Plenary Speakers

  • Demetrio Zema

    Demetrio Zema

    Demetrio is the founder and director of Law Squared, a NewLaw firm specialising in working with Australia’s leading disruptive businesses, corporates, ASX listed entities and multi-national clients. Founded in 2016, Law Squared has grown rapidly to become ‘Australia’s most innovative law firm’ and become a leader in NewLaw and legal innovation. With offices in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, Law Squared have launched their London office in July 2022 to support Australian and UK businesses in both jurisdictions.

    An accomplished entrepreneur and lawyer having worked with many listed, large unlisted, NFP’s and venture capital funds, Demetrio is focused on providing a true alternative to the traditional law firm model. By focusing on outcomes and culture, and dispensing with hierarchy and time based performance metrics, Demetrio has led Law Squared to the growth it has achieved today. Aside from working closely with his team in building the Law Squared brand and client service delivery, Demetrio has extensive experience in board governance, strategic advisory and business advisory work, supporting many Chairs, CEO’s and General Counsel’s across the Law Squared client base.

    Leading a globally recognised NewLaw firm, Demetrio has received numerous awards and recognitions for the growth, impact and innovation Law Squared has achieved since its launch in 2016. Outside of law and entrepreneurship, Demetrio plays an active part in the not-for-profit community and is currently Chair of the Board of the Victorian Deaf Society Ltd (Expression Australia) and director of The Pride Fund Ltd. Demetrio also plays an active role as director of Zema Estate a wine and agricultural business located in Coonawarra, South Australia.

  • Dr Karl Kruszelnicki AM

    Dr Karl Kruszelnicki AM

    Dr Karl Kruszelnicki AM just loves science to pieces, and has been spreading the word in print, on TV and radio, and online via social media for more than thirty years. The author of 47 books (and counting) Dr Karl is a lifetime student with degrees in physics and mathematics, biomedical engineering and medicine and surgery. 


    He has worked as a physicist, labourer, roadie for bands, car mechanic, filmmaker, biomedical engineer, taxi driver, TV weatherman, and medical doctor at the Children’s Hospital in Sydney. Since 1995, Dr Karl has been the Julius Sumner Miller Fellow at the University of Sydney. 


    In 2019 he was awarded the UNESCO Kalinga Prize for the Popularisation of Science, of which previous recipients include Margaret Mead, David Attenborough, Bertrand Russell and David Suzuki.

  • Hon. Deputy Chief Justice McClelland

    Hon. Deputy Chief Justice McClelland

    The Honourable Deputy Chief Justice Robert McClelland AO was appointed as a judge of the Family Court of Australia in June 2015 and appointed Deputy Chief Justice in December 2018.

    His Honour holds a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws from the University of New South Wales and a Master of Laws from the University of Sydney. He is a Visiting Fellow at the University of New South Wales. He was admitted to the Supreme Court of New South Wales as a solicitor in 1982 and commenced working as an associate to Evatt J in the Federal Court of Australia. He has practised as a solicitor and barrister. His Honour was elected to Federal Parliament in 1996 as the Member for Barton and served as Commonwealth Attorney-General between 2007 and 2011. During that time he introduced amendments to the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) in respect to family violence and also in respect to de facto couples.

    His Honour was appointed as Chair of the Family Law Council in December 2021 and an Officer (AO) in the General Division of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to the people and Parliament of Australia, to the law, social justice and law reform in June 2022.

  • Justice Catherine Carew - Profile Image Coming Soon

    Justice Catherine Carew

    Justice Catherine Carew

    The Honourable Justice Catherine Carew was first admitted to practice as a solicitor in 1981 in Queensland and as a solicitor and barrister in Victoria in 1983. Her Honour was called to the Queensland Bar in 1992 where her Honour practised in all jurisdictions. In later years her Honour specialised in family law appearing in both the trial and appellate divisions. In 2013 her Honour was appointed Queen’s Counsel. Prior to her appointment to the Family Court of Australia (now known as the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia Division 1) in March 2016 her Honour was also an accredited mediator and arbitrator.

