The role of the Executive
Promoting professional discussion and consultation, as well as preparing position papers and submissions on a range of matters affecting the family law jurisdiction. The Family Law Section has developed a reputation as a source of sound advice to those responsible for framing family law legislation and for determining policy and organising the administration of family law in Australia.
Developing and delivering quality continuing legal education on a national basis. This is considered important particularly given the history of the government and the courts making regular major changes to the areas of family law and child support.
Meeting on a regular basis with various government and other agencies. These meetings are an important part of the Executive's work and provide an opportunity for FLS to have input into a wide range of matters which affect family law in Australia. Such agencies include:
- The constituent bodies of the Law Council of Australia
- Family Law Practitioners' Associations
- The Attorney-General's Department
- The Family Law Council
- The Department of Human Services (Child Support)
- The Family Court's Rules Advisory Committee
- Combined Family Court and Federal Circuit Court working party on Self Represented Litigants
The FLS Executive consists of:
- One barrister and one solicitor from each of NSW, Victoria, and Queensland
- One practitioner from ACT, SA, WA, Tasmania, and NT (from 2016 election)
- The immediate past Chair of the Section Executive.
The members of the FLS Executive are elected every two years by members of the FLS, with the poll being declared at the FLS AGM.
The FLS Executive has a Chair, Deputy Chair, and Treasurer, elected by a majority vote of the Section Executive. The Executive is supported by a small team led by the Director.
The current members of the FLS Executive are:
Di Simpson (Chair)
Dobinson Davey Clifford Simpson
18 Kendall Lane
Canberra City ACT 2600
Telephone: (02) 6212 7600
Di joined the Section Executive as the Australian Capital Territory representative in November 2016 and was elected as Treasurer in December 2018. Di was elected as Deputy Chair of the Section in December 2020 and Chair in June 2021.
Di was admitted to practice in 1993, having completed a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws at the University of Melbourne. Di first worked in regional Victoria and Melbourne before moving to Canberra in 1998, where she continued to practise family law with a national firm.
In 2007 she was a founding partner of DDCS Lawyers.
Di is an Accredited Specialist and a highly regarded solicitor-advocate who undertakes pre-trial and trial work in the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court.
In Doyle's Guide to the Legal Profession, Di has been consistently regarded by her peers as a pre-eminent family lawyer in the ACT. Di is the only ACT family lawyer noted as a recommended family lawyer nationally.
She is a member of the Law Society's Legal Profession Act and Ethics Committee and a member of the Women Lawyer's Association of the ACT.
She regularly presents to students, lawyers, and other professionals about family law and professional development and is actively engaged in mentoring and supporting the development of young practitioners.
Jason Walker (Deputy Chair)
VICTORIAN SOLICITOR REPRESENTATIVE
Forté Family Lawyers
Level 2, 535 Bourke Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
Phone: (03) 9248 5800
Jason Walker joined the Section Executive as the Victorian Solicitor representative in December 2018 and was elected as Treasurer in December 2020 and Deputy Chair in June 2021.
Jason is a Partner at Gadens and has dual accreditation as a specialist in Family Law (2005) and as a specialist in Children’s Law (2012). His practice involves complex property and complex parenting disputes.
Jason has previously served as the Chair of the Family Law Section of the Law Institute of Victoria (LIV) and is a current member of the Executive of the LIV Family Law Section. He has also served on a number of LIV committees and was a founding member of the LIV Children’s Law Specialisation Advisory Committee, which is responsible for assessing and examining candidates for specialisation in Children’s Law.
Along with Wendy Kayler-Thomson, Jason was the co-convenor of the Family Law Section’s National Family Law Conference held in Melbourne 2016, the largest legal conference of any kind in Australia, attracting 1,100 registrants.
Jason’s is a Fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers.
Jason has regularly been named as a “Leading Victorian Family Lawyer” and “Leading Parenting & Children’s Matters Lawyer” in Victoria and in the annual publication of Doyle’s Guide.
Nicola Watts (Treasurer)
O'Sullivan Davies Lawyers
Level 27, 197 St Georges Terrace
Perth WA 6000
Phone: (08) 9426 4711
Nicola joined the Section Executive as the Western Australian representative in November 2016 and was elected Treasurer in June 2021. Nicola is the Chair of the Organising Committee for the FLS 20th National Family Law Conference to be held in Perth in October 2023.
Nicola completed a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws at the University of Tasmania and was admitted to practice in 1993, after completing articles in Hobart. After working in Launceston for several years, Nicola moved to Melbourne where she worked exclusively in family law between 1997 and 2013.
Whilst in Victoria, Nicola trained as a Mediator and Collaborative Lawyer. Since moving to Perth she has also trained as an Arbitrator. From 1995 to 2018 Nicola acted as Independent Children's Lawyer in Tasmania, Victoria, and Western Australia. In 2011 Nicola was made Citizen of the Year by the City of Stonnington for her service to youth. She has been recognised by Doyle's Guide as a Leading Parenting & Children's Matters Lawyer in Western Australia.
