Restructuring and Insolvency

We'll help you get from red to black

When a restructuring or insolvency gets complicated, we'll be there to help you work it out.

Recognised for our extensive industry knowledge and depth of experience, our team has worked on some of the most challenging matters across a range of industries. Combining this knowledge with our legal expertise means we can help clients develop strategies that suit their unique business aims.

The bigger picture

We see the issues from all angles, so insolvency practitioners, creditors and distressed companies get comprehensive advice they can use.

Overcoming market challenges

We love a challenge. Having been retained in lead roles in many of the most significant R&I matters in Australia, we know how to develop the right solutions to minimise the impact of a restructuring or insolvency.

As the market changes, we adapt too. Our clients trust us to guide them through whatever difficulties they face and work with them to maximise the opportunities in an insolvency or restructuring.

Keeping clients connected

With lawyers in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Darwin and Canberra, clients can access the team's expertise wherever they need it.

Crossing borders

If your insolvency matter spans international territories, we can too. With lawyers who have practised abroad, and connections with leading international R&I firms, we're able to go wherever you need us.


  • Chambers Asia Pacific:
    - Ranked Band 1 and seven of our partners are recognised as leading lawyers.
    - "What differentiates Clayton Utz is that they have good relationships across the industry, which means that they can have frank conversations with the other side; our job is outcomes and we need people who get that." (2022).
    - "Clayton Utz's advice is extremely timely, practical, to the point and right on every turn." (2022)
  • Legal 500 Asia Pacific: 
    - Ranked Tier 1 and four of our partners are ranked as leading individuals and Special Counsel as a Rising Star.
    -"Great expertise, availability, commercial and pragmatic approach, lovely to deal with, great leveraging across multiple layers within the firm and access to cross team experts, timely support, value for money, they understand our business." (2022)
  • IFLR1000:
    - Ranked Tier 1. Currently five of our partners are ranked as highly regarded practitioners.
    - "Clayton Utz works to a very high standard. It has strong work ethic, good quality output and is very timely in its responses." (2021)
    - "Their in-depth, hands on, and readily available knowledge on insolvency law guided us through the storm and provided the much needed assurance we needed." (2021)
    - Awarded Restructuring Deal of the Year 2021 acting on the successful restructure and sale of Virgin Australia Limited to Bain Capital.
  • Doyle’s Guide: Insolvency & Restructuring firm (NSW, Western Australia and Queensland) (2022)
  • Turnaround Management Association Transaction of the Year Awards: International Company Turnaround/Transaction - Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd - Timothy Sackar (lead partner) (2021)
  • Australasian Law Awards: Winner: Insolvency & Restructuring Deal of the Year – Bain Capital acquisition of Virgin Australia (2021)
  • Best Lawyers Australia: Partners recognised by their peers as leading lawyers in Insolvency and Reorganisation Law: Timothy Sackar, Orla McCoy, Cameron Belyea, Karen O'Flynn, Nick Poole, Jennifer Ball, Paul James, Scott Sharry, Brett Cook, and Gareth Jenkins.
  • Asialaw Profiles: Highly recommended in Restructuring & Insolvency (2017-2020)

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Who'll come to the (corporate) rescue?

Clayton Utz will. When a business is distressed or undergoing a restructure, we'll be there, working to preserve its value for lenders, employees, creditors and shareholders.

We proactively look for ways to save companies rather than simply work through formal appointments; we connect clients with relevant industry players (e,g. borrowers with non-traditional lenders, sellers with buyers of distressed debt) to facilitate this.


Virgin Australia: led the Clayton Utz team advising Deloitte Restructuring Services partners as the voluntary administrators appointed to Virgin, including on the successful restructure and sale of the airline to Bain Capital. Timothy advised on all aspects of the competitive and comprehensive sale process, including complex negotiations to effect the restructure and sale. This also involved all legal advice relating to the running of the airline while under external administration.

Peabody Energy: Acting for Peabody's Australian group on all aspects of its successful global restructuring, funding arrangements and business improvement initiatives including US entities filing under Chapter 11 of the US Bankruptcy Code. Peabody is the world's largest private coal company and its Australian operations was integral to the global restructuring.