  • Karen Oakley

    Karen Oakley

    Prior to coming to the Bar, Karen was admitted as a solicitor in 1995 and worked exclusively in the Family Law jurisdiction in the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales and Queensland.

    Karen appears in all aspects of Family Law, including appeals, complex parenting and property matters, Magellan trials, international relocations, Hague proceedings; including as Counsel for parties, intervenors and Independent Children’s Lawyers.

  • Kylie Heenan

    Kylie Heenan
    Family Counsellor & Clinical Supervisor

    Kylie Heenan (BSocSc, MCouns) is a registered counsellor and clinical supervisor in Redcliffe, working with individuals, couples and families across a broad range of challenges including separation, domestic violence, family reunification and mental wellbeing. Kylie has been requested to provide reportable family counselling in custody cases and has helped many women safely escape abusive relationships. Kylie is also trained in men’s behaviour change. Her self-care routine includes practising yoga, walking by the beach, cat cuddles and the newly discovered joy of infrared sauna! 

  • Leah Walsh - Profile Image Coming Soon

    Leah Walsh

    Leah Walsh

    Acting Sergeant Leah Walsh is currently working as the Mental Health Intervention Coordinator for the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital.  She has been an operational police officer for 16 years predominately located at Fortitude Valley Police Station as the Domestic and Family Violence Liaison Officer and relieved as a Domestic and Family Violence Coordinator for periods totalling around 10 years.  In 2018 Acting Sergeant Walsh completed the Post Graduate Certificate in Domestic Violence with QUT.  Further, training with the RBWH in Trauma Informed Care;  Mental Health First Aid Australia in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health First Aid;  Non-Lethal Strangulation Training through the Red Rose Foundation and Safe and Together Model CARE Training hosted by Child Safety, Youth and Women.

  • Leyton Cronk

    Leyton Cronk

    Leyton is a Legal Risk solicitor at Lexon Insurance. He reviews and analyses claims made against the legal profession, assists in the development of risk management tools and publications, and presents Lexon’s Risk workshop series for insured practices. Prior to joining Lexon, Leyton practiced extensively in large international practices, with a particular focus on financial services, litigation and restructuring.

  • Megan Thornton - Profile Image Coming Soon

    Megan Thornton

    Megan Thornton

    Constable Meg Thornton is currently serving police officer working substantively at the Fortitude Valley Police Station. She has worked operationally for over 6 years spending time within the Child Protection Unit, Youth Response team, working collaboratively with Youth Justice and further within the Domestic Violence Unit. Con Thornton has had personal involvement within cultural communities abroad and within Australia personally applying it to work to advocate positivity for young children and to further deter from criminal behaviour. 

Concurrent Session Speakers

  • Anne-Marie Rice

    Anne-Marie Rice
    Senior Judicial Registrar Anne-Marie Rice - Executive Director Registrar Family Law Practice and Dispute Resolution

    Senior Judicial Registrar Anne-Marie Rice is a multi-award winning lawyer, Accredited Family Law Specialist, Accredited Mediator and Arbitrator and Registered FDRP. Senior Judicial Registrar Rice began her career as a Legal Associate in the Family Court in 1998 and has been a prior executive member of the Family Law Section of the Law Council of Australia, a former member of various Queensland Law Society Committees including the Specialist Accreditation committee and a past FLPA (Qld) vice-president. She joined the Courts in July 2020 and, as a senior member of the leadership team, is responsible for the expansion of the Court’s dispute resolution programs and Registrar work practices.

