QLS x Family Law Program

Friday 22 October 2021 

The Warehouse, Fortitude Valley




Welcome remarks

Presenter: Elizabeth Shearer, President, Queensland Law Society; Legal Practitioner Director, Shearer Doyle and Chair, Queensland Law Society Access to Justice Pro Bono Law Committee


x International keynote: Legal design thinking for family lawyers

Join us for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hear from global visionary, and creator of the legal design thinking movement, Stanford Legal Design Lab Executive Director, Professor Margaret Hagan. 

Professor Hagan will join us virtually from her offices in California to discuss the intersection between human-centred design, technology, and law; and explain how her Lab’s research and initiatives can be applied to day-to-day practice and make a client’s experience of the Australian family law system more equitable, meaningful and accessible.


  • Professor Margaret Hagan, Executive Director, Legal Design Lab, Stanford University; Lecturer, Stanford Law School and Lecturer, Stanford d.school


  • Sarah-Elke Kraal, Senior Professional Development Solicitor, Queensland Law Society



Chief Justice x LCA: You are here

This session has been designed to provide family law practitioners with a ‘state of the union’ address, and an overview of the most recent changes to the jurisdiction—as well as what to expect in the next 12 months. 

Delivered by our inimitable Chief Justice, and the President of the Law Council, Jacoba Brasch QC, this is one session that is not to be missed. 


  • The Honourable Chief Justice William Alstergren, Chief Justice, Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia


  • Dr Jacoba Brasch QC, President, Law Council of Australia



Morning tea and exhibition


Stream 1

Stream 1A: Plenary

What you don’t know, can hurt you

Join a panel of leading advocates in the space of domestic and family violence for an inclusive, emotive and empowering discussion on the importance of educating yourself about coercive control. 

You will hear personal stories from practice, sobering findings from the Taskforce, and explore the real-world impacts of coercive control on the system, your practice, and your paramount duty as an officer of the Court.


  • The Honourable Margaret McMurdo AC, Chair, Queensland Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce; Chair, Board of Governors, Queensland Community Fund; Chair, Legal Aid Queensland Board and Past President, Court of Appeal, Supreme Court of Queensland
  • Kelli Martin, Managing Partner, KLM Solicitors
  • Senior Judicial Registrar Lisa O’Neill, Senior Judicial Registrar I National Registrar, Risk Policy and Family Violence, Federal Circuit and  Family Court of Australia 
  • Thelma Schwartz, Principal Legal Officer, Queensland Indigenous Family Violence Legal Service and Member, Queensland Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce


  • Natalie De Campo, Senior Policy Solicitor, Queensland Law Society


Stream 1B: Workshop

Workshop x Married to the numbers?

Join us for an immensely practical and immersive workshop designed to get you thinking like a forensic account, but acting like a lawyer!

You will pick up tips and tricks you can apply in practice as you explore four different real-world scenarios in a series of lively, interactive exercises; applying these simple techniques in real-time, with real outcomes. 

You will also score the golden ticket of financial workshops: a ready reckoner developed exclusively for event attendees that you will find invaluable in practice.


  • Jenny Letts, Chartered Accountant, CA Forensic Accounting Specialist, CA Business Valuation Specialist


  • Craig Nicol, Director, Small Myers Hughes Lawyers; Accredited Specialist (Family Law) and Co-Author, The Family Law Book



Stream 2

Stream 2A: Plenary

FCFCOA x Pronto property pathway

As the (fairly recent) rhyme goes:

Jack be nimble, 

Jack be quick. 

The FCFCOA are now fast-tracking property matters, 

When clients lickety-split…

But how does the pathway work? 

And is it working?

This session will cover everything you need to know about the expedited property list, and includes an open forum Q&A designed specifically for the sceptics. 


  • Stephen Maguire, Lawyer, Maguire Barnes and Accredited Specialist (Family Law)
  • Dr Chris Turnbull, Judicial Registrar I National E-Registrar, Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia


  • Natalie De Campo, Senior Policy Solicitor, Queensland Law Society


Stream 2B: Workshop

Workshop x Drafting for solicitor advocates 

Join a practical drafting session based on the top 5 drafting mistakes practitioners make on a daily basis—with a specific focus on affidavits and orders.

You will compare good vs problematic drafting excerpts (based on real examples); and try your hand at creating a precedent for a very unusual case study.


  • Wendy Miller, Special Counsel, Damien Greer Lawyers; QLS Senior Counsellor, Queensland Law Society and Accredited Specialist (Family Law)
  • Matthew Taylor, Barrister, Queensland Bar



Lunch and exhibition


Stream 3

Stream 3A: Plenary


Ever had a client, colleague or opponent make an obvious blunder—but not admit it?

