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Insolvency, complex litigation and debt recovery matters can take many paths. Finding the right solution for each client is always Ben’s goal. He is skilled in building rapport and quickly grasping his clients’ business priorities. He knows exactly what levers to pull to get the right outcome.
Ben’s experience in insolvency, litigation, financial and mining services enables him to provide efficient, effective and commercial advice to his clients.
His ability to promptly and accurately understand the outcome his clients are looking for and take a commercial approach to reach that goal has earned him a reputation as the go-to advisor in his area.
“It’s essential to really understand what both the client and their business need. Only then do you know what the right approach is to the problem.”
Ben acted for a major creditor of a company in administration. The company was a joint venture and guaranteed by an entity based in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). While the entity wanted to do business in Australia, it did not want to comply with Australian law when the law was not in its favour.
If the company was wound up, the PRC entity would have been liable under a $1 billion guarantee. Aiming to avoid that liability, the PRC entity proposed a Deed of Company Arrangement (DOCA) with an $8 million deed fund to prevent the company being placed into liquidation. When the creditors took a vote, there was no resolution so the administrators exercised their casting vote to accept the DOCA proposal, saving the PRC entity the $1 billion liability.
Suspecting his client and the other creditors would get a far better outcome if the company went into liquidation, Ben put together a strong case and applied to set aside the Deed of Company Arrangement to seek all creditors be paid in full.
Ben acted for a doctor who had gone into business with two other doctors to establish a GP clinic. His client had to do a rural placement and could not work in the newly established clinic but the other two doctors remained. Over the next two years, the other doctors advised Ben’s client that the clinic was not making money and would regularly ask for payments that, in total, amounted to approximately $240,000 with no return.
When Ben’s client returned, he realised the other doctors had circumnavigated their original agreement and had been paying themselves approximately $60,000 per month as ‘contractor’ payments. This meant the doctors could avoid making any dividend available to Ben’s client. With the deterioration of their relationship and no trust, Ben’s client no longer wanted to be a part of the practice.
After futile discussions with the other doctors, rather than seek damages for breach of agreement, Ben recommended a better course of action would be to seek the appointment of a provisional liquidator to the GP practice. The liquidator would be able to recover the overpayments from the other doctors, take control of the business and distribute profits accordingly. The strategy of seeking a provisional liquidator worked as, afraid of losing their business, the other doctors agreed to pay Ben’s client everything he had put into the business and bought his shares. Ben’s client was relieved because he lost no funds and was able to set up a new practice with the funds he received.
Ben advised government bodies regarding whether insolvency practitioners were complying with their statutory obligations in relation to priority of payments and security interests. By applying his thorough understanding of the statutory obligations of insolvency practitioners contained in the Corporations Act (2001) and the Personal Property Securities Act (2009), Ben advised insolvency practitioners, creditors and stakeholders on their obligations and how realisations from assets should be dealt with.