    Anne-Marie has been delivering local, national and international key note addresses, conference papers and workshops for lawyers and non-lawyers for 20 years. She has a philosophy that “conflict can be resolved without combat” and her acceptance speech after being named the 2018 WLAQ Woman Lawyer of the Year, in which she spoke of the exhaustion of a singularly aggressive approach to legal practice, became an industry and social media sensation. Anne-Marie taught the undergraduate Family Law subject at the University of Queensland for many years prior to joining the Court and she continues to teach the post graduate Mediation and Conflict Management Course at that university.

  • Bruce Thiele

    Bruce Thiele
    Senior Judicial Registrar, Federal Circuit & Family Court of Australia

    Senior Judicial Registrar Bruce Thiele embarked upon a career in law in 1991 with articles of clerkship on the Sunshine Coast, was admitted as a solicitor in 1995, and commenced his firm in 1997.

    He became a Family Law Accredited Specialist in 1999, a qualified mediator in 2004, and was called to the Queensland bar on 23 March 2006, practising exclusively in family and child protection jurisdictions.

    Senior Judicial Registrar Thiele’s Nationally Accredited Mediator and FDR certifications were obtained in 2009, followed by AIFLAM accreditation as a Family Law Arbitrator in 2015.

    On 17 January 2022, he was appointed as a Senior Judicial Registrar of the Federal Circuit & Family Court of Australia.

  • Christine Oliver

    Christine Oliver

    Christine is the leader of KPMG Australia's Dispute Advisory practice and Chair of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand's Forensic Accounting Committee. Christine regularly gives advice in securities class actions and directors' duties litigation.

  • Craig Coulsen

    Craig Coulsen

    Counsel appearing regularly in most jurisdictions including the Family Law jurisdiction in matters involving complex company and trust issues as well as third party rights.

  • Craig Nicol

    Craig Nicol

    Craig is a director at Small Myers Hughes Lawyers on the Gold Coast.

    An accredited specialist in family law, Craig was awarded the program’s highest achiever in 2015 as "a recognition of his true level of expertise in this area."

    He is also a co-author and director of the national family law publication, The Family Law Book. Now in its 13th year, the service provides succinct, up to the minute law and commentary; monthly notable case summaries; precedents; and access to the renowned legal help line panel, where Craig and his colleagues provide tailored, interactive guidance to subscribers.

  • Geoff Duffield

    Geoff Duffield

    Geoff joined Acumentis (then Taylor Byrne ) in 1996 becoming  National Residential Director in 2007 and now holds the position of Director – Family Law and Advisory. Geoff has over 26+ years’ experience in all facets of residential valuation, including completing litigation and family law matters over a period of 20 years. Geoff has appeared as an Expert Witness in the Family Law Court, District Court and Federal Magistrates Court and currently leads the Family Law Specialist Valuation team for Acumentis South East Queensland with a mentoring role across the National Group.

    Geoff specializes in the valuation of prestige residential properties throughout Brisbane and surrounds. He is also a past member of the Australian Property Industry Residential sub-committee, helping to formulate policies for the valuation industry and presents industry and market insight at nationwide professional conferences.

  • James Linklater-Steele

    James Linklater-Steele

    James Linklater-Steele is a barrister in private practice in Brisbane.  He commenced practice at the private Bar in 1993. 

    He has presented several papers for LexisNexis on a variety of topics. He is a regular seminar presenter in relation to matters touching on court craft, evidence and advocacy, including as a trainer in advocacy workshops particularly in relation to cross-examination, such as Justice Murphy’s “Barristers and Psychiatrists” – 2 day Advocacy Workshop.

    He has presented a number of seminars on witness preparation and is conjunction with the Women’s Legal Service providing training on “giving evidence” to a variety of community support and government counselling organisations.

    He holds the record for the longest children’s trial in Queensland, a Magellan trial which lasted fifty days.

    He is the only person to successfully put on a puppet show at Queensland Law Society Family Law Residential and is the only person to his knowledge who has been able to convince Federal Magistrate Baumann (as his Honour then was) to make findings in relation to a Hermit Crab under s 60CC.

