Paul James

Clayton Utz
Partner Melbourne

He gives you advice that is practical and pragmatic, solutions-focused rather than just technical.

– Chambers Asia Pacific


As the principal legal adviser on some of the most complex restructuring and insolvency matters in Australia, Paul has led cross-disciplinary teams with experience in corporate, finance, private equity and tax to get the best possible commercial outcome for creditors, shareholders and employees, across a wide range of industries.

Notable Work
  • Administrators appointed to Dixon Advisory: advising on all aspects of the external administration, including advice regarding the negotiation of a deed of company arrangement and settlement of a class action.
  • Liberty House/GFG Alliance: advised on its $700 million acquisition of Arrium Australia out of administration, which was one of the largest and most complex administrations seen since the introduction of the administration regime in Australia.
  • Department of Health (Commonwealth): advising on all aspects of its dealings with a financially distressed aged care provider (PresCare), including the operation of aged care legislation and the Court appointment of Receivers.
  • Virgin Airlines group: advised the group and then their appointed voluntary administrators in relation to the group's restructuring and successful sale to Bain Capital.
  • McGrathNicol, the administrators and then deed administrators of Nexus Energy: advising on a Court application for the compulsory transfer of shares in Nexus Energy (the first opposed application of its kind in Australia).
  • Westpac: advising on its financing and security arrangements in respect of the Sargon group.Also providing ongoing advice in relation to the impacts of the various administrations and receivership appointments and the continued trading of the Sargon group. Working in conjunction with Westpac's investigative accountants on all financial, legal and trading aspects of the Sargon group.
  • Optus: acting in the defence of complex proceedings issued against Optus by a former distribution partner in the Supreme Court of Victoria, seeking damages and other relief in excess of $250 million.
  • Commonwealth Bank: acted in a long-running proceeding in the Supreme Court of Victoria concerning the administration and receivership of a clothing wholesale business.
  • Confidential client: acted in Supreme Court of Victoria proceedings regarding compensation against the occupier of land under the Environment Protection Act 1970 (Vic)
  • ASX-listed oil and gas company: advising on a dispute ($50 million) concerning a contract for the charter of an off-shore drilling rig.
  • Receivers and managers of Eastmark: acted in successfully defending a claim brought by the owners corporation in the Supreme Court of NSW against Eastmark regarding proprietary rights.
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