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Michael Taussig QC Family Law Award

Scholarships & Awards

Michael Taussig QC Family Law Award

The Michael Taussig QC Family Law Award commemorates the life and contributions of Michael Taussig QC, one of the Section’s most outstanding members.

The Award is presented biennially at the National Family Law Conference.

Applications for the 2024 Michael Taussig QC Family Law Award are now open to Junior Lawyers (0 - 4 years post-admission)! 

Michael Taussig QC


Michael Taussig was there in 1976 when the Family Law Act started and was involved in many leading cases which developed its jurisprudence. Michael was a solicitor and one of the very few in Victoria ever to have been awarded the title of the Queens Council even though he did not practice at the bar. He was a brave warrior during his many years of service on the executive of the Family Law Section, including as chair for four years.Few people who were at the Section’s 1998 National Conference in Hobart will forget Michael’s State of the Nation speech when, in the presence of the then Commonwealth Attorney-General, and using PowerPoint, he rated the Attorney’s performance 1 1/2 out of 10 measured against the 10 promises made some years earlier in the Attorney’s National Press Club speech on family law. Many promised reforms happened after that. Michael was passionate, brilliant, meticulously prepared, thoughtful, modest, courteous and always punctual. Michael was the very model of a modern family lawyer.

Judging Panel

The judges will be looking for original analysis and a justifiable conclusion. The essay should reveal the path by which the conclusion was reached.


Martin Bartfeld AM QC
Ian Kennedy AM
Martin Bartfeld AM QC

Martin graduated from Monash University with a B. Juris., LLB. in 1973. He was admitted to practice in Victoria in 1974 and commenced to practise as a solicitor in 1975 until signing the Roll of Counsel in 1986. He was admitted to practise as a barrister in New South Wales in 1987. He was appointed as a Queens Counsel in Victoria in 1998. He qualified as a Family Law Arbitrator in 1998.

He practises in Family Law and Domestic Relationships matters in the Family Law Courts and in the Supreme Courts of the States and Territories. He is an arbitrator and also conducts mediations.

He was the chairman of the Family Law Section of the Law Institute of Victoria from 1983 to 1985. He was a member of the executive of the Family Law Section of the Law Council of Australia between 2000 and 2012. He was chairman of the Family Law Section in 2005.

He was awarded an AM in the 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Ian Kennedy AM

Ian is Senior Partner of Kennedy Partners. He has an extensive and highly-regarded national and international family law practice, primarily in major financial cases and difficult multi-jurisdictional matters. Ian has been recognised in Doyle’s Guide and Legal Profiles for his expertise in handling complex matters, with his position as “Australia’s best” in cross-border matters “widely noted”.

Ian’s outstanding contributions to the law, legal education and national and international professional organisations have been recognised by appointment as a member of the Order of Australia (AM) and numerous awards including the Law Council of Australia President’s Medal and Life Membership of the LCA Family Law Section.

Ian served as President of the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers from 2008 to 2010 and Chair of the Family Law Section of the Law Council of Australia from 2005 to 2008. He was Editor of Australian Family Lawyer from 1988 to 2016 and is a former Executive Member of the International Bar Association Family Law Committee.

Jason Walker Headshot Colour
Laura Johnston 014 1
Jason Walker

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 Forté Family Lawyers and is an Accredited Specialist in Family Law (2005). 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.

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 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.

Laura Johnston

Laura specialises in family law and has practised exclusively in the area since coming to the bar in 2016. Laura is a nationally accredited Mediator and Arbitrator.

Prior to coming to the bar, Laura worked as a solicitor where she had the carriage of complex family law matters. She also previously worked as Legal Associate for Her Excellency the Honourable Linda Dessau AM and the Honourable Peter Young QC, at the Family Court of Australia (as it was then known).

Laura is consistently recognised by Doyle’s Guide as a leading family law barrister, both in Victoria and Australia. In the 2023 Doyle’s Guide, Laura was listed as one of:

Laura regularly presents papers and speaks on family law topics. She graduated from Melbourne University with First Class Honours. She was awarded the Wright Prize, as the top ranked student in family law.




Apply Now


Start time: Submissions open now!
End time: Submissions close 1 July 2024


The Award will be presented at the 20th National Family Law Conference in Perth


Family Law Section

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Family Law Section

The Family Law Section Host many events Australia-wide.