Professor Christopher Symes

Professor Christopher Symes
 Position Professor of Law
 Org Unit Adelaide Law School
 Telephone +61 8 8313 4452
 Mobile +61 4 0739 6070
 Location Floor/Room 2 ,  Ligertwood ,   North Terrace
  • Biography/ Background

    Professor Symes' main academic interest is insolvency law. In this area, he has written textbooks and numerous articles for both an academic and practitioner readership. Christopher's book Australian Insolvency Law, is now in its fourth edition and, in 2015, a companion Casebook (with Brown and Wellard). He is also a co-author of Corporations Law In Principle and Business and Corporations Law (now in its fourth edition).

    A full time academic since 1993, Christopher previously worked as an accountant and practised as a commercial lawyer. His academic career has traversed both Business and Law schools, teaching in a variety of commercial law compulsory and optional topics both in Australia and Malaysia. He was previously Deputy Dean of Flinders Law School and Adelaide Law School and is now Dean at Adelaide Law School.

    Always active in relevant professional bodies, Christopher served for 20 years on an accounting professional body's disciplinary tribunal, was National President of the Corporate Law Teachers Association and continues his involvement with the ARITA and the Law Council's Insolvency and Reconstruction Committee.       

    Since 2011 Adelaide Law School has had a research unit known as Bankruptcy and Insolvency Law Scholarship (BILS), now known as Regulation of Corporate Insolvency and Tax (ROCIT) and Christopher is the Director with Associate Professor David Brown. 

    Professor Symes is an active PhD supervisor in Insolvency and Corporate law.

    In 2020 Professor Symes was made a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law

  • Qualifications

    LLB, LLM (Adel), Grad Dip Legal Prac (SAIT), Grad Cert Tertiary Ed, MEd, PhD (Flin)

    Admitted as Barrister and Solicitor High Court of Australia (1990)

    Admitted as Barrister and Solicitor Supreme Court of South Australia (1989)

  • Teaching Interests

    Insolvency Law

    Corporate Law

    Business Law

  • Research Interests

    Corporate insolvency particularly employees and other priorities, history, regulation of practitioners, liquidations, DoCAs, litigation funding in insolvency


    Christopher is happy to supervise Higher Degree Research in all aspects of insolvency law.

  • Publications

    (Since 2005)

    Encyclopaedia: Author of The Laws of Australia Sub title 4.7 “Corporate Winding Up” in the title Business Oganisations (Thomson Reuters, Sydney) and Sub title 3.1 “Introduction to Bankruptcy” in the title Bankruptcy (Thomson Reuters, Sydney). He is also Title Editor for Business Organisations and Bankruptcy.


    Australian Insolvency Law, 4th ed (Lexisnexis, Sydney, 2019);

    Business and Corporations Law, 4th ed (Lexisnexis, Sydney, 2019)[with Jeff Fitzpatrick, David Parker, Antonio Vecjanovski];

    Statutory Priorities in Corporate Insolvency Law: An Analysis of Preferred Creditor Status, (Ashgate, London, 2008);

    Corporations Law In Principle 9th ed (Thomson Reuters, Sydney, 2013)[with Tony Ciro].

    Refereed Chapters:

    "Chapter 1: National Report for Australia" in Faber D, Vermunt N et al (ed) Treatment of secured creditors in insolvency proceedings  (Oxford,  United Kingdom, 2022)

    "Chapter 1: National Report for Australia" in Faber D, Vermunt N et al (ed) Ranking and Priority of Creditors (Oxford, Unitd Kingdom 2015)

    "Chapter 1: National Report for Australia" in Faber D, Vermunt N, et al (ed) Treatment of Contracts in Insolvency (Oxford, United Kingdom, 2013)

    "Chapter 1: National Report for Australia" in Faber D, Vermunt N et al (ed) Commencement of Insolvency Procedings (Oxford, United Kingdom, 2012)

    “A Half a Loaf is Better Than No Bread: The Australian Way of Protecting Employees’ Wages and Other Entitlements Upon an Employer’s Insolvency” in Sarra J (ed) Annual Review of Insolvency Law (Thomson Carswell, Canada, 2006)

    “Australia” in Sarra J (ed) Employee and Pension Claims During Company Insolvency

    A Comparative Study of 62 Jurisdictions (Thomson Carswell, Canada, 2008) [with Karen O’Flynn and Colin Anderson].

    Refereed Journal Articles:

    C F Symes, "A descry of PtXIV of the Bankruptcy Act: Bankruptcy Offences committed by Australian bankrupts" (2021) 29 Insolvency Law Journal 1

    J Harris & C F Symes, "The chimera of restrucuring reform: An opportunity missed for MSMEs in pt 5.3B" (2021) 36 Australian Journal of Corporate Law

    C Symes, "Cross border insolvency in Australia is bringing about judicial collegiality: Cooperation with foreing courts and foreign repsrentatives is now mandatory and contempoarary" (2020) 36 Australian Journal of Corporate Law 103-111 

    S Lombard & C F Symes, "Judicial guidelines in respect of insolvency litigation funding agreements" (2020) 28(4) Insolvency Law Journal 165-180

