Scott Atkins

Chair, Australia; Head of Risk Advisory, Australia; Partner
Norton Rose Fulbright Australia

Sydney
Australia
T:+61 2 9330 8015
Sydney
Australia
T:+61 2 9330 8015
Scott Atkins

Scott Atkins

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Biography

Scott Atkins is the firm's Australian deputy chair and head of its risk advisory practice, with more than 25 years of industry experience, and is based in Sydney.

Scott has unique, globally-recognised dual-track insolvency and risk experience. 

He is a leading lawyer in one of the most reputable insolvency and restructuring practices in the Asia-Pacific region, having been recognised as Australia's only Eminent Practitioner for this category in the Chambers and Partners 2020 regional legal rankings. Scott is also vice-president and an inaugural fellow of INSOL International, as well as chair of INSOL's Asian Advisory Council and its strategic review body TaskForce 2025.  Additionally, Scott serves as president of the Australian Restructuring Insolvency and Turnaround Association (ARITA), Australia's peak insolvency and restructuring professional association with over 1800 members.

Scott is recognised by his peers for his leading experience in cross-border insolvency, acting on both inbound engagements in Australia and advising Australian clients on outbound engagements in jurisdictions including the United States, the United Kingdom, the Cayman Islands, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Indonesia, Singapore, Nauru and The Netherlands.  Recently, Scott led a team over a three year period, working with the Asian Development Bank and the Union Supreme Court of Myanmar, to draft a new insolvency and restructuring framework for Myanmar, culminating in the passage of Myanmar's Insolvency Law in February 2020. This work was transformative, representing a critical pillar in Myanmar's law modernisation process and its broader economic development. The tailored insolvency measures for SMEs developed as part of this work are also currently helping to shape the law reform and post-COVID 19 economic recovery process for developing and developed nations alike across the world, including in Australia. 

In the risk space, Scott has deep, globally recognised experience in the defining governance, culture and compliance issues which confront Australian and international companies and their officers in what has become a complex, rapidly evolving regulatory landscape. 

Entities and officers now face a multitude of risks that, if not addressed, may significantly disrupt organisational capability and the continuation of trade and create liability implications from multiple regulators and in private class actions proceedings. Those risks include – beyond a health pandemic – climate change, cyber attacks, data and privacy breaches, financial crime and workplace health and safety, as well as deeper governance, culture and accountability failings within organisations.     

Perceiving how evolving risks have reshaped business and in order to deliver greater impact and value for clients, Scott established the firm's dedicated risk advisory practice in October 2018, the first of its kind among Australian law firms. The practice has continued to expand since that time and he now leads a team which advises public and private sector organisations and their officers across multiple industries and sectors, from energy and resources to government, banking and finance, fintech, transport, infrastructure, food, agribusiness and tourism.

Scott has worked for decades as a trusted adviser to banks, public and private entities and their officers and insolvency and restructuring practitioners, guiding them through some of the most complex and sensitive banking and insolvency matters and regulatory investigations the country has seen. 

Scott assists clients to identify critical risk issues and embed best practice governance and accountability standards, as well as dedicated business continuity and crisis management plans, unique to each industry and client.  He delivers considered, efficient and comprehensive outcomes while remaining flexible and adapting to inherently evolving legal, economic and regulatory settings. He provides the first-hand industry knowledge and experience – and the security and safe pair of hands – needed to help businesses, no matter what industry, navigate this unique and difficult economic and regulatory period.

Scott's approach sees him identify and shape, rather than respond to, legal and regulatory trends both domestically and internationally, and he is sought after for regular industry speaking engagements and publications.


Professional experience

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  • Harvard University - Leadership of Professional Firms (2012)
  • Fellow of INSOL International (2009)
  • LLM, University of Sydney (1996)
  • BEc LLB, Macquarie University (1993)
  • Federal Court of Australia 1999
  • High Court of Australia 1999
  • Supreme Court of New South Wales 1994
  • Chambers Guide 2020 and 2019 – Eminent Practitioner – Restructuring and Insolvency
  • Nominated as inaugural Insolvency Partner of the Year 2016 by Lawyers Weekly
  • Awarded Fellow, INSOL International in 2009
  • International Insolvency Institute Member (invitation only, conferred 2016)
  • Awarded the 2015 ARITA President's Award for outstanding contribution to the professional development of ARITA
  • Listed as a leading lawyer in Chambers Asia-Pacific 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013
  • Listed as a Leading Lawyer in IFLR 1000 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012
  • Listed by Best Lawyers for Restructuring and Insolvency 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013
  • Recognised as a Recommended Lawyer in Restructuring and Insolvency in The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013
  • Listed as one of the world's leading Insolvency & Restructuring Lawyers in Who's Who Legal: Insolvency & Restructuring 2014
  • Ranked as a Pre-eminent Lawyer in insolvency in the Doyles Guide to The Australian Legal Profession 2015
  • Listed as an expert in Insolvency and Reorganisation Law in Best Lawyers 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011
  • "An emerging leader of the profession who stands out in the cross-border insolvency space." Chambers Asia-Pacific, 2014

Books

  • Author of the Australian jurisdiction chapter in B. Wessels & R.J. de Weijs (eds), International Contributions to the Reform of Chapter 11 of the US Bankruptcy Code, European and International Insolvency Law Studies (2015) Eleven International Publishing, The Netherlands
  • Author of the Australian jurisdiction chapter in F.D. Yates (ed), Avoidance of Antecedent Transactions and Cross-Border Insolvency (2014) INSOL International, London, UK
  • L.C. Ho (ed) A Commentary on the UNCITRAL Model Law: Cross-Border Insolvency Cases and Materials (Australian Chapter) (2017) Globe Law and Business, London
  • S. Atkins "Cross-border insolvency protocols: co-operation and co-ordination" in K.E. Lindgren (ed) International Commercial Litigation and Dispute Resolution (2009) Commercial Law Association of Australia in conjunction with the Ross Parsons Centre, University of Sydney

