David Cowling

David Cowling

David Cowling is a market leading Restructuring and Insolvency lawyer. Specialising in all areas of insolvency, reconstruction and property enforcement, David has acted on many of the largest insolvency matters in Australia over the past 20 years.

David’s expertise in asset recovery on behalf of insolvency administrators is widely acknowledged, and he regularly acts for the major banks and accounting firms in relation to high profile insolvencies.

Consistently recognised by clients and peers in major legal directories, David is ranked Band One in Restructuring and Insolvency law by Chambers Asia Pacific 2015.

Recognition of David's abilities extends to high-profile appointments and engagements for INSOL International and the Insolvency and Reconstruction Committee of the International Bar Association.

David is a two-time recipient of the Law Award for Insolvency Transaction of the Year for his involvement in the high profile Cross City Tunnel receivership matter and the “ABC2” childcare business restructure for the Commonwealth Government.

Prior to joining KWM, David was a Partner of a top tier Australian law firm for over 20 years.

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Representative matters

  • Lehman Brothers administration: Acting for the voluntary administrator of the Lehman Brothers Australia Group of Companies
  • ABC Group restructure: Acting for the Commonwealth Government in relation to the collapse of the ABC Group and the subsequent restructuring of “ABC2”
  • The Cross City Tunnel: Acting for the State Government in relation to the Tunnel's receivership
  • Angus & Robertson/Borders voluntary administration: Advising the administrator in relation to the voluntary administration of the Angus & Robertson and Borders bookstore chains
  • Pie Face Limited: Acting for the secured lender and receivers (Macquarie Banked Limited) in relation to the administration of the fast food retailer Pie Face
  • OneTel Limited administration: Advising on the voluntary administrator of OneTel
  • Allans Music Group: Acting for the secured lender and receivers in relation to the administration of the Allans & Billy Hyde music chain stores
  • ANZ Bank: Acting in relation to the Bank's largest defaulting loan in NSW
  • Prime Retirement Village Group: Acting for the secured lender and receivers in relation to the voluntary administration the Prime Retirement Village Group
  • Retravision: Acting for the voluntary administrators and subsequent deed administrators of Retravision
  • Sultan of Brunei contractual dispute: Acting for the Sultan of Brunei in relation to allegations by Garsec Pty Ltd over the failed purchase of an antique Koran by the Sultan of Brunei, valued at $9.6m
  • Blackwood Corporation Limited contractual dispute: Acting on the successful enforcement and recovery by Queensland coal developer Blackwood Corporation Limited (a wholly owned subsidiary of the Noble Group of Companies) of a full contractual debt owed by Mulsanne Resources, an entity controlled by Nathan Tinkler, in a highly reported dispute regarding a $28.4m share placement that was not completed
  • Kangaroo Resources Limited commercial dispute: Acting for Kangaroo Resources Limited in relation to a $28m claim brought by Chimaera Capital Markets and Empire Equity Limited, relating to fees and benefits allegedly owed pursuant to an Advisory Agreement. The proceedings were successfully defended at trial before the Supreme Court of Victoria


  • Band One - Chambers Asia Pacific, 2015
  • Leading Restructuring and Insolvency Lawyer - Legal 500 Asia Pacific, 2015
  • One of Australia's Best Lawyers in Insolvency and Reorganisation and Litigation - Best Lawyers Australia, 2015
  • Leading Restructuring and Insolvency Lawyer - IFLR 1000, 2014
  • David Cowling earns praise for his “no frills, to-the-point advice.” “He acts on a broad range of insolvency and property enforcement matters and has significant litigation experience.” - Chambers Asia-Pacific, 2015
  • David Cowling is described as “a strong advocate and reliable business ally” - Legal 500 Asia Pacific, 2014


  • Australian Restructuring Insolvency and Turnaround Association LAWASIA
  • Insolvency Law Advisory Group
  • International Bar Association (Insolvency and Reconstructions Committee)


Legal insights

Special purpose liquidators of Queensland Nickel Pty Ltd (in liq) have been successful in their application for freezing orders against Mr Clive Palmer and several companies which he controls.

25 May 2018

The decision in Amerind has provided clarity on whether receivers and liquidators should apply the statutory priorities afforded to employee entitlements.

28 February 2018

Australia's insolvency reforms are some of the most significant changes to occur over the last decade, and will have implications to company directors, banks, and creditors.

09 October 2017

The Turnbull Government's proposed reforms introduce a two-layered adjustment to the restructuring landscape through safe harbour reform and the ipso facto stay.

02 May 2017

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