Queensland Law Society

Annual Gold Coast Legal Conference

Friday 11 June 2021, 8.20am–6.45pm 
The Star Gold Coast, Broadbeach | 7 CPD + networking

Mark your calendar as busy on the 11th of June, and look forward to connecting with your local professional network. 

Featuring over 15 expert presenters, there are 11 sessions, 2.5 hours of face-to-face networking and 7 CPD points available—making this annual conference not to be missed!

The program will explore the practise issues, challenges and latest developments relevant to your region. We are honoured to welcome an impressive line-up of presenters from the judiciary, private Bar and practice including keynote speaker Dr Jacoba Brasch QC, President, Law Council of Australia to deliver this program.

View full program below.


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Registrations have closed. Please contact Events Management on 07 3842 5806 or events@qls.com.au with any queries.



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Welcome remarks

Elizabeth Shearer, President, Queensland Law Society; Legal Practitioner Director, Shearer Doyle and Chair, Queensland Law Society Access to Justice Pro Bono Law Committee
Mia Behlau, President, Gold Coast District Law Association; Partner, Stone Group Lawyers


Opening address

Honourable Shannon Fentiman MP, Member for Waterford, Attorney-General, Minister for Justice, Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Ministerial Champion for the Torres Strait
Elizabeth Shearer, President, Queensland Law Society; Legal Practitioner Director, Shearer Doyle and Chair, Queensland Law Society Access to Justice Pro Bono Law Committee


Ethics fundamentals: strong foundations in a changing world

In a world being changed by technological innovation, virus outbreaks and disruptive business models, fundamental ethical duties remain relevant and the best path to a successful and responsible practice. Join Shane Budden as he examines the practical application of fundamental ethical duties to the evolving practice of law.

Shane Budden, Special Counsel, QLS Ethics and Practice Centre, Queensland Law Society
Mia Behlau, President, Gold Coast District Law Association; Partner, Stone Group Lawyers

Proud Partner:


Morning tea


Stream 1A

Anti-money laundering: your obligations when dealing with money

Hear from our expert presenter, Ronald Behlau as he shares insights into:

  • lawyers legal & ethical obligations when dealing with money, imposed by the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism legislation in particular, examining the provenance of funds before accepting them into a firm’s trust account.
  • the importance of knowing who your client is and how to examine the legitimacy of the person/entity you are dealing with.
  • the possible criminal penalties that lawyers may be exposed to.
  • some practical examples of money laundering and appropriate responses to deal with client or colleagues behaviours and influence.
Ronald Behlau, Partner, Behlau Murakami Grant Lawyers
Erin Mitchell, Director, Potts Lawyers

Stream 1B

Cyber crime: emerging themes 2021

The impact of cyber enabled crime has increased significantly in 2020-2021. Techniques once used against embassies and multinational companies are now routinely deployed against small business. To encounter the increased threat, firms must improve defences to protect your client’s data and your firm’s reputation. Join David Bowles for a summary of the emerging threats and some cost effective ways to counter them.

David Bowles, Special Counsel, QLS Ethics and Practice Centre, Queensland Law Society
Xanthe Cushing, Manager, Professional Development, Queensland Law Society

Proud Partner:
Migration Manager


Stream 2A

Abusive head trauma: a literature based field of expert evidence – forensic choices and considerations for the Defence case

This session will be a reflection on R v Baxter [2021] QSC 70.

Mr Baxter was charged with the murder/manslaughter of his six week old son, based almost exclusively on expert evidence.

The literature grounding the expert evidence in this field is fraught with controversy and the distinction between independent expert and advocate in this emotionally charged area, where medicine and law intersect, is not easy to distinguish.

This case study will explore the difficult forensic considerations for the conduct of a Defence case in this setting and illustrates how expert opinion evidence may be successfully challenged.

Lincoln Crowley QC, Barrister, Queensland Bar
Matt Jackson, Barrister, Queensland Bar
Anna Morgan, Practice Leader & Special Counsel, Evolve Legal

Stream 2B

Defamation (Model Provisions) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2021: what you need to know about the proposed amendments

On 20 April 2021, Queensland’s Attorney-General introduced the Defamation (Model Provisions) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2021. The Bill gives effect to the first stage of the former Council of Attorneys-General approved amendments to Australia's Model Defamation Provisions and is expected to commence on 1 July 2021.

