Justin Vaatstra is a creative and commercially focused disputes lawyer. He is a partner of Arnold Bloch Leibler’s litigation and insolvency practices.
His practice has an emphasis on corporate insolvency, complex and difficult commercial disputes, shareholder litigation and intellectual property disputes.
Justin holds a Master of Laws from The University of Melbourne in the areas of intellectual property and commercial law. He was also a contributing author to World Insolvency Systems: A Comparative Study, published by Thomson Reuters and frequently presents on commercial and restructuring law issues.
Justin is recognised for his expertise in dispute resolution and restructuring & insolvency by Best Lawyers® International and the Legal 500 Asia Pacific. He is also ranked by Doyle’s Guide for his expertise in insolvency & restructuring and commercial litigation & dispute resolution. He is described by clients as a “very dedicated advocate” who “builds great working relationships”.
Justin Vaatstra is ‘technically excellent’.
- commercial litigation in State Supreme and Federal Courts as well as alternative dispute resolution;
- corporate insolvency and reconstruction, including voluntary administrations, receiverships and liquidations; and
- intellectual property disputes, including advising clients regarding copyright, trade mark, and design infringement, as well as providing strategic advice in relation to the protection and enforcement of intellectual property.
Justin has acted in a broad range of commercial litigation, insolvency and intellectual property matters, including:
Dispute resolution & litigation
- Slea Pty Ltd: acting for Slea, a shareholder in major Australian mortgage aggregator, in complex oppression proceedings, derivative proceedings and proceedings to enforce pre-emptive rights., including: Slea v Connective  VSC 609; Connective v Slea  VSCA 229; Connective v Slea (2017) 53 VR 130; Slea v Connective Services (2018) 359 ALR 159
- representing a public company in respect of a complex joint venture dispute involving Supreme Court litigation and arbitration proceedings in which multiple disputes were resolved commercially through a combination of settlement deeds and a Deed of Company Arrangement
- Bolinda Publishing: represented audio book publisher in Federal Court proceedings brought by renowned author, Kate Morton, regarding copyright infringement and whether licence agreements had been repudiated. The matter was resolved commercially during trial, and
- TS Production LLC: acting for TS Production LLC in Federal Court proceedings involving a dispute about copyright ownership in the film and book known as The Secret. The litigation also involved anti-suit injunction and stay applications in respect of parallel proceedings in the US.
Restructuring & insolvency
- Arrium Administration: acting for the Voluntary Administrators of the Arrium Group on a range of complex matters including:
- disputes with a significant financier who sought to enforce cross-collateralised guarantees against certain Arrium Group subsidiaries that were not in Administration and where such action threatened to cause the collapse of solvent subsidiaries that were trading profitably
- Federal Court applications that enabled post-appointment secured financing to facilitate the ‘going concern’ sale or recapitalisation of the Arrium Group, and
- Federal Court application to limit the Administrators’ personal liability arising from a multiplicity of contractual arrangements entered into (or extended) during the voluntary administration period
- Hawkins Construction: acted for a major New Zealand construction company in relation to the collapse of the Ararat Prison PPP redevelopment\
- Liberty Financial: represented Liberty Financial in multiple proceedings arising out of the receivership of Dale Ford in the Supreme Court of New South Wales
- Gentra Limited: acting as Australian legal advisor to Gentra Limited in respect of applications to appoint receivers in The Bell Group litigation in the Supreme Court of Western Australia and in the High Court of Justice in the UK
- Bluestone Global Limited: acted for the liquidators (KordaMentha) in relation to collapsed labour hire group, including appearing on an application to pool the group of over 50 subsidiary companies - which orders were granted
- Sons of Gwalia: acting for ING, the representative creditor, in the landmark ‘test case’ in which the High Court determined that shareholder damages claims rank equally with unsecured creditors’ claims in a winding-up (Sons of Gwalia Ltd v Margaretic (2007) 231 CLR 160)
- G-Star: acted for the voluntary administrators of the Australian franchisee of the global brand, including in relation to the successful recapitalisation through a Deed of Company Arrangement, and
- Administrators of Ansett Airlines: representing and advising the administrators of the Ansett Group in respect of numerous court proceedings, including proceedings against the International Air Transport Association, which was appealed to the High Court of Australia to determine the validity of multilateral netting arrangements where a participant airline had been placed into administration (International Air Transport Association v Ansett Australia Holdings Ltd (2008) 234 CLR 151).
Awards & recognition
Justin is recognised as a leading lawyer by various international guides to lawyers and law firms, including:
- Best Lawyers® International: bet-the-company litigation, insolvency & reorganisation law and litigation
- Doyle’s Guide: insolvency & restructuring and commercial litigation & dispute resolution
- Legal 500 Asia Pacific: dispute resolution and restructuring & insolvency, and
- Who’s Who Legal: future leader, litigation.