Mark Pennini

Senior Associate

Qualifications: LLB (Hons), BA, GDLP

Practices

Mark’s principal practice is in bankruptcy and insolvency litigation, where he frequently acts for insolvency practitioners, creditors and debtors in complex, multiparty disputes across state and federal courts. He has been involved in litigation arising from major insolvencies, including Amerind, Watersun Homes and Richard Gu’s AXF Group. He has particular expertise in wind-ups, creditors’ petitions, voidable transactions, public examinations, section 90-15 applications, insolvent trading trusts and insolvent deceased estates.

In addition, Mark maintains a general civil litigation caseload, covering contractual disputes (especially in the property development, logistics and resources industries), security enforcement, consumer law, fiduciary and directors’ duties, partnership disputes, shareholder oppression, professional liability, owners corporations and freedom of information.

Mark involves himself as much in the detail as in the broad strategy of matters. He offers incisive advice at all stages of disputes, always mindful of clients’ goals, reputational and commercial risks, and the need for trial-readiness.

He has published extensively on legal topics, including academically in the peer-reviewed Journal of Equity.

Experience

  • Acting for the liquidators of Watersun Homes, which had over 200 homes under construction at appointment, including in pursuing multiple unfair preference claims worth over $5 million.
  • Providing wide-ranging advice to the administrator of an owner of $30 million in student housing assets, including in respect of PPSA issues and a major creditor’s section 440D application.
  • Advising the liquidators of the developer of ‘Iqra Village’, a planned Islamic community in Melton, Victoria, including in respect of enforceability of purchasers’ contracts, owners corporation rules and realisation of multiple lots.
  • Acting for a defendant resisting enforcement of a charge over multiple properties worth around $6 million (reported in Re Carter Holt Harvey Woodproducts (Australia) Pty Ltd (No 1) [2017] VSC 499).
  • Representing a commerical and industrial property developer in a $12 million lease dispute with an anchor tenant before the Victorian Small Business Commission.
  • Advising a respondent financier, a group member of the Great Southern class action, in an application to set aside a statutory demand, including on appeal to the Victorian Court of Appeal (reported in Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Ltd v Pekell Delaire Holdings Pty Ltd [2017] VSCA 51).
  • Representing a listed company in relation to misleading or deceptive conduct claims in the Supreme Court of Victoria arising ultimately out of the conviction of Betty Poon, a former CFO of Aurora Funds Management.
  • Acting in a contested winding up application against a related-party defendant involving company loan accounts of over $1.6 million (reported in Re AXF Group Pty Ltd [2019] VSC 671 and AXF Entertainment Pty Ltd v AXF Group Pty Ltd (No 2) [2019] VSC 753).
  • Applying for appointment of a liquidator as receiver and manager of trust assets comprising viticultural and farming properties worth over $1.5 million in northern Victoria.
  • Representing liquidators in an unfair preference proceeding where the validity of the liquidators’ appointment was challenged (reported in Re Polat Enterprises Pty Ltd (in liq) [2020] VSC 485).
  • Acting for a financial market licensee in an Administrative Appeals Tribunal application under the Corporations Regulations 2001 (Cth) involving the ASX’s listing rules and ASIC oversight.
  • Acting for a partner of an insolvency firm in a $2 million partnership dispute, which included a Supreme Court of Victoria application for appointment of receivers and managers.
  • Appearing in the Federal Circuit and Family Court for a bankruptcy trustee in an application for sale and possession of NSW land (reported in Newman, in re Cameron-Clarke v Mackay [2023] FedCFamC2G 1139).

Professional Membership

  • Law Institute of Victoria, Member
  • Australian Restructuring Insolvency and Turnaround Association, Subscriber