09 Jul 2010

Insolvency on a global scale

Sydney, 09 July 2010: The growing significance of global corporate insolvency in Australia was highlighted this week, when law firm Clayton Utz was invited to join the Group of 36.

The Group of 36 is composed of the key players in multinational insolvency. It includes the world's major accounting, insolvency and law firms, and is the driving force behind the international insolvency practitioners organisation INSOL. Clayton Utz is the first major Australian law firm to be invited to join the group. The invitation follows the firm's involvement in such significant insolvencies as Lehman Brothers and ABC Learning Centres.

Welcoming the invitation, Clayton Utz Restructuring and Insolvency partner David Cowling said that it was a stark reminder of the fact that globalisation is a two-way street. "Australia has become a significant player in global commerce. The downside is that corporate collapses in other countries can now have a major impact in Australia."

"We're facing more and more situations in which Australian businesses and creditors are becoming caught up in insolvencies filed on the other side of the world. That creates all sorts of problems, not least because every country has its own different rules for handling insolvencies."

INSOL and the Group of 36 have responded to that challenge by forging links between liquidators and lawyers from around the world. A major objective is to facilitate co-operation in order to overcome the lack of legal uniformity between different countries.

According to Mr Cowling, the invitation is a recognition of both the importance of Australia in global business and Clayton Utz's leading role in domestic and international insolvencies. "We're increasingly having to deal with both inbound and outbound insolvencies. Being asked to join the Group of 36 is an acknowledgement of the fact that our work, expertise and knowledge have been more than up to the task.

"Of course, it will also be a major benefit to our clients. The absence of a uniform international insolvency law means that effective transnational insolvency administration is heavily dependent upon co-operation and trust between practitioners in different countries. Membership of the Group of 36 will only strengthen our ability to leverage off that co-operation and trust," said Mr Cowling.

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