    Consistently rated as taller than MacGregor and better looking than Jordan in Doyle’s Guide each year.

  • Jason Bettles

    Jason Bettles

    Jason is a Registered Liquidator, Chartered Accountant (CA ANZ), and a professional member of the Australian Restructuring Insolvency & Turnaround Association. He has worked exclusively in the field of insolvency since 1995, and been with the Worrells family since 2004.

    Jason has experience in all forms of corporate and personal insolvency matters. He has provided recommendations on the most appropriate solutions to deal with insolvency issues to all types of parties. Jason's knowledge and experience allows him to consider informal arrangements to solve insolvency problems, as well as the formal insolvency administrations.

  • Jennifer Veitch

    Jennifer Veitch

    Jennifer Veitch is a Partner at Pilot. Jennifer helps lawyers and their clients solve the accounting issues in their legal proceedings. She explains in simple terms what a business is worth, and provides valuations for matrimonial purposes, loss due to a personal injury, negligent act or contractual breach, and acts as an Expert Witness.

  • Judge Amanda Tonkin

    Judge Amanda Tonkin

    Judge Tonkin was admitted as a Barrister to the Supreme Court (NSW) in September 1991 (now 31 years ago) and has practised continually since that time. Prior to admission she held the position of Assistant Parliamentary Counsel drafting legislation. She was appointed a Prosecutor initially with the Commonwealth D.P.P. transitioning to the A.C.T. when the Territory achieved self- government. During her time as a Prosecutor she conducted numerous Prosecutions in both the Magistrates and Supreme Court (A.C.T.) She was called to the Bar in 1995 and practised as a Barrister in NSW and the A.C.T. until her appointment to the Federal Circuit Court in January 2017. As a barrister she had an extensive family law practice at first instance and on appeal. In addition Judge Tonkin had a broad practice as an advocate conducting criminal trials, as Counsel Assisting the Coroner in Deaths in Custody and other coronial inquiries, Counsel for Corrective Services, Counsel for the Canberra Hospital and regularly appeared on behalf of the A.C.T. for the Chief Executive, Department of Child Safety, Public Advocate, Public Trustee, Chief Psychiatrist amongst others. In addition she represented individuals in professional misconduct matters.

    She held the position of Legal Aid Commissioner for many years, participated on many committees, undertook an advanced Advocacy Course at Keble College Oxford in the U.K. and was a tutor in advocacy at the ABA Bar Reader's Course at the University of W.A. She was a director of Chambers for many years and elected member of the ACT Bar. She has maintained membership to the NSW and ACT Bar Associations for the past 25 years and more recently is a member of the Qld Bar.

  • Judge Vicki Loury

    Judge Vicki Loury

    Judge Loury QC is a graduate of The University of Queensland—Bachelor of Laws (1993) and Queensland University of Technology—Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice (1995). 

    Her Honour was admitted as a solicitor of the Supreme Court of Queensland in 1995 and commenced employment with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions in 1996. In 2001 her Honour was admitted as a barrister of the Supreme Court of Queensland and appointed a crown prosecutor. Judge Loury QC has appeared as leading counsel for the prosecution in criminal trials in the District and Supreme Courts and as leading counsel for the respondent in criminal appeals in the Court of Appeal and High Court of Australia.

    In December 2016 her Honour was appointed Queen’s Counsel.   

    Prior to judicial appointment, her Honour served as a member of the Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council and as a member of the council of the Bar Association of Queensland.
    Judge Loury QC was appointed a judge of the District Court of Queensland on 17 December 2018. 

  • Justice Jenny Hogan - Profile Image Coming Soon

    Justice Jenny Hogan

    Justice Jenny Hogan

    Justice Jenny Hogan was appointed to the Brisbane Registry of the Family Court of Australia on 14 January 2013.  Before she was appointed, her Honour had practised at the Queensland Bar since early 1995; she was made Senior Counsel in December 2012.