Nicola moved to Western Australia in June 2013 and joined O'Sullivan Davies in July 2018 and was made a partner in January 2020. O'Sullivan Davies has been listed as a First Tier Family Law firm in Doyle's Guide each year since 2012 and is the only nationally recognised Western Australia firm. It has a long history of supporting FLS with 3 partners acting as WA Representative, and as a major sponsor at National Conferences for many years.
Nicola is also a member of the Board of the Australian Institute of Family Law Arbitrators and Mediators (AIFLAM) and sits as FLS Representative on the Council of the Family Law Practitioners Association of Western Australia (FLPA). Nicola also sits on the Law Society of Western Australia's Ethics and Professional Standards Scheme sub-committees and the Legal aid WA Review Committee.
Paul Doolan (Immediate Past Chair)
NSW SOLICITOR REPRESENTATIVE
Barkus Doolan Family Lawyers
Level 9, 370 Pitt St
Sydney NSW 2000
Phone:(02) 9265 0111
Paul is a partner of Barkus Doolan Family Lawyers in Sydney and has been the NSW Solicitor Representative on the Family Law Section Executive since 2010. After serving as Deputy Chair since February 2016, he was elected Chair in December 2018.
In 2015, Doyle's Guide to the Australian Legal Profession rated Paul Doolan as the Market Leader of all Australian family lawyers and in 2016 as one of the pre-eminent lawyers in the country. The firm of Barkus Doolan was rated in both 2015 and 2016 as one of a select group of Tier 1 family law firms across Australia.
Paul was the first Legal Associate to Justice Lindenmayer in the Appeal Division of the Family Court and admitted to practice as a Solicitor in 1995. After working with Hunt & Hunt Lawyers in Brisbane in corporate, tax, and family law areas, he joined a Sydney practice in 1998 and made Partner the following year. He holds a Master of Laws degree and is an accredited family law specialist.
Paul is a member of the Editorial Board of the Australian Journal of Family Law, a Fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers, a former Director of the Australian Institute of Family Law Arbitrators and Mediators, and a member of the Family Law Issues Committee of the Law Society of NSW.
Paul has presented or published over 60 papers on family law. These include parenting issues such as the unacceptable risk test and the court's approach to interim parenting disputes, together with financial matters such as the taxation aspects of family law settlements, the impact of bankruptcy in family cases, the approach in superannuation cases, the resolution of big money financial disputes and problems surrounding Financial Agreements.
NSW SOLICITOR REPRESENTATIVE
Broun Abrahams Burreket
Level 23, 66 Goulburn Street, Sydney 3000
Telephone: (02) 8268 8700
Jamie is the Managing Director of Broun Abrahams Burreket Family Lawyers, one of Sydney's largest boutique Family Law firms. He is an accredited specialist in Family Law in NSW and has consistently been ranked by his peers in the Doyle's Guide as Preeminent both Nationally and in New South Wales. Jamie's practice, like most Family Lawyers, spans both financial and parenting matters but he has developed a specialty in the more complex issues that arise like challenges to Binding Financial Agreements, jurisdictional choices, opposition to single expert evidence, claims in equity, and the intersection of tax planning an property settlement.
He is a member of the Family Law Issues Committee of the NSW Law Society, the Australian Institue of Company Directors, the Australian Association of Collaborative Professionals, and the International Academy of Family Lawyers. Jamie regularly speaks at State and National Conferences and has presented overseas on complex Family Law issues to other Family Law experts. He authors articles and presentations in Family Law annually. He was a member of the organising committee for Sydney's National Family Law Section Conference and has contributed to submissions made by the Family Law Section on law reform in recent years.
VICTORIAN BAR REPRESENTATIVE
Foley's List, Owen Dixon Chambers East
205 William Street, Melbourne, 3000
Telephone: (03) 9225 6214
Alison Burt joined the Victorian Bar in 2015 after twenty years of experience as a solicitor in England. Her practice there consisted exclusively of family matters. In 2010 she was appointed as Deputy District Judge with broad civil jurisdiction.
Alison practices in all areas of family law, with a particular interest in complex and international parenting disputes. She is a nationally qualified mediator and regularly writes and presents on family law issues.She is the Secretary of the Victorian Family Law Bar Association and a member of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts and the Australian Institute of Family Arbitrators and Mediators.
QUEENSLAND SOLICITOR REPRESENTATIVE
McCarthy Durie Lawyers
Phone: (03) 3370 5100
Jasmine is an Associate at McCarthy Durie Lawyers and was elected to the Family Law Section Executive as the Queensland Solicitor representative in December 2020.
Jasmine was admitted to practice in 2016 and has worked exclusively in Family Law since 2017, starting her career as a Legal Associate in the Family Court of Australia in Sydney to Deputy Chief Justice McClelland and Justice Stevenson.
