SIGNIFICANT HIGH COURT DECISION

Yesterday, the High Court of Australia handed down a significant decision concerning the payment of priority debts out of trust assets where those trust assets are held by an insolvent corporate trustee.

The High Court unanimously held that the priority regime existing under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) applied to a trading trust; a vehicle commonly used for carrying on a business.

The High Court also took the opportunity to clarify some conflicting authorities. Prior to this decision, there were competing authorities about how trust assets could be used to satisfy debts. The Victorian Court of Appeal had held that trust assets could be used to pay non-trust creditors; the Full Court of the Supreme Court of South Australia and, more recently, the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia, had held that trust assets could only be used to pay trust creditors. The High Court agreed with the latter; confirming that trust assets can only be used to pay trust creditors.

The decision provides some welcome clarification on complex legal issues which arise on the insolvency of corporate trustees.

For more information please contact:

LAURA GERCKEN
SENIOR ASSOCIATE

Contact Laura

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Office Assistant

Lilly Monaghan

Lilly became part of the GRT Lawyers team in October 2022, stepping into the role of Office Assistant. With a wealth of professional experience spanning more than ten years, Lilly has actively contributed in various administrative capacities.

This diverse background equips her with extensive expertise within the realm of administration, strengthening our team and the support provided to GRT Lawyers and the GRT Foundation.

Office Assistant

Tracy Smith

Tracy is an enthusiastic, professional, and committed individual with many years of experience working in administration.

Tracy’s dedication and expertise in administrative work,  interpersonal skills,  attention to detail and organisational skills are unmatched, and she is always looking for ways to improve processes and make things run more efficiently.

Admin Coordinator

Amelia Milsop

Amelia is a highly skilled professional with seven years of experience working in administrative, and executive support roles. Her diverse skill set includes expertise in administration support, office operations, events management, and marketing. 

As an administrator, Amelia plays a vital role in overseeing day-to-day operations, administration support, streamlining processes, and maintaining efficient workflows. With her extensive experience, diverse skill set, and passion, Amelia brings a unique perspective and a well-rounded approach to her administrative work.

Finance Manager

Chan Hu

Full bio coming soon!

Lawyer

Dale Copley

Dale began working with GRT Lawyers at the start of 2023 after beginning his legal career with  top-tier firm. He recently retired from professional sports and is relatively new to the legal field, having been admitted in November of 2022.

Dale values the importance of teamwork and advising clients to assist them in achieving their business goals. His experience as a professional athlete has instilled in him the significance of collective efforts and strategic collaboration – qualities that now define his approach to his career in law.

He has a strong interest in equity markets and is acquiring valuable experience by advising on capital raises and various ASX listing rule concerns.

Associate

Rebecca Wei

As an accomplished associate corporate lawyer, Rebecca contributes a fresh perspective and a robust work ethic to our legal team. She has swiftly gained experience in corporate law, demonstrating dedication to assisting clients with their legal needs in an ever-evolving business landscape.

Rebecca specialises in capital market transactional matters, contract drafting, and corporate governance. She has supported senior lawyers in advising a diverse range of clients, including established corporations, startups, and entrepreneurs.

Senior Corporate Advisor

Peter Burge

Peter has over 30 years’ experience as a lawyer, advising clients on a range of corporate and commcerical matters and boasts a particular expertise in a number of individual sectors, including telecommunications and technology, mining and resources, and financial services.

Peter offers a wealth of international experience, having worked in Australia, the UK, East Asia and the Middle East, both in-house and for large international law firms as well as within a sector-specific regulator.

Senior Corporate Advisor

Alana Nisbet

Alana has over 10 years’ experience practicing predominantly in international top tier firms in Australia, London and Guernsey. Her primary practice areas are public and private mergers and acquisitions, equity capital markets and investment funds and she has significant experience advising on complex corporate transactions.

Alana is valued for her exemplary client service and have been ranked as a “Rising Star” for Equity Capital Markets and Mergers & Acquisitions by Legal 500.

Lawyer

Angus Lillicrap

Angus joined GRT Lawyers in November 2022, having previously worked for national law firms and focusing on dispute resolution and litigation. He has an interest in complex commercial and contractual disputes, alternative dispute resolution solutions, and in helping clients to realise their commercial objectives. 

Angus is currently part of the Queensland Law Society Future Leaders Committee, where he represents and advocates for the interests of young lawyers in Queensland.

Associate

Elizabeth Dowrie

Elizabeth has experience with a broad range of commercial and corporate disputes in the Queensland and New South Wales Supreme Courts. As a former New Colombo Plan scholar, Elizabeth studied and worked in Beijing.

Prior to joining GRT Lawyers, Elizabeth worked at a global law firm and as an Associate to a Justice of the Supreme Court of Queensland. She is a member of the Brisbane Junior Chamber of Commerce.

Senior Associate

Amarzaya Gantumur

Amarzaya is a Senior Associate at GRT Lawyers with over 14 years of experience in the global legal industry in both civil and common law jurisdictions. She has acted as counsel in numerous complex corporate and commercial transactions, and litigation matters, including cross border litigation and international commercial arbitration.

