
  • A High Street Bank in respect of a large-scale alleged mortgage fraud by several directors of several companies
  • A director accused of breach of duty and fraud
  • A party in respect of a fraud and property dispute against the liquidators of BCCI
  • O’Meara Food Products v Agricultural Development Bank of Trinidad & Tobago [2005] UKPC 6, acting as a junior to Michael Crystal QC, banking law issues, charges and issues of statutory construction

Commercial Litigation and Arbitration

Cases include acting for or advising:

  • Tanzanian company in respect of a commercial dispute
  • A well-known sport and football personality in respect of a number of personal guarantees given in relation to the funding of a football club
  • New Zealand company in respect of a commercial dispute with an English company
  • A well-known TV personality in respect of a commercial dispute and his position as a director of various entertainment companies
  • Acted as a junior to Richard Hacker QC for a Bermudian company in a long-running multi-jurisdictional and multi-party commercial dispute including allegations against directors, allegations of fraud and allegations of money-laundering
  • Brit Insurance in respect of a number of insurance contract disputes
  • National House Building Council in respect of commercial disputes
  • Premier International Foods (UK) in relation to a commercial dispute
  • In arbitration proceedings for an Indian company in relation to a contractual dispute
  • Jones v Kingdom of Saudi Arabia [2006] UKHL 26, acting as a junior to Michael Crystal QC, international law, including jurisdiction and state immunity

Professional Negligence

Hannah sits on the Council of the Inns of Court Disciplinary Panel for members of the Bar, overseen by the Bar Tribunals and Adjudication Service. She has also sat as a Visitor to the Inns of Court on a disciplinary appeal.

Cases include:

  • Regularly advises solicitors and insolvency practitioners on issues relating to professional negligence
  • Acted for the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal in relation to enforcement of costs orders regarding a solicitor having been struck off
  • Acted for a solicitor in negligence and breach of trust proceedings which included an application for anonymisation
  • Acted for the insurance company of a potentially negligent Trustee in Bankruptcy
  • Acted for the supervisor of an IVA in relation to a potentially defective IVA
  • Acted for a solicitor in professional negligence proceedings

Trusts and Property

Cases include:

  • Advising on a trust issue in relation to a deceased individual
  • Advising and appearing for a high net worth individual in relation to a claim about the ownership of a luxury car
  • Advising the trustees of a pension scheme on the validity and scope of a debenture
  • Advising a Jersey trust company in relation to various property issues, including a bankruptcy and charging orders
  • Avis v Turner [2007] BPIR 6, dealt with the workings of the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996
  • Franses v Oomerjee [2005] BPIR 1320, after-acquired property in insolvency


Chambers  & Partners 2017

Ranked and described as: "highly recommended for her technical aptitude and pragmatic approach".  It further states that: "Hannah clearly knows the law inside out"

Chambers & Partners 2015

Chambers & Partners 2014

Ranked and described as “a very robust advocate”

Recommended as an up and coming junior in Insolvency Law



 Called to the Bar of England and Wales


2015 Appointed to the Attorney General’s Panel of Junior Counsel to the Crown (C Panel) from 2 March 2015
2013 Appointed to sit on the Bar Disciplinary Panel
2012 - 2015 Appointed as a Chambers Equality and Diversity Officer
2012 - 2015 Elected onto the Chambers Executive Committee


Contributor to Gore-Browne on Companies
Contributor to Company Directors: Duties, Liabilities and Remedies (Mortimore, OUP)
Contributor to Professional Negligence and Liability (Simpson)


2003-2004 Pupillage at South Square
2002-2003 Bar Vocational Course, ICSL
2001-2002 Brasenose College, Oxford University, BCL
1998-2001 Downing College, Cambridge University, MA Law


Scholarship Accommodation in Temple (Middle Temple)
Major Scholarship Queen Mother (Middle Temple)
Harmsworth Entrance Exhibition (Middle Temple)
Seton Scholarship (Downing College, Cambridge University)
Rebecca Flower Squire Scholarship (Cambridge, University)

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