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  • 08/04/2024 8:50 AM | Anonymous

  • 31/03/2024 5:49 PM | Anonymous

    As lawyers, trainees and law students we should always strive to improve in our skillset, knowledge and attributes. There is always lots to learn in the legal professional!!

    GCDLA's committee member Joelene Nel has created a list of the top 6 take aways from 2024's Meet The Judiciary event hosted by GCDLA, which resonated strongly with her.

    This list was comprised after listening to the speeches of the judiciary members in attendance and these point could not have been stressed enough!

    Key Takeaways

    1. Be organised - this is evident in how you engage with the Court. The more organised and prepared you are, the better the impression you leave.

    2. Be flexible - Take chances that might not seem to be directly in line with where you are heading.

    3. Take work and yourself seriously, but not too seriously ;)

    4. Make it easy for the Court to follow your submissions - e.g. prepare an index of exhibits, paginate and use headings.

    5. Put your camera on when doing online Court appearances - the Judiciary like to see who is addressing them, just as if you were in Court in person.

    6. For family lawyers - when preparing Parenting Orders, consider putting the Orders relating to respectful communication and non-denigration closer to the top. These concepts / orders are important in the post separation, co-parenting relationship.

  • 13/08/2020 1:07 PM | Caralee Fontenele

  • 20/05/2020 2:00 PM | Caralee Fontenele

    Dear Members,

    The GCDLA committee has been approached by the Southport Magistrates and District Courts Support Staff to check whether any practitioners are missing out on their (the Courts') outgoing general email communications. If you have not been receiving regular emails from the Courts please email GCDLA so as your email address can be informed to the Courts' Staff and their lists for practitioners seeking communications.

    The email to use is: info@gcdla.com.au

    The committee will then send the addresses to the Court for inclusion in their distribution list.

    Many thanks and thank you to the Court staff for offering to assist in this fashion.

  • 10/02/2020 3:43 PM | Caralee Fontenele

    We were very pleased to welcome our cohort of commencing students in Orientation week with on campus events at the Gold Coast on Monday 17 February and at Nathan on Tuesday 18 February. Our students participated in information sessions, followed by campus tours, meeting their student mentors, lunch and a Q&A session.

    We were then pleased to host all of our commencing students, from both the Gold Coast and Nathan, at an event held at the Banco Court on Friday 21 February, where students were welcomed to the legal profession as ‘legal professionals in training’.

    The Honorable Justice Mullins welcomed the students to the court, while Dominic O’Sullivan QC welcomed them on behalf of the Bar Association, and President Luke Murphy welcomed them on behalf of the Queensland Law Society.

    Students then heard from a range of our alumni about their many and varied careers. We had presentations from Erin Mitchell, Director at Potts Lawyers; Fiona Lubett, commercial barrister; Rikki-Jane Buckland, lawyer at Gold Coast Community Legal Centre; Dean Clifford Jones, Parole Board Queensland; Brad McNamara, now a lawyer but talking about working as a Judge’s Associate to a Court of Appeal Judge; James Kerr, in house legal counsel; and Dr Kate Van Doore on working as a legal academic.  Students had lots of opportunities over morning tea and lunch to speak with all of our presenters, and many told us that they came away feeling very inspired about where their law degree might take them.

    At Griffith Law School we not only teach our students what the law is but also to think critically about law and where it is or is not serving the cause of justice; and to use legal skills and knowledge to make a positive difference in the world.

    We are extremely proud of our many wonderful alumni who are always keen to give back and to support and nurture the next generation of Griffith Law School students. They remain part of our Griffith Law School community and support the school in numerous ways for the benefit of our students, whether it is coaching competitions, mentoring students, or giving our students work experience or internship opportunities.

    For me, one of the great privileges of being a law school academic, has been teaching and getting to know many fabulous Griffith Law School students and then following their brilliant careers after they graduate. We have alumni working as barristers, in law firms, in corporations, in government, international non-government organisations, all over the world. I was delighted to catch up with many of them at alumni events in Singapore and London last year.