Amarzaya graduated from the School of Law, National University of Mongolia in 2004 and holds an LLM (Corporate and Finance Law) from the University of Hong Kong. She was appointed as an arbitrator with the Mongolian International Arbitration Centre in 2022. Amarzaya is a Hong Kong and Australian qualified lawyer fluent in both English and Mongolian. She is a member of various other professional organizations, including the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) and Australian Center for International Commercial Arbitration (ACICA).

Senior Associate

Rachel Hendrie

Rachel is a commercial dispute resolution lawyer who has experience in litigating significant commercial, construction and financial services disputes and in international arbitration. She is experienced with managing document heavy litigation.

Her experience includes assisting major Australian banks in civil penalty proceedings initiated by AUSTRAC in the Federal Court of Australia concerning AML/CTF compliance and fraud investigations, assisting financial services clients with responding to ACCC and ASIC notices including corporate shareholder and contractual disputes for oil and gas clients in Supreme Courts.

Rachel has worked for global top-tier law firms in both Brisbane and Melbourne.

Senior Associate

Alexander Sloan

Alex is a commercial litigator with experience in funded litigation and class actions. He has acted for publicly listed companies (both ASX and SGX), large private companies, litigation funders, SMEs, and company directors in a range of commercial disputes.

His experience includes complex, cross-border financial services litigation, class actions, product liability, insolvencies, and corporate disputes.

Alex has prosecuted and defended claims in the Supreme Courts of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and the ACT, and in the Federal Court of Australia. He also acted in the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry.

Alex was admitted to practice as a solicitor in 2015 and worked for several years in a national Australian law firm, prior to joining GRT Lawyers in 2021.

General Manager

Aylesha James-Pearson

aylesha.james-pearson@grtlawyers.com
m 0433 555 812

EXPERTISE

  • Business Operations
  • People and Culture
  • Human Resources
  • Marketing
  • Event Coordination
  • Project Management

PROFESSIONAL SUMMARY

Aylesha serves as the General Manager at GRT Lawyers, providing effective leadership and overseeing the day-to-day operations of the firm. In her role, she manages human resources, marketing, events, and directly supervises the Administration team.

Bringing more than 19 years of experience in office management, senior administration, project and event management, as well as human resources, Aylesha has a proven track record of excellence in high-pressure environments. Her wealth of experience and professionalism ensures the seamless functioning of the firm. Aylesha excels in optimizing operational efficiencies by reviewing and implementing systems, policies, and procedures to support business functions, resulting in impactful results. She adopts a holistic approach, balancing a keen eye for detail with a focus on overarching goals.

Aylesha’s passion lies in people and culture, where she actively fosters strong relationships across all levels of the business. She connects with staff to instill the core values of GRT Lawyers and the GRT Foundation, believing in creating value through people. Her approach involves working with passion and understanding, offering support and cultivating relationships that enhance both business and individual performance.

EXPERIENCE


Her career history encompasses multi-faceted roles giving her exposure to the specialty fields of Human Resources, Marketing and Event Management. Roles have included:

  • Human resources, including recruitment, performance management, staffing, new employee onboarding, employee benefits, payroll and training and development.
  • Marketing – including roles involving the development and implementation of marketing and business development strategies.
  • Background in planning internal and external events from conception through to execution, displaying qualities of a successful event planner: thorough yet precise, expert knowledge, ingenuity in identifying and solving problems and clear, concise communication.

“There’s always another level up. There’s always another ascension. More grace, more light, more generosity, more compassion, more to shed, more to grow.” -Elizabeth Gilbert

Director

Ashley Hill

ashley.hill@grtlawyers.com
m 0415 150 866

EXPERTISE

  • Commercial litigation
  • International commercial arbitration
  • Energy – oil, gas, coal, and electricity
  • Product liability – recalls and litigation
  • Resources – water and agribusiness
  • Financial services
  • Insurance – including D&O, PI and BI
  • Regulatory – securities and governance; anti-bribery and anti-corruption
  • Hotel development and management disputes
  • IT industry disputes
  • IP claims including counterfeiting, passing-off, copyright infringement
  • Mediation, Adjudication and Advocacy

PROFESSIONAL SUMMARY

Ashley has in excess of 23 years’ experience as a litigator and disputes lawyer. In his time at GRT Lawyers and working for top-tier Australian and global law firms (in the Middle-East and Singapore), Ashley has acted for clients across multiple continents on complex commercial litigation and international arbitration.

EXPERIENCE

Ashley’s current practice includes investment protection and dispute matters across a number of industry sectors including energy and resources, financial services, technology, agribusiness, tourism, in addition to contentious regulatory, insurance disputes and product liability matters.

The international scope of Ashley’s work has given him a valuable insight into cross-border disputes in common law and civil law jurisdictions. He has practical experience with most of the world’s renowned international commercial arbitration institutions including ICC, LCIA, SIAC, SCC and ICDR/AAA.

