Lionel has a broad commercial practice with a focus on insolvency, building and construction disputes and property disputes.

  • Lionel has appeared and advised in a variety of insolvency and related matters, including claims of phoenixing conduct, directors’ liability, preference payments, insolvent trading and practitioners’ remuneration. Lionel has advised and acted in matters relating to creditors’ claims, including guarantees, matters involving the Personal Property Securities Act 2009 and interests in land.
  • Building and construction disputes form a significant part of Lionel’s practice. He has appeared frequently in domestic building disputes for owners, builders and subcontractors and has experience with claims under the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 2002 and insurance claims.
  • Lionel has extensive experience with property disputes. He has appeared or advised in disputes concerning contracts of sale of land, leases (retail and commercial), equitable interests (including trusts and claims arising by estoppel), caveats and mortgages.

Lionel also has an interest in disciplinary, licensing and regulatory prosecutions. His experience includes matters brought by the Victorian Legal Services Commissioner, the Building Practitioners Board, the Victorian Racing Club Ltd’s disciplinary subcommittee, the Migration Agents Registration Authority and under the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998.

Other general matters in which Lionel has appeared include contract disputes, professional negligence claims, banking and finance disputes, partnership disputes and claims of oppressive conduct in corporate affairs. He has also appeared several times in the Court of Appeal (led and unled) and conducted appeals on questions of law in the Trial Division of the Supreme Court.

Lionel graduated with first-class honours in law from Monash University. He received the Peter Twining Prize for the Best Honours Thesis in Common Law, the topic of which concerned the law of restitution.

Lionel maintains a blog:

Court of Appeal

  • Chan v Liu [2020] VSCA 28 (removal of caveat)
  • Reliance Franchise Partners Pty Ltd v Ford Kinter & Associates Pty Ltd [2018] VSCA 106 (sale of business)
  • Bisognin v Hera Project Pty Ltd [2018] VSCA 93 (sale of land)
  • Fraser v Sperling [2017] VSCA 53 (domestic building contract)
  • Brirek Industries Pty Ltd v McKenzie Group Consulting (Vic) Pty Ltd (No 2) [2015] VSCA 185 (professional negligence; building permits; damages)
  • P'Auer AG v Polybuild Technologies International Pty Ltd [2015] VSCA 42 (sale of business)
  • Defteros v Scott [2014] VSCA 154 (costs consultant’s services)

Supreme Court

  • Alpine Valley Flour Mill Pty Ltd v Grainlink (NSW) Pty Ltd [2020] VSC 85 (statutory demand; genuine offsetting claim)
  • Rowe v Crisp [2019] VSC (caveat lodged by liquidator; Barnes v Addy claims)
  • Count on Us Enterprises Pty Ltd v Hume Machinery Pty Ltd [2018] VSC 787 (application for summary dismissal; sale of land)
  • Kahan v Strauss [2017] VSC 8 (pro bono amicus curiae; question of law under the Private Security Act 2004)
  • HRF Nominees Pty Ltd (in liq) v MAN Civil Constructions Pty Ltd (preference claim; directors’ liability; phoenixing conduct; professional negligence of pre-insolvency advisers; settled prior to trial)
  • WP (Noble Park) Pty Ltd v Issak [2016] VSC 205 (restraint of trade)
  • Golden Taste Investment Pty Ltd v Laurence [2016] VSC 250 (directors’ liability)
  • L & H New Developments Pty Ltd v MYR Investments Pty Ltd [2013] VSC 689 (partnership)
  • Crisp v Fairfax Media Ltd [2012] VSC 615 (defamation; injunction)
  • Perpetual Trustees Victoria Ltd v Miller (unconscionable lending in relation to Storm Financial; professional negligence; settled prior to trial)
  • Rubytime Nominees Pty Ltd v Bottiglieri [2011] VSC 678 (caveat)

Federal Court

  • Zhao v Ausin Group Pty Ltd (share reduction; fair and reasonable; ongoing)
  • Modscape Holdings Pty Ltd v Caspaney [2019] FCA 2137 (meeting of creditors; interlocutory orders)
  • Hoskin v Robert Balzola & Associates (Legal) Pty Ltd [2019] FCA 1353 (bankruptcy; appeal against sequestration order)
  • Donaldson v Natural Springs Australia Ltd [2015] FCA 498 (oppressive conduct; interference with contractual relations)
  • Francis v Eggleston Mitchell Lawyers Pty Ltd [2013] FCA 564 (bankruptcy annulment; assignment of debt)
  • Feiglin v NAB (bankruptcy annulment; unconscionable conduct; discontinued prior to trial)

Federal Circuit Court

  • Fair Work Ombudsman v C & H Entertainment Pty Ltd (defended civil prosecution under Fair Work Act 2009; ongoing)
  • AHA Pacific Pty Ltd v Gu (contested creditor’s petition; solvency; settled prior to trial)

County Court

  • Fisher v Fisher (2017-18) (family farming; water rights; unconscionable conduct and estoppel; settled prior to trial)
  • Sportzcom Australia Pty Ltd v Ekera Dental Pty Ltd [2018] VCC 398 (employment)
  • MW Accounting Pty Ltd v Tenni [2014] VCC 1541 (sale of business)
  • Brown v De Saram [2014] VCC 47 (security for costs)
  • Horne (as liquidator of Unikon Pty Ltd (in liq)) v Southeast Investment Holdings Pty Ltd (preference claim; complex transaction; accessorial and Barnes v Addy liability; settled prior to trial)


  • RG Concrete & Polish Pty Ltd v Smart [2019] VCAT 722 (ACL claims for concreting services; payments of debt)
  • Lewis v Volkswagen Group Australia Pty Ltd (2019) (consumer guarantees; major failure; settled prior to hearing)
  • Victorian Legal Services Commissioner v Joseph [2018] VCAT 864 (professional discipline; trust money; breach of undertaking)
  • Meadsview Pty Ltd v Fenton [2018] VCAT 1249 (retail lease)
  • Charterarm Investments Pty Ltd v Roberts (Remitted Hearing) [2015] VCAT 527 (domestic building; liability under a cost-plus contract)
  • Victorian Legal Services Commissioner v Johansson [2015] VCAT 2034 (professional discipline; costs agreements)
  • S R & R S Wales Pty Ltd v Hydro Vegie Pty Ltd [2014] VCAT 858 (earthmoving works)
  • Ross v Planet Platinum Limited [2012] VCAT 1670 (liquor licensing)
  • Sirenes Pty Ltd v Inarc Architects [2012] VCAT 1901 (domestic building; freezing order)
  • Westside Real Estate Investments Pty Ltd v Nguyen [2011] VCAT 1830 (retail lease; right to renew)

To get in touch with Lionel Wirth | or for more information please contact the Clerk on: +61 3 9225 7222 or

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards legislation.