    There will be another excellent opportunity for all of our students to network with the legal profession at our “Meet the Profession” event at the Banco Court on 12 March.

    Associate Professor Therese Wilson

    Dean of Law and Head of School

    Griffith Law School

  • 10/02/2020 7:56 AM | Caralee Fontenele

    Thank you to everyone who joined us at the first Gold Coast District Law Association mentoring breakfast for 2020.

    Our mentors and mentees have now been paired up and have had an opportunity to meet each other at this first event, we are excited to learn, share and grow with each other this year.

    The GCDLA mentoring program is called GLAD - Gold Coast Lawyers Achieving Development and we are all looking forward to building new relationships with fellow colleagues in our legal profession on the Gold Coast and developing our personal and legal skills.

    GLAD is now in its 4th year having seen nearly 100 participants engage in the program.  

    We are grateful for the continued support of the Queensland Law Society in this initiative.

  • 07/02/2020 11:07 AM | Caralee Fontenele

    Who is your Silver Sponsor; Express Settlements….

    Our Mission - ‘Providing Financial Breathing Space’

    We work closely with our partner law firms in order for us to find the right solution for us to add value to both the firm and your clients financially. We offer funding solutions for Personal Injury and Compensation sector primarily, to also include, Family Law, Wills and Estates, including Property.

    Our solutions for the funding of disbursements and outlays are:

    • -          Simplified payment process
    • -          Fast electronic processing via EFT
    • -          No client involvement – our agreement is with you the law firm
    • -          Daily processing of payments
    • -          Online portal for invoice upload and disbursement matter management
    • -          We pay all suppliers directly – no funds in trust
    • -          Nothing to pay until the case settles or at term
    • -          Funding model to fund all outlays and disbursements
    • -          Funding model for one or two larger outlays or disbursements
    • -         

    Our PRE and POST Settlement Funding is a service we provide to your clients, to help relieve pressure at a time of great stress by providing financial breathing space.

    Should you wish to find out more then please feel free to reach out to me at rscott@espresssettlements.com.au or give me a call on 0428 455 312.

    We look forward to supporting the GCDLA and getting to know the committee and members over the coming months.

    Many thanks – Rachel Scott - CEO

  • 07/11/2019 8:32 PM | Erin Mitchell (Administrator)

    GLAD Mentoring Program

    (Gold Coast Lawyer Achieving Development)


    “Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.” — John Crosby


    The value of mentoring cannot be underestimated.

    In 2016, the Gold Coast District Law Associate began their mentoring program with 16 participants.  By the end of our 2019 programme, 69 participants have been involved in our programme. In October 2019 we held an end of year workshop for our mentors and mentees with Melinda Fisher, talking about change, growth and leadership as we head into 2020.

    GLAD offers a valuable opportunity for mentor senior practitioners to share their experience, knowledge and skill with mentee lawyers.

    Our mentoring programme is free to members and the Queensland Law Society has supported our programme since 2016 by sponsoring the breakfast events which are held every second month. As the programme is free to members there is no barrier to involvement.

    Those involved in our 2019 programme commented:

    Mentors:My Mentee has been easy to get along with and eager to receive advice

    I have really enjoyed being a part of this programme and think it is really invaluable


    Mentees: My mentor has assisted me with many queries, whether broad or specific, advised me on various approaches to dealing with emotionally charged clients, shed light on life outside law, and also provided me with valuable early law career advice.


    … really enjoyed the breakfast events and smaller tables so that you can rotate and meet other people in other practice areas’


    What are you waiting for?  Isn’t it time to join Glad 2020? Click HERE for mentors or HERE for mentees to express your interest.


    The GLAD committee

    Joelene, Erin and Kathy

  • 09/04/2019 2:16 PM | Caralee Fontenele


    During the course of bankruptcy administrations, one of the most frequently encountered asset protection structures are discretionary family trusts. It's a reasonably secure protection strategy in the event of bankruptcy because trust assets held by the bankrupt do not form part of the bankrupt's divisible assets and are not available for the benefit of creditors (section 116(2)(a) of the bankruptcy Act 1966.

