Adam Harris

Adam Harris

Cape Town, South Africa
T: +27 21 480 7837
  • Overview
  • Experience
  • Publications & Insights


Adam Harris is a partner in our Dispute Resolution Department and is based in our Cape Town office.

Adam specialises in corporate restructuring, business rescue and insolvency-related matters. He represents lenders, creditors and other institutions (such as professional indemnity insurers), as also business rescue and insolvency practitioners, in the restructuring of companies (both formal and informal), the administration of insolvent estates and the winding-up of companies. He also represents foreign appointees in relation to their recognition and asset recovery both in South Africa and in other African jurisdictions. Adam has advised a number of international creditors and practitioners of various mining operations regarding the disposal and /or recovery of assets in South Africa.

Adam has attended to some of the leading cases on different aspects of business rescue and insolvency such as the constitutionality of interrogations, impeachable (“claw-back”) transactions, procedural aspects of liquidation applications and Practitioners’ remuneration. This, apart from interpretational disputes arising from the 2008 Companies Act.

He is a past-president of INSOL International, having served as President for two years. INSOL International is the worldwide federation of member associations representing over 10 000 members, active across the globe in the fields of restructuring and insolvency (bankruptcy).

He also served for several years as a national councillor of the South African Restructuring and Insolvency Practitioners Association (SARIPA) and chaired the Law Society of South Africa’s Insolvency Committee.

He is one of the co-authors of “Mars, the Law of Insolvency”, 9th and 10th editions, a leading insolvency text in South Africa.

He holds BA, LLB and LLM degrees from the University of Cape Town.

Specialist Services

Relevant Experience

  • Represented the Liquidators in the matter of Bester v Bernstein (before the Constitutional Court), which dealt with the constitutionality of Enquiry proceedings in a liquidation context;
  • Acted in the matters of Gore v Saficon Industrial Equipment and Gore v Ramsauer Transport – two leading cases on voidable dispositions (“clawbacks”) in terms of the Insolvency Act.
  • Represented the Insolvency Practitioners as sellers in the Pamodzi Gold matters in the sale of the mines and mining assets.
  • Represented one of the major South Africa Banking institutions in litigation arising from interest rate swaps.
  • Represented various foreign Insolvency Practitioners/Liquidators from eg Bermuda, the Netherlands, United Kingdom in obtaining recognition in South Africa and in the tracing and realisation of assets.
  • Represented the Business Rescue Practitioner in the restructuring and disposal of assets in a substantial property group, as also the related contentious work.
  • Advised various State-owned Entities (SOEs) in relation to the restructuring and formal processes.
  • Acted in the Tollgate Group of companies, one of the largest corporate collapses in South Africa with extensive interests as far-ranging as Motor transport, Tour operators, Grand Prix Racing, involving forensic investigations and a broad-ranging insolvency enquiry, and asset-trace proceedings in various jurisdictions inter alia France, UK, Switzerland, Turks and Caicos, USA, Namibia.


  • Chambers and Partners 2018 to 2021 ranked Adam in Band 2 for Restructuring/Insolvency and in Band 1 for the same category in 2017.

Based out of Cape Town, Adam Harris is a notable name in the insolvency market. He is regularly seen acting for banks and other creditors, as well as distressed companies, on formal and informal restructuring and other insolvency-related issues. – Chambers and Partners 2021

Cape Town-based Adam Harris is a prominent fixture in the market, well known through his private practice and as a former president of INSOL International. His expertise spans business rescue, insolvency and liquidations and he is particularly distinguished for his handling of contentious mandates. Sources comment that he is “business-focused with excellent local knowledge.Chambers and Partners 2020

Cape Town-based Adam Harris is a highly respected insolvency practitioner with an excellent reputation for his litigious work in the field. Commentators describe him as “commercially astute and well respected,” with others championing his “excellent knowledge.” He is regularly sought out for his advice by financial institutions and currently acts as president of INSOL International.Chambers and Partners 2019

Cape Town-based Adam Harris is highlighted for his extensive knowledge of insolvency law. Sources describe him as “commercially astute and driven to conclude matters positively.” He is the current president of INSOL International.Chambers and Partners 2018

Cape Town-based Adam Harris of Bowmans is “definitely an expert around the legal aspects of distressed debt.” He was the co-lead partner acting for the business rescue practitioners of Continental Coal and two of its subsidiaries in respect of its business rescue proceedings. This involved Continental’s disposal of one of the subsidiaries, in addition to other assets.Chambers and Partners 2017

Publications & Insights