Joseph Scarcella Partner

Meet Joseph

Joseph is a pre-eminent litigator and restructuring and insolvency lawyer specialising in large scale complex litigation (including class actions) and all aspects of contentious and non-contentious insolvency.

He has been instructed in respect of almost every major corporate insolvency in Australia during the last 20 years. He is an expert litigator and advocate and handles complex litigious matters with a particular focus on class actions.

Joseph acts for representative plaintiffs in class actions as well as advising domestic and international litigation funders in respect of their financing of litigation.

Joseph's experience includes complex insolvencies such as the collapse of multi-jurisdictional hedge fund, finance and insurance companies. He also acts for corporate clients in respect of their exposure to lenders or financially precarious counterparties.

His clients include domestic and international insolvency practitioners, ASX listed corporations, investment banks and litigation funders. 

Joseph is known for the commerciality and speed of his advice. Clients particularly value his tenacity in litigious circumstances. He is recognised as a leading lawyer in Restructuring & Insolvency by Chambers Asia-Pacific, Best Lawyers Australia and Doyle’s Guide to the Australian Legal Profession. Joseph also sits on the Federal Court User Group in relation to Commercial and Corporations (Insolvency) matters.



SurfStitch Group

Acting for the lead plaintiff in representative proceedings against SurfStitch Group - a formerly ASX listed on-line retailer.


Acted for the liquidators of the HIH Group, which remains Australia’s largest corporate insolvency. Acted in respect of several thousand shareholder claims made against HIH, including in the landmark case of HIH Insurance Limited (In Liquidation) and others [2016] NSWSC 482 - which remains the only final decision in Australia establishing the indirect causation doctrine.

Shareholder Defence Actions

Successfully defending various proceedings in relation to claims by shareholders for breach of continuous disclosure obligations and alleged misleading and deceptive conduct.

Babcock & Brown

Acted as principal legal advisor to the liquidator of Babcock & Brown, including in respect of prosecution of major claims and successful defence of shareholder class actions.

Caason Investments

Acting on behalf of a litigation funder in obtaining a common fund order.

Courtenay House

Acted for a representative class of creditors in respect of Australia’s largest Ponzi Scheme.


Acted for the first administrators of the Arrium Group.


Acted as the principal legal advisor to the liquidators of the the Allco Group of companies.

Macquarie Bank

In relation to its exposure to the Dick Smith Group.

Banksia Securities

Acted for the receivers in respect of prosecution of several causes of action.

CBD Energy

Acted for the administrators of the CBD Energy Group, which is the first successful reconstruction of an Australian entity publicly listed on the NASDAQ in the US.


Listed as a leading lawyer in Insolvency & Reorganisation Law
Best Lawyers Australia, 2018 - 2020
Ranked as a leading lawyer in Restructuring & Insolvency
Chambers Asia Pacific 2018-2020
Named as a preeminent lawyer in Insolvency & Restructuring (New South Wales)
Doyle's Guide 2019
Ranked as a leading lawyer in Insolvency & Restructuring (Australia)
Doyle's Guide 2019
Recommended in Dispute Resolution and Restructuring & Insolvency Law
Asia Pacific Legal 500, 2018
Ranked as a Recommended Practitioner in Insolvency and Restructuring
Doyles’ Guide to the Australian Legal Profession

Career & qualifications


  • Bachelor of Laws (Honours), Macquarie University
  • Bachelor of Commerce, Macquarie University


  • Australian Restructuring Insolvency & Turnaround Association (member of technical committee)
  • Turnaround Management Association
  • Australian Institute of Credit Management

International experience

  • Acted for certain Italian creditors in the Parmalat collapse (fluent in conversational Italian).

Insights Read more insight

The continued saga of the Babcock & Brown liquidation

In a decision of the Federal Court handed down on 18 October 2019 in Masters v Lombe (Liquidator); In the Matter of Babcock & Brown Limited (In Liquidation) [2019] FCA 1720, Foster J held that...

Court Rejects ASIC’s Application for an Inquiry into a Liquidator's Conduct

The NSW Supreme Court has reaffirmed the criteria for a Court to inquire into a liquidator’s conduct

Guaranteeing payment under an unconditional bank guarantee: Santos v BNP Paribas

The Queensland Court of Appeal last week upheld a decision that a demand for payment under an unconditional bank guarantee was invalid because it failed to state expressly that it had been signed...



External publications

  • Corporate Insolvency and Reconstruction - chapter 13 in the Australian Corporate Finance Law looseleaf service (Butterworths)
  • Various publications in the ARITA Journal and AICM Magazine


  • Presented at numerous National and State based ARITA Conferences on a variety of topics
  • Presented at numerous National Conferences of the Australian Institute of Credit Management on a variety of topics