  • Margie Kruger

    Margie Kruger

    Margie is a Partner at Ryan Kruger Lawyers and has practised in the area of family law and child protection law since 2000. Prior to practice as a lawyer Margie was a social worker with the Department responsible for Child Safety. She worked in various roles including assessing notifications of harm, Team Leader and Senior Advisor in Child Protection in the Court Division of the Department.

    Margie was appointed in 2020 to the Queensland Government Child Death Review Board and prior to this was a member of the Child Death Case Review Panel since its inception in 2014. Margie was a founding Board member of the Child Protection Practitioners Association Queensland and held the positions of Deputy Chair and Chair until 2017. Margie currently holds the position of Deputy-Chair of the Queensland Law Society Family Law Committee. Margie has been recognised in the Doyles Best Lawyers Guide since 2014 including as a Leading Parenting and Children’s Matter Lawyer since 2018 and in 2022 was named as a Preeminent Parenting and Children’s Matter Lawyer.

  • Mark Sayers

    Mark Sayers

    Mark is a Brisbane barrister in private practice who, since 1999, has practised mostly in the area of Family Law.

  • Matthew Taylor

    Matthew Taylor

    Matt Taylor completed his Bachelor of Laws at Bond University in 1995, before undertaking two year articles in Gympie, and being admitted as a solicitor in 1997. From a general Commercial Law background, he began specializing in Family Law in 1999. Between 2001 and 2010, Matthew lived in the United Kingdom. Working predominantly in the area of child protection, and social care law, including three years as Team Leader for the Social Services Legal Team for the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

    He returned to Australia in September 2010, and recommenced work as a solicitor before being called  called to the Bar in January 2016 where he is a member of Quay 11 chambers. He is an AIFLAM accredited arbitrator,  and lectures for the College of Law’s -Applied Masters in Family Law.

  • Michael Kent

    Michael Kent

    Michael was admitted as a solicitor in 1983, was called to the Bar in 1991 and took silk in 2007. 

    At the Bar Michael developed an extensive practice primarily in common law, insurance, professional negligence, estate litigation, company law and family law.  He also developed a substantial appellate practice.  A significant component of his practice was as a mediator in all areas of civil disputes.

    In 2011 Michael was appointed as a Judge of the Family Court of Australia.  In 2015 Michael was assigned to the Appeal Division of the Court.  He served on the Appeal Division until resigning his commission in 2021. 

    Michael returned to the Bar in 2021 to resume practice in Alternative Dispute Resolution.

  • Mitchell Grimmond

    Mitchell Grimmond

    Mitchell is a Senior Consultant within KPMG’s Forensic division and is experienced in investigation, dispute, financial crime, digital forensic, and risk advisory engagements. Mitchell regularly provides specialist support on matters involving the application or usage of digital assets and has recently worked alongside federal law enforcement agencies, regulatory bodies, family law professionals, insolvency practitioners, and corporates. In addition to his forensic work, Mitchell also contributes to consultation papers and advisory work in respect to the regulation of digital assets in Australia.

  • Murray Howlett

    Murray Howlett

    Murray Howlett is a Partner at Pilot, and has been advising businesses for more than 20 years. He regularly consults on taxation and superannuation matters, providing practical and innovative taxation strategies that address his clients' business, personal wealth, succession, retirement and estate planning needs. 

  • Tedd Jordan

    Tedd Jordan

    Tedd has been admitted as a lawyer for 33 years and has been in practise as a Barrister for the last 21 years.

    He practises solely in the Family Law jurisdiction and conducts Mediations and Arbitrations as well as appearing in court.

  • Tom FitzGerald

    Tom FitzGerald

    A social worker for 29 years, Tom was a Family Consultant/Mediator at the Child Dispute Service of the Brisbane Registry from 2004 before commencing private practice in 2009. His practice remains principally focussed on family report writing and as a child consultant in child-inclusive mediation.