Jasmine’s practice involves complex parenting, property, and domestic violence matters. Jasmine has a particular interest in complex parenting matters.
Since 2019, Jasmine has presented at Griffith University on Domestic and Family Violence and Family Law. Jasmine has a strong interest in educating students and lawyers on topical issues involving family law.
Jasmine is a member of the Queensland Law Society, the Family Law Practitioners Association, and Queensland Young Lawyers.
SOUTH AUSTRALIAN REPRESENTATIVE
Level 9, 111 Gawler Place
Adelaide SA 5000
Phone: (08) 8232 8422
Greg has been a member of the Executive since November 2008. He is a director of the firm Howe Jenkin, a specialist family law firm in the Adelaide CBD, and is a senior Adelaide family law practitioner with over 38 years of experience. He has acted primarily in financial matters and has particular experience in those matters involving companies, businesses, and trusts and more complex financial issues including property disputes in de facto relationships.
Greg is also a fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers (IAFL) and is one of only three practitioners in South Australia who are members of IAFL. In April 2008, Greg chaired the Organising Committee for the successful 13th National Family Law Conference held in Adelaide.
Michael Kearney SC
NSW BARRISTER REPRESENTATIVE
Level 16, 175 Liverpool Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Phone: (02) 9264 8444
Michael Kearney SC joined the Section Executive as the New South Wales Barrister representative in December 2011. He was elected Treasurer in November 2012 and was elected as Deputy Chair from December 2018 to December 2020. Michael was Co-Chair of the National Family Law Conference in Sydney in 2014, has also been a member of the organising committee for the National Conference in 2000.
Michael was admitted to the NSW Bar in January 2000 and took silk in 2012. Since admission as a legal practitioner in 1994, he has practised predominantly in the family law area.
Michael is a Fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers, a Member of the New South Wales Bar Association, and of its' Professional Conduct and Family Law Committees. He has previously held positions as Appeals Editor of the Australian Family Lawyer and as a Casenote Editor of the CCH publication ‘Current Family Law'.
The majority of Michael's practice is in the area of family law, encompassing all issues including complex financial and parenting disputes. Michael has a particular specialty in appellate work in the Full Court of the Family Court of Australia throughout the Eastern States and has also appeared in the NSW Court of Appeal and High Court of Australia.
Ogilvie Jennings Lawyers
Level 4, 39 Murray Street
Hobart TAS 7001
Telephone: (03) 6235 0800
Trevor joined the Section Executive as the Tasmanian representative in June 2021.
Trevor has practised in family law since 2008 in Tasmania and for several years in both Sydney and Perth. He regularly appears as an advocate and counsel in courts and tribunals both at first instance and appellate levels.
He is a senior associate at Ogilvie Jennings (Doyle's Guide Tier 1 family law firm in Tasmania). He has appeared in Doyle's Guide for Tasmania in recent years including 2021.
Beyond his family law practice, Trevor provides advice and conducts disciplinary litigation under the Legal Profession Act.
Trevor is the current President of the Law Society of Tasmania and a chair or member of several committees and bodies including the Law Foundation of Tasmania.
He is currently a lecturer in Family Law Practice and Procedure, Tasmanian Legal Practice Course, and former Unit Coordinator and Lecturer in Charge of the University of Tasmania's Master of Profession Accounting Program.
Formerly a contribution editor and case note writer for the Family Law Review and author of the Lawyers Practice Manual WA, Trevor regularly presents and publishes papers on family law and areas that insect with it.
Northern Territory Legal Aid Commission
Telephone: (08) 8999 3000
Aditi is the deputy of the Family Law Division, NT Legal Aid Commission which assists vulnerable clients with their family law and child protection matters. She is a solicitor advocate and Independent Children’s Lawyer who will shortly apply for registration as a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner and assist parties to negotiate their disputes at legal aid family law conferences.
She has volunteered with a number of organisations, including recently with the Law Society of Northern Territory’s Family Law Committee and its Royal Commission Response Sub-Committee. Aditi looks forward to continuing the work of her NT representative predecessor in advocating for issues important to the membership base and supporting the next generation of family lawyers to join and engage with the Family Law Section.
Sydney Williams QC
QUEENSLAND BARRISTER REPRESENTATIVE
Level 9, Inns of Court,
107 North Quay,
Brisbane QLD 4000
Sydney Williams QC was admitted to the Qld Bar in 2004 and took silk in 2018. Family law has been a predominant area of practice throughout his career, with a particular focus on financial cases involving significant asset pools and complex company, trust, partnership, and valuation issues, and also complex parenting matters.
Sydney is the Chair of the Queensland Bar Association’s Family Law Committee, and also an accredited Arbitrator. He regularly presents papers throughout Australia on family law issues. He was appointed as Queensland Bar Representative to the Executive of the Family Law Section of the Law Council in January 2020. He has appeared in the High Court of Australia, and the appellate divisions of the Family Court of Australia and various State and Territory Courts.