James is a Partner in our Banking and Finance Group, specialising in all areas of banking, and corporate restructuring and insolvency law.
James has extensive experience on a wide range of property, corporate and agribusiness finance transactions. He also has significant experience in providing advice to secured lenders in connection with the management of distressed exposures, ranging from debt restructuring solutions and distressed debt trading to the enforcement of securities and the recovery of debt.
James’ practice also encompasses all aspects of corporate insolvency, including liquidations, receiverships, administrations, deeds of company arrangement, schemes of arrangement, informal workouts, banking and insolvency-related litigation, and the conduct of liquidators’ examinations and investigations.
James has handled countless distressed exposures across all industry sectors ranging from bilateral to large syndicated facilities, generally with a view to implementing confidential restructuring and turnaround solutions outside formal insolvency procedures. He has a detailed understanding of how financial institution manage credit risk both in terms of performing and non-performing loans in a heavily regulated and closely scrutinised environment.
In addition to his time in law firms, James also spent several years as a Senior Legal Counsel at National Australia Bank during which time he advised the bank’s corporate, agribusiness and development finance teams in relation to the documentation and management of its transactions, and the bank’s special situations teams in relation to corporate debt restructuring and recovery work (including debt-for-equity transactions).
Specific experience examples
- Acting on numerous front end and distressed transactional matters on a broad range of instructions from NAB’s corporate, development finance, special situations and in-house legal teams.
- Acting for the receivers and managers of the Arora Group entities (PPB Advisory) which owned and managed 25 IGA and Super IGA supermarkets.
- Handling a series of ongoing matters for Deloitte, which involved the conduct of public examinations, Supreme Court proceedings, and complex distressed asset sales.
- Acting for an agri-fund based in Singapore to effect a $55m debt and equity restructure of 25 group entities. This involved implementing a deed of company arrangement on the operating entity and negotiating standstill arrangements for all group entities.
- Advising Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (Efic) in relation to its impaired exposures including preparing all of its training and user guides, and otherwise advising several corporate entities in connection with restructuring, refinancing and general commercial matters.
- Involvement in multiple, high-profile and complex insolvencies and restructurings including HIH Insurance, Allco Finance, Enron, Octaviar, Colorado/Fusion Group, Top Ryde, Prime Trust Retirement Villages, and Hastie Group.
- Acting on the re-domicile of a large ASX-listed biotech company to Delaware by way of scheme of arrangement.
- Acting for Home Building Society on its $592m merger with Bank of Queensland by way of scheme of arrangement.
- Acting for a large NYSE-listed entity on the sale of its Australasian operations to a large ASX-listed entity.
- Acting for Vodafone on its $8bn merger with Hutchinson.
- Running the FAI takeover loss proceedings in the Supreme Court of NSW and the House of Lords proceedings in McGrath and others v Riddell and others  UKHL 21 for the liquidators of HIH Insurance.
- Acting on numerous MIS portfolio matters (Great Southern, Gunns, and Willmott).