Katherine Payne

Special Counsel

Qualifications: LLB, BCom (Hons)


Katherine is a Special Counsel at Hall & Wilcox, and has been qualified for 13 years. She is an insolvency and commercial litigation specialist with a particular focus on the Personal Property Securities Act 2009 (PPSA), contract litigation and construction disputes. She also has experience in the Australian Consumer Law and international arbitration.

Katherine partners closely with her clients to achieve their best strategic outcome efficiently and effectively. She proactively seeks an early favourable outcome. Where this is not available, emphasis on commerciality and strategic decision-making drive her management of formal disputes.

Katherine's clients include many well-known insolvency practitioners, financiers, national and international corporates, suppliers and manufacturers of a variety of goods, building companies and logistics suppliers. She has been recognised in the editorial of leading legal directory The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2016 in dispute resolution, and listed in The Best Lawyers in Australia annually since 2016 (currently recognized for insolvency and reorganization law, litigation and alternative dispute resolution).  In 2019, she was nominated as a finalist in the Women in Law Awards for Special Counsel of the Year.

Katherine is a member of the Australian Reconstruction, Insolvency and Turnaround Association (ARITA) and the Melbourne Central Insolvency Discussion Group. She regularly publishes articles and presents to clients and industry associations from a range of sectors, including regarding the PPSA.


  • Acting on behalf of companies and directors to implement restructuring under the ‘safe harbour’ regime, which commenced in September 2017.
  • Providing advice to the Victorian Government regarding PPSA considerations associated with certain government policy.
  • Acting for the liquidators of the Hastie Group (in liq) regarding several large recovery claims in the construction industry. The Hastie Group included 44 entities and approximately 2,700 employees. Katherine advised on legal issues and matter strategy regarding claims against 28 major builders, including in relation to set-off, debt claims and the entitlement of builders to claim under bank guarantees.
  • Acting for the liquidators of the Pacific Services Group (in liq) in respect of several potential Corporations Act claims. The Pacific Services Group was one of Australia’s largest electrical contractors. Katherine is advising on legal issues and strategy regarding potential Corporations Act claims, including in complex and untested areas of law.
  • Acting for the liquidator of the C&D Recycling (in liq) in respect of several potential Corporations Act claims. C&D Recycling operated a recycling business in Lara. On liquidation, there were outstanding VCAT enforcement orders requiring security and waste disposal. EPA and CFA had identified the facility as a risk to public safety. It is estimated that clean-up of the site will cost up between $40 million and $100 million.
  • Significant experience in the PPSA, acting on behalf of receivers, administrators, liquidators, financiers, creditors and directors. This includes:
    • acting for the administrators of Rhodes & Beckett and Herringbone;
    • acting for the liquidators of Electaire regarding various creditor claims, including claims by Daikin Australia and Mitsubishi;
    • acting for the liquidators of Kiva Transport regarding a fleet of motor vehicles;
    • acting for the administrators of National Engineering Young;
    • acting for three creditors of the Australian Music Group (also known as Allens Billy Hyde);
    • acting for four creditors of Arrium Australia (including RYCO);
    • acting for OzPak in relation to their rights as a creditor;
    • providing advice to companies including Australian Pharmaceutical Industries, LeasePlan, Yamaha Music Australia and AgFa-Gevaert regarding their PPSA rights and obligations.
  • Acting for financiers in relation to recoveries, including Bendigo and Adelaide Bank and Westpac.
  • Acting for Marsh in respect of a claim by the Country Fire Authority. Katherine defended Marsh in Victorian Supreme Court proceedings for a $10m claim brought by the CFA concerning an insurance policy arranged by Marsh for the Victorian Desalination Project. This included advice in relation to insurance, fire levy and policy interpretation issues.
  • Running a successful large scale arbitration regarding telecommunications construction, through the International Chamber of Commerce. This was a complex arbitration concerning 28 separate breach of contract claims, construction claims including liquidated damages and variations, and security of payment legislation issues (across multiple jurisdictions). The final arbitration hearing was listed for three weeks.
  • Representing and advising clients regarding their rights and obligations under the Australian Consumer Law, specifically as to brand protection (including misleading and deceptive conduct) and consumer guarantee obligations.


Best Lawyers in Australia
Special Counsel – Alternative Dispute Resolution, Litigation
Best Lawyers in Australia
Special Counsel – Alternative Dispute Resolution, Insolvency and Reorganization Law, Litigation

Latest thinking

Thinking | 10 Jul 2019

High Court provides certainty for corporate trustees: Amerind

On 19 June 2019, the High Court delivered its judgment in one of the most hotly anticipated insolvency judgments this year, the Amerind appeal: Carter Holt Harvey Woodproducts Australia Pty Ltd v The Commonwealth.1