Paul Buitendag Partner

Meet Paul

Paul Buitendag is the Practice Group Head of our Dispute Resolution team. Paul is one of the most senior and respected litigation practitioners in the Australian market.

He is a partner with over 25 years’ experience specialising in large scale and complex legal and commercial disputes, including in the insolvency, engineering and construction industries.

Clients value Paul’s unique and unparalleled 'big picture' perspective, his strategic advice, innovative thinking and his teams’ ability to manage the complexities of their disputes and deliver commercial outcomes.  As a pre-eminent insolvency lawyer, Paul is consistently engaged in some of the largest corporate collapses in Australia including in the industries of telecommunications, retirement and supported accommodation, timber and forestry products.

Paul has been one of the pioneers of using litigation funding in Australia, and works with funders in the markets of the USA, UK and Australia to establish innovative funding vehicles for his litigated matters and for corporate clients.

Paul advises on all aspects of workouts, recovery and reconstructions including representing insolvency appointees, financiers and creditors. His particular expertise includes advising on receiverships, deeds of company arrangements, insolvent trading, voidable transactions, unfair preferences, proof of debt claims, managed investment schemes, as well as enforcing securities.

In recent years, Paul has been the lead partner in some of Australia’s largest corporate collapses, managing large scale insolvency advisory and recovery actions, including Gunns Ltd (In liq), Australian Property Custodian Holdings Ltd (in liq) (Prime Trust) and Bill Express Ltd (in liq).  In all of these matters, clients admire Paul’s sharp commercial focus to achieve excellent outcomes for the benefit of all creditors and stakeholders.

Experience

General

Gunns Ltd (in liq)

Acting for the liquidators of Gunns Ltd (In Liq) and its group of companies in three claims with a combined value of approximately $250 million arising from the collapse of one of Australia’s largest timber and forestry management companies.

Australian Property Custodian Holdings (in liq)

Acted for the liquidators in a claim of more than $100 million in relation to one of the largest retirement village collapses in Australia, Prime Retirement and Aged Care Property Trust (In Liq).

Bill Express (in liq)

Acted for the liquidators of one of Australia’s largest pre-paid phone card and bill payment facility collapses, regarding claims against former auditors, Pitcher Partners and KPMG, for professional negligence and misleading or deceptive conduct for the claim value in excess of $200 million as well as against the former directors and officers of the company for insolvent trading.

Botanic Homes (in liq)

Acting for liquidators of a domestic building company regarding: obligations under developer contracts completion of properties, insurance and building permit issues, intellectual property, sale of property and equipment, validity of security sale of assets, including display homes subject to obligations novated to purchasers.

Jones the Grocer Stores

Acting for a private equity fund, as major shareholder and Deed Proponent, regarding the restructure of one of its businesses in Australia, through a voluntary administration, proposed DOCA and a transfer of share application pursuant to section 444GA of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth).

Tree Minders

Advised a voluntary administrator, later the deed administrator, in the turnaround of a significant regional labour hire business. The matter involved extending the convening period, drafting a DOCA (and a creditor’s trust deed). The company was rehabilitated successfully and control returned to its directors.

East Rand Proprietary Mines (ERPM)

Acted in the implementation of the scheme of arrangement of ERPM, one of the largest Gold Mines in SA. This involved successfully restructuring the corporation to the benefit of creditors as well as implementing an employees’ trust and negotiating equity shareholding with the employees.

Protea Tyres (National Franchise)

Opposed the appointment of an administrator of a retail and manufacturing corporation. As the lead partner, implemented a scheme of arrangement and assisted auditors, KPMG, with the financial restructure and business turnaround plan.

Inductotherm Group (a division of Indel Group)

Managed international large scale litigation for an engineering company specialising in induction heating, melting, hot rolling and other processed electronic engineering methods regarding a dispute against NZ Steel Ltd (a former subsidiary of Blue Scope Steel) for repudiation and termination of contracts.

Mancala Holdings

Advising a company specialising in international mining services, shaft excavation, and engineering services on risk avoidance strategies involving, multi-jurisdictional disputes with various mining service suppliers and listed mining companies such as Bass Metals in relation to contractual disputes.

Recognition

Recommended in Dispute Resolution.
Asia Pacific Legal 500, since 2018
Recommended in Class Actions.
Asia Pacific Legal 500, 2020
Recommended in Restructuring & Insolvency Law.
Asia Pacific Legal 500, since 2018
Listed as a leading lawyer in Insolvency and Reorganisation Law.
Best Lawyers Australia, since 2020

Career & qualifications

Qualifications

  • B Proc, Law, University of Pretoria

Memberships

  • Law Society of Gauteng
  • Law Institute of Victoria

Insights Read more insight

Gunns liquidators prevail on peak indebtedness, set-off and the Court’s discretion

This week, the Federal Court published judgments in three unfair preference claims brought by the liquidators of the Gunns Group. We acted for the liquidators in each proceeding.

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Dispute Resolution Update - February 2019

Our 2019 Half Year Dispute Resolution update details our significant case developments and wins, including our listing as a Band 1 Practice for Dispute Resolution in the Asia Pacific Legal 500 for...

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To adjourn, or not to adjourn: applications by administrators to adjourn winding up applications

It is not uncommon for administrators to be appointed in the period between a company being served with a creditor’s winding up application and the date on which that application is to be heard...

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