Working in the Family Court
I’ve been a Barrister in Family Law for nearly 30 years. I’ve had the privilege of being the Chair of Patterson’s Barrister List. Prior to being admitted to the Bar I was a County Court Judge’s Associate to Judge Hassett. During that time I also performed research work with other County Court Judges for the Sentencing Manual. My practice is in the areas of Family Law and De Facto Property Law. I’m an accredited Arbitrator and Mediator on the List of Arbitrators kept by the Australian Institute of Family Law Arbitrators and Mediators.
I served as a Steering Committee Member on the Family Violence Taskforce headed by Chief Magistrate, Melbourne Magistrates’ Court. I’m a current Committee Member of the AFCC (Australian Chapter). In my desire to see young law practitioners succeed, I act as a Student Mentor for Melbourne University’s Law School, The University of Melbourne.
I’ve presented papers at professional forums around the world including:
- Leo Cussen/ Private CLE – Family Law
- Association of Family & Conciliation Courts (AFCC) on Family Violence in Brisbane
- AFCC in Boston on Family Violence
- AFCC in Melbourne – Child Alienation – TO BE LOVED NETWORK LAUNCH
- American Bar Association – Family Violence – Nashville
- AFCC – Washington DC – Confirmation Bias in Family Reports
- Victoria Bar – Child Dissociative Disorders – TOMMY File Pre – Launch
- AFCC (Aust Chapter) Sydney – Child Contact 2019
"When parents separate, children need to know it's ..."
I graduated in Law/Science at Melbourne University and was later admitted to practice law in 1986 after concluding my Articles of Clerkship in Melbourne. I then worked as a Judge’s Associate for 2 years, including work on the Sentencing Manual with Senior Judges. In 1990, I was admitted to the Victorian Bar and was mentored by Judge Mason. I’ve specialized in areas of Family Law/De Facto Law and Family Violence. I’ve also involved myself in training advocates and served on the Reader’s List committee and I’m a Mentor to Melbourne University Law Students.
I’ve fulfilled the role of Secretary of the Family law Bar Association and was a member of the Chief Magistrates’ Taskforce Committee reporting to the Royal Commission on Family Violence. I have also served as Chairperson on the List of Barristers and have trained several Mentees. In 2019, I was a finalist in the category of Barrister of the Year for the Australian Law Awards and Social Entrepreneur of the Year in the Third Sector Awards.
At the end of the day, you are solely responsible for your success and your failure. And the sooner you realize that, you accept that, and integrate that into your work ethic, you will start being successful.
I’m a Director of the charitable foundation, “To Be Loved Network”, which produces resources advancing the best interests of children navigating conflict in parental separation and divorce (www.tobeloved.org.au). I am an advocate for victims of family violence, including children and also a strong supporter of Safe Steps.