Arrium Limited: Advising the board of directors of Arrium and its administrators, KordaMentha, from the company's initial recapitalisation plan to its formal administration and beyond.

Emeco Limited: In one of the most notable restructuring transactions in the Australian market in 2017, we acted for the Bank of New York Mellon, the secured Noteholder Trustee, on the three-way merger between Emeco, Orionstone and Andy's Earthmoving, a subsequent rights issue and a creditors' scheme of arrangement of the secured notes issued by Emeco pursuant to a New York Law governed indenture and a successful US Chapter 15 recognition of the scheme.

Mirabela Nickel: Acting for the US-based secured bondholder group in the external administration and restructure of Australian listed resources company, Mirabela Nickel Limited.

Nexus Energy Limited: The insolvency of Nexus was arguably Australia's most high-profile and involved restructuring and insolvency matter of 2014. With debts of approximately $400 million, administrators were appointed to the ASX listed Nexus when a takeover bid was rejected by shareholders. We acted for McGrathNicol, the administrators and then deed administrators of Nexus, throughout the course of the matter.


We've got you covered.

Acting for insolvency practitioners and corporate entities as well as for secured and unsecured creditors means we understand all sides of the insolvency story.

Team work

We don't just rely on our own expertise – we can tap into our commercial litigation, banking, corporate, workplace relations, tax and real estate teams to add their strength to ours, so you get the right combination of legal advisers.

Crossing borders

If your insolvency matter spans international territories, we can too. With lawyers who have practised abroad, and connections with leading international R&I firms, we're able to go wherever you need us.


The Public Trustee of Queensland: In one of the largest and longest-running collapses in Australia corporate history, we advised our client, the largest public trustee in Australia and a major creditor of the Octaviar (formerly MFS) group of companies. The Octaviar group owed approximately $2.4 billion to creditors, $360 million of which was owed to the Public Trustee of Queensland. We advised on all aspects of the insolvency, from an informal workout to administration, deed administration then liquidation.

Pumpkin Patch: Advised McGrathNicol on the voluntary administration of children's clothing retailer and well-known Australian and New Zealand brand, Pumpkin Patch (with 160 stores across Australia and New Zealand).

Hughes Drilling: Acting for the external administrators of Hughes Drilling Limited, an ASX listed mining services provider and its subsidiaries, on all aspects of the administrations including applications for emergency funding orders, an extension of the convening period, implementing a DOCA and Creditors' Trust to preserve the core business entities, multiple assets sales (including the sale of a US entity as a going concern), a 'holding' DOCA and a subsequent recapitalisation DOCA, which, once effected will see the listed shell being preserved.

Lehman Brothers: Described as the largest corporate collapse in US history, the abrupt demise of the Lehman Brothers investment bank in September 2008 sparked the biggest shake-up on Wall Street in decades, with global share markets falling sharply as a result of the financial turmoil. Clayton Utz was appointed to act for the voluntary administrators of the Lehman Brothers Australia group, now the liquidators.

Debt Trading and Special Situation Investing

No need for (di)stress.

With the growth in distressed debt and special situations funds, Asia and US-based parties are investing in a broad range of Australian opportunities. And they turn to us for advice.

With considerable experience advising offshore funds and investment banks on distressed debt purchases and non-performing loan portfolio bids, and lawyers with international experience, our team knows how to handle whatever issues develop during debt trading and special situation investing.

We also work with creditors, debtors, banks, hedge funds and insolvency practitioners on the implementation of loan-to-own and enforcement strategies.


Hong Kong-based fund: Advised on each of the BOSI and Suncorp non-performing loan portfolio sales, including detailed due diligence of multiple loans and securities located in various jurisdictions on property, stamp duty, tax structuring, insolvency and banking issues.

Deutsche Bank: Advised on its acquisition of $240m mixed portfolio of loans from the receivers and managers of Banksia Securities Limited, including the review of approximately 500 loans and confirmation of the reliability of the relevant loan and security documentation.

From Red to Black 2023 publication

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