Restructuring & Insolvency - Henry Davis York

Restructuring & Insolvency

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Our Restructuring & Insolvency team is consistently recognised by our clients, peers and industry bodies for its pre-eminence, evidenced by the complexity, scale and sensitivity of the matters entrusted to us.

HDY's team has had leading roles in Australia's most important and high profile corporate collapses, major insolvencies and ground-breaking restructurings over the last 3 years. Many of these matters have required large, multi-disciplinary teams formed from across HDY.

We also have Australia's leading cross-border insolvency practice, with a number of partners who have practised and remain qualified in key foreign jurisdictions.  The depth of our experience is unparalleled in the Australian market and this is reflected by our regular instructions in offshore matters with an Australian connection, especially in the UK, USA and Grand Cayman.

Leading the way

Many of the matters our team has advised on have involved 'firsts' which have led to landmark judgments and changes in the law:

  • We made the first ever court applications under the new PPSA regime in the Hastie and Octaviar liquidations because of the novelty of the issues and the amounts involved.
  • We successfully applied to have the liquidation of a foreign bank (Caledonian Bank Ltd) recognised in Australia under the Cross-Border Insolvency Act.
  • We advised Perpetual (the Australian trustee for 1,000 retail investors) seeking recourse to $125m in collateral in the 'flip clause' international parallel litigation in the Lehman bankruptcy, that produced inconsistent decisions between the UK Supreme Court and the US Bankruptcy Court.
  • We successfully applied for a Court appointed receiver to Provident Capital, based on concerns as to equal treatment of debenture holders despite there being no missed payments or other default.

Litigation arising from these and other HDY matters has had far-reaching impact and led to landmark judgments and changes in cross-border insolvency law, including recognition of Lord Hoffmann's 'golden thread of universalism' by the House of Lords in HIH (in which we advised the successful James Hardie asbestos trust), and the UK Supreme Court's subsequent curtailment of the principle in New Cap Re v Grant / Rubin v Eurofinance (in which we advised the successful Australian liquidator).

We have driven change in the industry more broadly through membership of industry bodies and associations. We are the only Australian law firm to have 2 INSOL Fellows (International Association of Restructuring, Insolvency & Bankruptcy Professionals). One of our partners is a member of the International Insolvency Institute, and another is Vice-President of ARITA.


John Martin


61 418 229 942

61 2 9947 6318

They have very strong technical knowledge, sector-leading professionals, good depth of talent below partner level and ease of access to partners at all times

Chambers Asia-Pacific, 2014

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Our relevant experience

  • Hastie Group

    Hastie was a significant player in the construction industry with companies which provide technical and engineering services to the building, infrastructure and resources sectors. Hastie went into administration with close to $1bn of debt. HDY was appointed by PPB Advisory in June 2012 to manage the legal and commercial issues arising from the administration of the 44 companies in the Hastie Group.

  • ABC Learning Centres

    The corporate collapse of ABC is one of the largest and high profile collapses in Australian corporate history. As lawyers for ABCs’ banking syndicate of 7 banks (including the 4 major Australian domestic banks, and 3 international banks) and its receivers we have advised on a unique restructure of ABC’s core business prior to its sale along with a number of cross-border issues. We have also provided general advice to the banking syndicate and on examinations conducted by the administrator/liquidator.

  • Octaviar

    HDY acts for Bentleys Corporate Recovery on all aspects of the liquidation of the Octaviar Group (formerly MFS) and the resulting global litigation. The collapse of Octaviar is one of the country's largest ever liquidations. The formal recognition of the Australian proceedings against Octaviar in the US Bankruptcy Court in New York in 2013 are testament to the significance of the liquidation and its global impact.

  • Babcock & Brown

    HDY continues to act for the syndicate of lenders at the headstock level in the Babcock & Brown group, which involved 400 operating entities across 26 countries, with total group debt of $66bn.

  • Provident Capital

    Acting for the debenture trustee in the groundbreaking appointment by the court of receivers based upon a concern regarding Provident's ability to repay all debenture holders equally as and when they were due for payment but in circumstances where Provident was not in any default under the terms of the debentures and had not missed any payments to date. We have acted on the restructure of Provident under the terms of the trust deed, and on the work out of its $250m portfolio of distressed and impaired assets.

Our insights

Independent endorsements

  • Chambers Asia-Pacific
    Restructuring & Insolvency
    2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012

  • The Legal 500 Asia Pacific
    Restructuring & Insolvency
    2016, 2015, 2014, 2013

  • IFLR 1000
    Restructuring & Insolvency
    2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012