Chances are that client, colleague or opponent dug their heels in even more when confronted with the possibility of the mistake. Kind of like when someone cuts you off on the road; then proceeds to make aggressive gestures at you

What’s going on here? And why can’t solicitors, in particular, admit to their mistakes?  

Inspired by learnings from Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me) by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson—and based on a number of funny, real, costly, personal and professional errors—this session will take you on the rollercoaster ride that is cognitive dissonance; and challenge you to fight that destructive, biological urge to deny, justify, or otherwise cover up a mistake in practice.


  • Matt Dale, Principal Psychologist, Incorporate Psychology 


  • Sarah-Elke Kraal, Senior Professional Development Solicitor, Queensland Law Society


Stream 3B: Workshop

Workshop x Family dispute resolution 

A workshop designed around a real-life, high conflict scenario; role-played by two professional actors. 

You will watch and collaborate in real-time on the best way to prepare, conduct and debrief the parties in the context of family dispute resolution, and see the good, bad and ugly play out—right before your eyes.

Facilitated by preeminent experts in the field of collaborative practice and dispute resolution, and crafted to enhance your approach to resolving high-conflict, complex family disputes.


  • Dr Rachael Field, Professor of Law, Faculty of Law, Bond University; Co-Director, Dispute Resolution Centre, Bond University and Deputy Chair, Queensland Law Society Domestic and Family Violence Committee
  • Senior Judicial Registrar Anne-Marie Rice, Senior Judicial Registrar I Executive Director Dispute Resolution, Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia

Role players: 

  • Anke Joubert, Legal Assistant, Legal Policy, Queensland Law Society
  • Sharon Sangha, Professional Development Solicitor, Queensland Law Society


  • Susan De Campo, Director and Founder, LifeCare Consultancy, and Registered Counsellor



Stream 4

Stream 4A: Plenary

The ethics of influence x Family law

Like most things, influence exists on a spectrum; with the polar opposites of positive and negative balancing the beam.

But where is the line? 

Join a diverse, candid and insightful panel of the profession’s leaders for a discussion around the ethics of influence: both in the context of undue influence and unconscionability, and our own influence as trusted advisors.


  • The Honourable Colin Forrest SC, Barrister, Queensland Bar
  • Allison Caputo, Councillor, Queensland Law Society; Special Counsel, Barry.Nilsson Lawyers and Accredited Specialist (Family Law)
  • Trent Waller, Legal Director, Waller Family Lawyers; Accredited Specialist (Family Law) and Past President, Family Law Practitioners’ Association (Qld)


  • Stafford Shepherd, Principal Ethics and Practice Counsel, QLS Ethics and Practice Centre and Legal Practitioner Director, QLS Solicitor Support Pty Ltd, Queensland Law Society


Stream 4B: Workshop

Human Rights x Moot Court Conciliation 

In this interactive moot court-style session, you will explore what is involved in pursuing a claim for your family law client’s rights in the Human Rights jurisdiction.

This session will explore: 

  • why the Human Rights Act (Qld) might be relevant to your family law client in their interaction with Queensland public entities;
  • what practices and procedures and procedures have changed in intersecting, State-based agencies such as QPS and Child Safety;
  • practical advocacy tips;
  • basic etiquette you must observe as a solicitor advocate; and
  • the ethical issues you need to keep in mind.

You will also pick up a few practical insights into how the Human Rights Act has affected family law litigants, and how the practices of State-based agencies such as QPS and Child Safety have been impacted (if at all).


  • Tracey de Simone, Official Solicitor, Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women and Chair, Queensland Law Society Domestic and Family Violence Committee
  • Rebekah Leong, Principal Lawyer, Human Rights Commission


  • Cybele Koning, Chief Executive Officer, Caxton Legal Centre



Afternoon tea and exhibition


Case law quiz: The family edition

Unlike any case law update you have seen before, this ‘Rockwiz-style’ quiz is designed to highlight the most influential cases from the last 12 months—in the most entertaining way possible and compered by the incomparable Justice Catherine Carew!

Pitting two barristers against two solicitors, the aim of the game is to determine that age old question: who really knows more about the case law? 

Wrap up the day with a case roundup you will never forget, and see who reigns supreme—solicitors, or barristers! 



  • Lisa Lahey, Partner, HopgoodGanim
  • Craig Nicol, Director, Small Myers Hughes Lawyers; Accredited Specialist (Family Law) and Co-Author, The Family Law Book


  • Bruce Dodd, Barrister, Queensland Bar
  • Jane FitzGerald, Barrister, Queensland Bar 


  • The Honourable Justice Catherine Carew, Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1)



Closing remarks

Presenter: Elizabeth Shearer, President, Queensland Law Society; Legal Practitioner Director, Shearer Doyle and Chair, Queensland Law Society Access to Justice Pro Bono Law Committee



Practical Legal Ethics (PLE) Practice Management & Business Skills (PMBS)  Professional Skills (PS) Substantive Law (SL)