Since 2014, Ashley has been listed in ‘Best Lawyers in Australia’ Peer Review for the categories of International Arbitration, Litigation, Insurance and Product Liability.  In 2019, Ashley was added to the Doyle’s Guide Leading Commercial Litigation and Dispute Resolution Lawyers in Queensland.

QUALIFICATIONS

Ashley holds Bachelor Degrees in Law and Arts (University of New England) and he is:

  • a member of the Queensland Law Society (QLS)
  • Executive Council Member of Asia-Pacific Forum for International Arbitration (AFIA)
  • Associate Member of Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (ACICA); and
  • ordinary member of Australian Insurance Law Association (AILA)
Director

Scott Standen

scott.standen@grtlawyers.com
m 0447 790 009

EXPERTISE

  • In depth understanding of the M&A processes (public M&A and private M&A transactions)
  • Public equity capital markets transactions
  • Management of due diligence processes
  • Deep understanding of governance frameworks
  • Corporate structuring
  • Capital structure management
  • Transaction management
 PROFESSIONAL SUMMARY

Scott is a founder and Director of GRT Lawyers and GRT Foundation and corporate lawyer. He leads a team of specialist legal professionals, providing advice to organisations of all sizes, from middle market, large corporates and government owned corporations.

Scott’s career spans more than 20 years as a corporate lawyer and has encompassed an in-house general counsel role, director of Statutory Authorities and corporate legal adviser to managing directors, chief financial officers and boards of directors of ASX listed companies.

Scott is regularly called on by clients to provide strategic corporate advice to boards of directors and to project manage merger and acquisition transactions and public equity markets transactions. He prides himself in providing technically accurate and commercially focused corporate advice for public, private and listed companies, boards of directors and corporate advisers.

In particular, Scott advises on public equity markets transactions, debt issuances and restructuring, corporate governance and advisory, regulatory compliance, public and private M&A transactions, contract negotiation and directors’ duties and liabilities.

EXPERIENCE

Scott’s experience includes:

  • Advising Cerro Resources Limited in relation to its public market merger and acquisition deal with Canadian based Primero Gold Limited and the concurrent spin out of assets to Santana Metals Limited and listing of Santana Metals Limited on ASX
  • Advising Discovery Metals Limited in relation to its A$250 million debt restructuring and associated equity raisings and proposed convertible note issue
  • Advising Polymetals Limited in relation to its acquisition by Southern Cross Goldfields by way of scheme of arrangement
  • Advising Southern Cross Goldfields Limited in relation to its A$60 million capital raising transaction involving equity, debt and hybrid securities
  • Dual listing on Hong Kong Exchange of ASX listed company
  • ASX listing of Asia focused technology / media company and
  • ASX listing of Apiam Animal Health Limited, vertically integrated provider of services and product to agricultural industry and
  • ASX listing of P2P Transport Limited.

QUALIFICATIONS

Scott holds Bachelor Degrees in Law and Business Administration and a Masters of Law. Scott has previously held positions as a Director on the Boards of the Queensland Manufactured Water Authority (and related entities) and the Queensland Bulk Water Authority (and related entities).

Managing Director

Glenn Vassallo

gv@grtlawyers.com
0422 857 760

EXPERTISE

  • Public capital markets
  • Corporate law
  • Private capital markets
  • Corporate advisory
  • Corporate structuring
  • Complex corporate disputes
  • Social entrepreneurship

PROFESSIONAL SUMMARY

Glenn is a founder of GRT Lawyers and the GRT Foundation. As the Managing Director of GRT Lawyers and chair of the GRT Foundation, Glenn is passionate about working with his highly sophisticated national and international clients to implement their corporate strategy and solve their complex problems.

Glenn is passionate about implementing the corporate strategy of GRT Lawyers and the GRT Foundation. Glenn’s significant experience in formulating and executing complex corporate transactions (including IPOs, takeovers, and other equity capital market transactions) with a particular focus on national and international stock and security exchanges puts him in a unique position to provide excellent advice.

EXPERIENCE

After building GRT Lawyers into a high-quality law firm, and together with his wife Eliza, establishing the GRT Foundation into a sustainable Australian charity, Glenn built GRT App (a subsidiary of GRT Lawyers) and sold that to an ASX listed company. Glenn was the first chairperson of any Australian ASX listed company to successfully chair a real-time virtual meeting of shareholders. He is still today, the only person who has chaired a real-time virtual shareholders meeting for an ASX listed company.

Glenn is often invited to speak on global topics such as capital markets, initial public offerings, takeovers and more recently was invited to New York University to speak at its global conference about social entrepreneurship.

QUALIFICATIONS

Glenn holds a Bachelor Degree of Law (LLB) and a Bachelor Degree of Commerce. He has been a long-standing member of the Law Council of Australia Company Law Committee and the Queensland Law Society Company Law Committee, member of the Australian India Business Council (Energy and Resources – Subcommittee) and has significant ASX listed board experience.