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By Darrin Mitchell, a Senior Associate in Matthews Folbigg’s Insolvency, Restructuring and Debt Recovery Group.

Meet Darrin

Aside from being a lawyer, Darrin has been involved in debt recovery for 30 years, helping companies and individuals recover monies due and owing to them.

Before Darrin was admitted as a lawyer, he worked for a finance company and a mercantile agent so he saw first hand the nuts and bolts of dealing with debtors.

This experience has given Darrin a boost in assisting clients to recover monies in-house up to the management of a full blown hearing where the debtor defends everything from non-supply of goods to alleging that the goods supplied were defective.  It also allows Darrin to give advice on the implications of debt recovery, so clients can make practical, commercial decisions.

Why should I use a lawyer to collect my debts?

The answer is that in most cases you should not use a lawyer.  Most lawyers don’t have the X factor that will get a debt recovered as for most, debt recovery is just one of many areas of law listed on the firm’s “We Do …” list on their webpage.

At Matthews Folbigg, we have work groups that focus on various areas of law, including a group which focusses on debt recovery and insolvency.  Our insolvency and debt recovery group has six lawyers, supported by a number of law clerks, and all we do is advise on debt recovery and insolvency matters.  We have the X factor needed to collect your debt.

How does that benefit me?

The benefit is that debt recovery is what we do – it’s not an afterthought.  This gives you the confidence that you are dealing with a team who knows what they are doing and our experience can help you avoid the pitfalls that often come with a poorly planned and costly recovery action.

Are you sick of the commission payments on every dollar recovered as well as paying legal costs?  At Matthews Folbigg, we don’t charge commissions on the monies collected, only for the work that we do and process issued, which, depending on your terms and conditions, can be recoverable from the debtor.  No commission surely has to be a benefit to you and your business and helps should settlement your claim come to the table.

On your instructions we post and email letters of demand that cater for your needs – be that to the local cosmetic seller or the interstate truck driver.  A letter of demand from a lawyer has a big impact on the recipient as most would know; the next step is legal action.  We will of course take the time to discuss with you the options available so that you can make an informed decision taking into consideration time and costs estimated on each available path.

How else can Matthews Folbigg help?

Matthews Folbigg can also help you in other areas of your working day.  As a successful credit manager you will have recovered monies that may have been received shortly before the debtor company was placed into liquidation, or the individual declared bankrupt.  This can then bring a new raft of issues should the liquidator or trustee be savvy enough to want the money back.

The reasoning behind the recovery of monies by a liquidator is to ensure that in the final days and months of a company prior to liquidation, monies paid by the company are paid equally to all of its creditors and that none are preferred over others.  Similar provisions apply in a bankruptcy matter.

Whilst this seems fair on its face, it does not assist those businesses that are diligent and actively take steps to ensure that their customers comply with the terms upon which they agree to abide by in receiving the goods and services provided.  The law surrounding the recovery of monies by a liquidator or trustee is complex and has a lengthy history of battles before the courts.  It involves the interaction between the Corporations and Bankruptcy acts, as well as case law and relatively new PPSA legislation. Whilst on the face of it a claim may seem straightforward, the facts behind the words and numbers can give rise to a defence to the claim that can defeat a claim in whole or at least in part.

A defence to a claim can start from the content of your terms and conditions of trade.  The status of the goods supplied or the terms of supply can dictate whether title in the goods is released upon sale or withheld by the seller until payment.  The Courts have made various decisions in favour of a supplier of goods that allow it to retain monies received, despite claims by the liquidator.  We can help you explore those options and protect your interests.

At Matthews Folbigg we can provide you with the necessary assistance so that you can manage your ledger efficiently and recover the monies due and owing, and have the best chance of keeping the monies you recover.

If you would like legal advice regarding debt recovery or any other insolvency issues, contact Darrin Mitchell on or a Principal of the Matthews Folbigg Lawyers’ Insolvency, Restructuring & Debt Recovery Group:

Jeffrey Brown on (02) 9806 7446 or

Stephen Mullette on (02) 9806 7459 or