Join our panel for an informative discussion as they review the critical reforms introduced by the Bill including:

  • a serious harm threshold as an element to the cause of action in defamation;
  • mandatory concerns notices prior to the commencement of any proceedings;
  • a single publication rule;
  • two new defences, including a much debated public interest defence and a defence applying to peer-reviewed statements/assessments in a scientific or academic journal; and
  • clarification around the cap on damages for non-economic loss, setting the upper limit on a scale and applying that regardless of whether aggravated damages apply.
Patrick McCafferty QC, Barrister, Queensland Bar
Hamish Clift, Barrister, Queensland Bar
Sophie Robertson, Senior Associate, Bartley Cohen
Mia Behlau, President, Gold Coast District Law Association; Partner, Stone Group Lawyers




Stream 3A

First Nations: Cultural awareness

Join QLS Cultural Coordinator, Joshua Apanui, as he provides an overview of the development of the Cultural Outreach Strategy, barriers that may hinder First Nations in the legal profession and a snapshot of what will be included in the Cultural Competencies course currently being developed by QLS Cultural Consultant, Paul Paulson.

Joshua will address two topics for discussion:

  • The current climate of culture and where are we positioned; and
  • The recent road to Constitutional reform, with the overwhelming need for the support of the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
Joshua Apanui, QLS Cultural Coordinator, Queensland Law Society
Dean Evans, Partner, Evans Brandon Lawyers

Stream 3B

Succession Law and the Human Rights Act

Dr John de Groot, Special Counsel, de Groots Wills & Estates Lawyers
Michele Davis, Principal Lawyer & Director of Michele Davis Estate Law, President of the Logan & Scenic Rim Law Association Inc and Adjunct Lecturer & Practice Area Leader (Wills & Estates and Estate Planning), College of Law


Stream 4A

Wolves in sheep's clothing…from gladiator to negotiator

The role of an advocate in mediation is that of a problem solver. It requires an ability to communicate skilfully with lawyers and parties alike.

Mediation skills training is now entrenched in the curriculum of many law schools but, notwithstanding mainstream acceptance of mediation as part of a lawyer’s practice, there are some practitioners and, of course, clients who query why lawyers are involved at all.

Our presenter Dougals Murphy QC will explain how and why advocacy in mediation should, by necessity, be completely different from advocacy in traditional adversarial litigation.

Douglas Murphy QC, Barrister, Queensland Bar
Joelene Nel, Associate Director, McLaughlins Lawyers

Proud Partner:

Stream 4B

Strata Scheme Termination: Queensland - It’s time to turn and face the strange (with changes)

Bryce Melville, Partner, Minter Ellison

When is it reasonable to be unreasonable? The general law and statutory standards applying in Body Corporate law and to commercial parties vested with power to exercise contractual discretions

Peter Roney QC, Barrister, Queensland Bar
Rukshana Sashankan, Executive Manager, PEXA

Proud Partner:


Afternoon Tea


Access to justice: meeting the need of the ‘missing middle’

There is a significant gap in Australia’s justice framework which has meant that a group of Australians, the so-called ‘missing middle’, are often left without an avenue to access legal advice or representation. Those in the missing middle are usually low-to-medium income earners who do not meet legal aid means tests, older Australians and those living in rural, regional and remote Australia. While community legal centres and pro bono services are critical in responding to the needs of the missing middle, these are finite resources and unable to adequately keep pace with the increasing demand.

Hear directly from Dr Jacoba Brasch, President Law Council of Australia as she shares some strategic thinking around the Law Council of Australia’s commitment to addressing this issue and how the legal profession can respond innovatively to meet the needs of the missing middle, including:

  • the development and expansion of innovative business models such as ‘unbundled’ and ‘low-bono’ services.
  • alternative approaches to providing legal support such as ‘joined-up services’ and online assistance.
  • new ways of funding legal support, such as legal expense insurance and third-party funding.
  • the financial, technological and regulatory challenges of new and innovative approaches.
Dr Jacoba Brasch QC, President, Law Council of Australia
Simone Fraser, Barrister, Queensland Bar


Shaping the culture: sexual harassment

We are all aware that there have been numerous surveys, high profile incidents and, of course, significant media attention across Australia that relate to bullying, sexual harassment and discrimination in the legal profession.

Join Queensland Law Society expert facilitators in this Australian first legal industry workshop as they shed light on the cultural traits that can lead to poor workplace behaviours and offer practical guidance on building a culture that embeds model behaviour, being an active bystander and responding to a complaint.

Sandra Pepper, Head of Education, Queensland Law Society
Lauren Phelps, Legal Workplace and Culture Consultant, Queensland Law Society
Rolf Moses, Chief Executive Officer, Queensland Law Society


Closing remarks

Elizabeth Shearer, President, Queensland Law Society; Legal Practitioner Director, Shearer Doyle and Chair, Queensland Law Society Access to Justice Pro Bono Law Committee
Mia Behlau, President, Gold Coast District Law Association; Partner, Stone Group Lawyers


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