    C Symes & B Nosworthy, "The components of corporate governance for financially distrssed companies" (2020) 35 Australian Journal of Corporate Law 98-113

    C Symes "Disatisfied creditors wanting the exercise of the court's discretion to terminate DOCAs: elaborating on the basics of the s445D discretion" (2019) 34 Australian Journal of Corporate Law 356-362

    J Harris & C F Symes, " Be careful what you wish for! Evaluating the ipso facto reforms" (2019) 34 Australian Journal of Corporate Law 84-102

     B Nosworthy & C F Symes, "The Good Place or the Bad Place: The position of directors during a Deed of Company Arrangement" (2019) 26 Insolvency Law Journal 191-202

    T S Porter & C F Symes, "Section 90-15 of the IPS (Corporations) - The new power for courts to exercise when applications for directions are made from voluntary administrators, liquidators and others" (2018) 33 Australian Journal of Corporate Law 275-284

    C Symes & B Nosworthy, "Paying the liquidators when the company is an insolvent trustee" (2018) 33 Australian Journal of Corporate Law 111-123

    C Symes, "Environmental Protection Orders and Insolvency: It's onerous to disclaim, or to prioritize or to resolve the conflict between the two public interests" (2018) 37 Australian Resources Energy Law Journal

    C F Symes & J Fitzpatrick, "A Deliberation on adapting aspects of Singapore's mediation initiatives within the Australian Federal Court's practice to further improve the liquidator's recovery of assets" (2017) 14 Transnational Dispute Management

    C Symes & B Nosworthy, "Prepayment Consumer Creditors: A Special Case for Insolvency Proceedings? " (2017) 25 Insolvency Law Journal 29-43   

    C Symes, "The path that makes sense: Using holding DOCAs" (2017) 32 Australian Journal of Corporate Law 386-391

    D Brown & C F Symes, “The Regulation of Insolvency Practitioners: Getting to “Trust and Confidence”” (2013) 19 New Zealand Business Law Quarterly 226

    C Symes & M Simpson, “Phoenix Companies and the AA Fund” (2012) 21 Insolvency Law Journal 227-239

    CF Symes & J Fitzpatrick, "A Primal Sketch of an Insolvency Ombudsman" (2011) 13 Flinders Law Journal 1-26

    V Brand, J Fitzpatrick & CF Symes, ‘“Fit and proper’: The integrity requirement for liquidators” (2010) 24 Australian Journal of Corporate Law 244-265 

    CF Symes, “The Insolvent Company as Criminal” (2006) 19 Australian Journal of Corporate Law 316

    A Smith, (Uni of South Africa) C Symes & F Mullins, (FUSA) “Privacy and the Sale of Customer Lists in South African and Australian Corporate Insolvency Law” (2006) 14 Insolvency Law Journal

    CF Symes,“Reminiscing the Taxation Priorities in Insolvency” (2005) 1 (2) Journal of the Australasian Tax Teachers Association 435

    Journal Articles:

    “Gambling on not being prosecuted for rash and hazardous gambling” (2013) 13(8) Insolvency Law Bulletin 186-187

    “Skimming some recent report cards from our two insolvency regulators” (2013) 13 (7) Insolvency Law Bulletin 150-152

    “The Hen’s Teeth of Australian Insolvency Law” (2012) 13(2) Insolvency Law Bulletin 42 - 44

    "A Postcard from "Mourning" Ireland - The Freckled Nation of Insolvency" (2012) 12(6) Insolvency Law Bulletin 126

    "The New Meaning for Company Dividends... Additional Work for the Insolvency Industry?" (2011) 11(5) Insolvency Law Bulletin 91-92

    Symes C and Brown D, “What’s the latest? Corporate insolvency statistics” (2010) 11(1) Insolvency Law Bulletin 2-3

    “Senate Inquiry into Liquidators and Administrators – 30 respondee suggestions” (2010) 10(7) Insolvency Law Bulletin 122-123

    Symes C and Fitzpatrick J, “Can the Administrator and liquidator serve two masters –pre- and post-deed creditors?” (2008) 8(7) Insolvency Law Bulletin 106

    “Oops Bring back the Scaffolding: Milicevic v Capital Scaffolding Pty Ltd (in liq) [2007] FCA 1579” (2007/8) 8(5) Insolvency Law Bulletin 66

    “Top 7 reasons for Reinstatement – Exhuming the Corporate body” (2007) 7(9) Insolvency Law Bulletin 114

    “Bankruptcy Offences review by Federal Government” (2006) 7(2) Insolvency Law Bulletin 21

    “The New Attempt at Anti-Avoidance Provisions in Personal Insolvency” (2006) 6(7) Insolvency Law Bulletin 96.

  • Professional Associations

    Fellow, Chartered Secretaries Australia, and Fellow, Governance Institute of Australia

    Academic Member, Australian Insolvency Restructuring and Turnaround Association

    Member, Law Council of Australia

    Member, INSOL Academics Group 

    Life Fellow, Institute of Public Accountants

    Member, Society of Legal Scholars

  • Community Engagement

    Member Law Council's Insolvency and Reconstruction sub-committee.

    Chair of Aquinas College Inc , a University residential college.

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Entry last updated: Thursday, 9 Feb 2023

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