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Law Council of Australia


18th biennial National Family Law Conference

18 October 2018

The Family Law Section recently held its flagship event, the 18th National Family Law Conference from 2 – 5 October 2018 in Brisbane. The conference is the largest regularly held legal professional development event in the southern hemisphere, and this year attracted over 940 delegates, for an engaging and innovative three day program featuring an outstanding array of keynote speakers from around Australia and overseas.

Highlights included State of the Nation presentations from the Hon Christian Porter MP, Attorney-General of Australia, the Hon Justice John Pascoe AC CVO, Chief Justice, Family Court of Australia and the Hon Will Alstergen, Chief Judge, Federal Circuit Court of Australia. Bret Walker SC, NSW Bar delivered the Peter Nygh Memorial Lecture on the topic “Choice of Law Rules in Family Law”.

Delegates also heard from Diahann Gordon Harrison, Children’s Advocate of Jamaica and Professor Marilyn Freeman, University of Westminster, UK.

A specially designed one-day program for junior lawyers was also run on the final day. Social events were also an integral part of the conference program, providing delegates with many opportunities to network and catch up with friends and colleagues.

The social program commenced with a Welcome Reception at the spectacular Gallery of Modern Art in the heart of Brisbane’s cultural precinct, and included the Chair’s Lunch which featured a lively discussion on the topic of “The Politics of Families and Family Law” with Amanda Vanstone, former Family and Community Services Minister and Minister for Justice in the Howard Government, and Annabel Crabb, political journalist, author and ABC presenter.

The conference concluded with the Gala Dinner “Botanica”. The Plaza Ballroom of the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre was transformed into a glamorous world of greenery, bringing the conference to a close with amazing surrounds, food, wine and entertainment.

The 20th National Family Law Conference will be held in Adelaide from 27-30 October 2020, and delegates were encouraged to save the date now for what promises to be yet another outstanding conference, with international keynote speakers already confirmed.



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