Fiona Murray-Palmer

Special Counsel
Norton Rose Fulbright Australia

Fiona Murray-Palmer

Fiona Murray-Palmer

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Biography

Fiona Murray-Palmer is a restructuring and insolvency lawyer based in Melbourne.

Fiona's areas of knowledge include corporate restructuring and insolvency, security enforcement, insolvent trading and preference claims, managed investment schemes and complex financial instruments, directors' obligations and duties, and advice on trusts and equitable rights and the Personal Property and Securities Act.

She advises financiers, creditors, directors, and insolvency practitioners and has acted in numerous complex litigious matters as well as many informal restructures. She has also acted for major banks in relation to negligence claims, fraud and other non-lending losses.

Fiona has extensive insolvency and restructuring experience across a range of industries including construction, franchising, property development and managed investments schemes (registered and non-registered).  Fiona has also acted in numerous complex commercial litigation matters in state and Federal Courts, including the High Court of Australia.

Her major clients include Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited, National Australia Bank Limited, Ferrier Hodgson, KordaMentha, PPB Advisory, Deloitte and McGrathNicol.


Professional experience

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  • Bachelor of Arts, University of Melbourne (1997)
  • Bachelor of Laws (Honours), University of Melbourne (1997)
  • Advanced Insolvency Law and Practice I & II, University of Southern Queensland (2005)
  • Supreme Court of Victoria 2000
  • High Court of Australia 2002
  • DSI – Bradley D Sharp, trustee – for the US Chapter 11 Trustee of bankrupt California agribusiness giant SK Foods LP, Bradley D Sharp.  SK Foods was the second largest processor of tomatoes for commercial use in the United States.  The collapse of SK Foods LP resulted in one of the largest Chapter 11 cases ever filed in the Eastern District of California.  Fiona acted for Mr Sharp in respect of a number of Australian superior Court proceedings in which Mr Sharp was involved as part of his efforts to recover approximately $50 million from Australia for the benefit of the US creditors of SK Foods LP.  This included acting for the US Bankruptcy Trustee in response to an application by the AFP under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (Cth) to restrain approximately $50 million dollars held by the liquidators and receivers of SK Foods LP's Australian subsidiaries.  The application was the largest confiscation application in Australian history and involved extensive engagement with the POC Act and consideration of the interaction between the confiscation regime with the ordinary principals of insolvency and corporations law, as well as cross-border issues.  The matter was resolved before a final hearing with the parties agreeing to consent orders for the restraint and forfeiture of property and then payment of compensation to Mr Sharp under section 78 of the Commonwealth Proceeds of Crime Act.
  • BDO – on the Court appointed liquidation of Midland Hwy Pty Ltd, Foscari Holdings Pty Ltd and Bilkurra Investments Pty Ltd.  Nicholas Martin of BDO was appointed to Midland, Foscari Holdings and Bilkurra Investments pursuant to applications in the Federal Court made by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). The liquidations involve the investigation of "land banking" schemes in which the companies were involved and the apparent misappropriation of in excess of $24 million from investors who were induced to invest in the land banking schemes by apparent misrepresentations made to them by the Companies' agents.  The liquidators are conducting public examination in the Federal Court of Australia.
  • KordaMentha – for the receivers appointed to Westgem Investments Pty Ltd, a special-purpose company established to construct Raine Square – a prominent building in Perth's CBD.  Fiona acts for the receivers in a number of related legal proceedings involving claims and cross claims with director interests and with the Westgem liquidator (some of which are funded by Bentham IMF), which are currently being heard in the Supreme Court of Western Australia.  Those matters include an application for a Special Purpose Liquidator, declarations as to alleged breach of duty, access to receiver documents, an application for directions to approve a settlement, a defamation claim as well as assisting in the defence of a damages claim against the financiers for an amount alleged to be approximately $300 million.
  • Monadelphous (SinoStruct) – advised in respect of PPSA claims made by the administrators of collapsed transport group, McAleese.
  • HRL Limited and subsidiaries – for PPB Advisory, the voluntary administrators of the HRL group of companies, which operated a number of businesses including engineering, consulting and testing, particularly in the energy sphere as well as utility infrastructure design and project management.  We provided advice on all aspects of the business including the sale of the businesses and employee-related issues.
  • Ferrier Hodgson –  for the administrators and eventual liquidators of Great Southern Limited (receivers and managers appointed) (in liquidation) and 38 of its subsidiaries, with debts of approximately $1 billion. Great Southern was Australia's largest promoter of managed investment schemes, was listed on the ASX and has almost 12,000 shareholders.  A subsidiary managed funds on behalf of more than 43,000 investors in 45 forestry and horticultural managed investment schemes.
  • National Leisure & Gaming – advised National Australia Bank Limited (NAB) generally on its exposure to the troubled hotel operator, National Leisure and Gaming group (NLG) and ultimately the sale of its debt and security. We advised NAB on all strategic and legal issues associated with exiting the NLG relationship and ultimately in the sale of its debt and security.  We acted for NAB in its capacity as security trustee, facility agent and financier.  We also advised the receivers of the NLG Group on the sale process for the business operated by NLG.
  • Deloitte – for the receivers of Opes Prime Stockbroking Limited (and its related entities). This very high profile receivership involved complex share lending arrangements and arrangements with financiers. There were a variety of interests involved in addition to litigation and disputes between numerous counterparties.  We assisted with unravelling complex financial dealings leading to significant recoveries made in Australia and overseas.
  • ASIC – during a 7 month secondment, Fiona had the principal conduct for ASIC of a number of Federal Court matters concerning breaches and contraventions of the Corporations Act. Fiona led the prosecution to wind up a number of related unregistered managed investment schemes.
  • Ansett Australia Ltd – the administration of Ansett Australia Limited – representing the Ansett Pilots Association on the question of its members' entitlements and also acting for the contradictor in the Ansett Deed Administrators' application to pool the assets of the Ansett group of companies.
  • Law Institute of Victoria
  • Australian Restructuring Insolvency & Turnaround Association (ARITA)
  • Women in Insolvency and Restructuring Victoria (WIRV)
  • English
  • French