Articles

  • S. Atkins and K. Luck "How Australian courts are advancing corporate and business rescue during COVID-19 and the agenda for enduring law reform" International Corporate Rescue (2020) vol 17(4) 249
  • S. Atkins and K. Luck "Corporate and business rescue in a COVID-19 world" ARITA Journal, June 2020
  • S. Atkins & N. McCoy "First appellate decision in Australia on UNCITRAL Model Law on Cross-Border Insolvency: a warning to foreign investors and liquidators" International Corporate Rescue (2014) vol 11(5) 306
  • S. Atkins "INSOL Hong Kong - 2014" Australian Insolvency Journal (2014) vol 26(2) 41
  • S. Atkins, R. Mason & S. Maiden, "The emerging framework of cross-border insolvency in and around Australia: Saad Investments, Japan Airlines and Lehman Brothers - part 1" International Corporate Rescue (2011) vol 8(4) 262
  • S. Atkins, R. Mason & S. Maiden, "The emerging framework of cross-border insolvency in and around Australia: Saad Investments, Japan Airlines and Lehman Brothers - part 2" International Corporate Rescue (2011) vol 8(5) 329
  • S. Atkins "McGrath v Riddell: attrition in the battle between universalism and territorialism and the ongoing harmonisation of international insolvency law" International Corporate Rescue (2009) vol 6(3) 141
  • S. Atkins "Public policy: the law's guardian in the clash between insolvency and maintenance in the context of litigation funding arrangements" Insolvency Law Journal (2004) vol 12(1) 41
  • S. Atkins "The jurisprudence arising from judicial review of schemes of arrangement" Insolvency Law Journal (2003) vol 11(1) 18
  • 10 May 2019 - United Nations Commission on Commercial Law, Canberra 'Law Reform: Processes and Approach to the Reform of Law in Emerging Economies – A Case Study on Myanmar'
  • April 2019 - INSOL International Annual Conference, Singapore. Plenary address 'Taskforce 2021 and the Strategic Future of INSOL International – Launch of Taskforce 2025'
  • May 2018 - INSOL International Annual Conference, New York. Plenary address 'Taskforce 2021 and the Strategic Future of INSOL International'
  • March 2017 - INSOL International Quadrennial Conference, Sydney. Plenary address 'Launch of Taskforce 2021 and the Strategic Future of INSOL International'
  • 24 January 2016 - INSOL International Annual Regional Conference, Dubai UAE. Plenary address 'Taskforce 2021 and the Strategic Future of INSOL International'
  • 28 May 2015 - ARITA Annual National Conference, Perth Australia. 'ARITA's Place in the Insolvency World' - a panel discussion comprising INSOL President Mark Robinson, ARITA President Mike McCann, ARITA Technical Director Kim Arnold, moderated by Scott Atkins
  • 7 May 2015 - RITANZ 14th Annual Corporate Insolvency and Restructuring Conference, Auckland New Zealand. 'Legal Update from Across the Tasman' - an update of topical cross-border and Australian insolvency cases and developments relevant to New Zealand, moderated by Justice Paul Heath
  • 22 March 2015 - INSOL International Annual Regional Conference, San Francisco USA. Paper presented: 'The UNCITRAL Model Law on Cross-Border Insolvency in Action - Sad about Saad'
  • 16 October 2014 - American College of Investment Counsel Annual Conference, New York. A discussion of bankruptcy issues, trends and developments in the U.S. and Australia with the Hon. Cecelia G. Morris, Chief Bankruptcy Judge, Southern District of New York and Scott Atkins of HDY, moderated by Michael Reilly (then of) Bingham McCutchen LLP
  • 21 May 2012 - INSOL International Annual Regional Conference, Miami, Florida, USA. A panel discussion moderated by Robert Hertzberg on the topic of "New and Emerging Legal Issues: current issues and new cases from across the globe"

Australia

  • President, ARITA, May 2019 – current
  • Board Member, ARITA, 2010 – current
  • Australian Securities and Investments Commission Liaison Group 2011 – current

International

  • Vice-President, INSOL International, April 2019 – current
  • Board Member, INSOL International, 2014 – current
  • Chair of INSOL International 2021 & 2025 Strategic TaskForce 2014 – current
  • International Insolvency Institute (invitation only) Member 2016 – current
  • INSOL International Global Insolvency Practice Course Core Committee 2015 – current
  • Inaugural Chair of INSOL International Fellows Committee 2009 – 2015
  • Editorial Board Member, International Corporate Rescue 2011 – current
  • Editorial Board Member, 'Global INSOLvency', ABI & INSOL International 2010 – 2015
  • Editorial Board Member, INSOL's Technical Newsletter 2012 – 2015
  • Chair, Marketing & Sponsorship, INSOL Main Organising Committee – Hong Kong 2014

Lecturing

  • INSOL International Global Insolvency Practice Course - Lecturer on "Co-Operation and Co- Ordination in Practice" with R. Pedone & T. Graulich, 22 January 2016, Dubai
  • Visiting lecturer on cross-border insolvency at University of Sydney in its undergraduate and postgraduate law programs lead by Professor John Stumbles - 2012 - ongoing
  • Australian Restructuring Insolvency Turnaround Association, Insolvency Education Program Course Leader 2009 - 2014
  • English