    And if the bankrupt was a beneficiary of the family trust, it will not make any distributions to the bankrupt as those distributions would likely become divisible assets or assessable income during the bankruptcy period.

    However, a bankruptcy trustee has several powers and options to 'attack' a typical family trust or otherwise recover funds, which commonly include:

    • Existing debts; 
    • Voidable transactions; and
    • orders in relation to controlled entities

    Existing Debts

    Our initial investigations always involve obtaining the family trust's financial records, which we can obtain pursuant to section 77A of the Bankruptcy Act if the trust meets the definition of an associated entity. We review the records to establish if any outstanding debts or loans are owed to the bankrupt by the trust. This may include unpaid outstanding employee entitlements if the family trust operated a business.

    Those financial records also assist in our investigations into the other potential claims discussed below.

    Voidable Transactions

    Commonly, the family trust assets comprise of assets or funds transferred from the bankrupt prior to the bankruptcy date. These include transfers of real property (often the family home shortly prior to commencement of a risky business endeavour), large cash payments, redirection of part of the bankrupt's ordinary wages or assignments of loans and debts to the trust.

    If the bankrupt did not receive a commensurate benefit from such transactions, it may give rise to a potential 'undervalued transaction' or 'transfer to defeat creditors' claim against the family trust. Primarily, the transaction must mean the bankrupt received less than fair value for the transfers of the assets and the transaction occurred within the relevant time frames. If argued that those transfers were to repay and existing liability owed to the family trust, this could also potentially give rise to a preferential payment claim.

    Orders in relation to controlled entities

    Division 4A of the Bankruptcy Act is sometimes colloquially referred to as the "trust busting" provisions. Its purpose is to enable reveries where bankrupts have historically diverted personal assets or income to an entity that they control, such as a family trust. IT seeks to make available, for the benefit of creditors, the accumulation of assets in a trust or other structure that resulted from the bankrupt's efforts and exertions. Broadly, depending on specific circumstances, the elements to establish a Division 4A claim will generally include the following:

    1. The bankrupt supplied personal services to the controlled entity without commensurate remuneration for those services and/or provided financial contributions to the controlled entity.
    2. The controlled entity acquired property, and/or their net wealth increased from those services or financial contributions.
    3. The bankrupt derived a benefit from the property when the bankrupt controlled the entity.
    4. The controlled entity still has an interest in the asset.

    The Bankruptcy Act sets out the particular combination of elements that apply to establish a claim depending on the specific circumstances. If a valid claim exists, the courts can make orders to vest the interest in the asset in the bankruptcy trustee or for the controlled entity to pay a specified amount to the bankruptcy trustee.

    The above examples are some of the more common investigations and recovery actions against family trusts; however, often other potential claims are available depending on the administration's specific circumstances.

    It should also be noted that quite often, bankrupts hold the power to replace and appoint a new trustee. Throughout the years, we have been requested on many occasions to exercise that power to appoint a "friendly" trustee to distribute discretionary trust assets. The courts have held that the general power of appointment is not property that vests in a bankruptcy trustee pursuant to section 58 or 116 of the Bankruptcy Act (RE Burton: Wiley V Burton (1994) 126 ARL 557) and accordingly, that option is not available.

  • 05/04/2019 5:42 PM | Caralee Fontenele

    The Supreme Court has announced that there will be a 2 week sitting of the Supreme Court convened by his Honour Justice Boddice from 2 – 13 September 2019. Jane FitzGerald of French Quarter Chambers has recently met with his Honour and is pleased to report that he conveyed a desire on the part of the judiciary to work with us to promote the sitting and endeavour to make it as successful as possible. The callover for the sittings will be on 30 April 2019. Matters to be included in the callover are to be notified to his Honour’s Associated by 19 April 2019. Please read more on how you can assist in demonstrating the need for a Supreme Court Appointment on the Gold Coast.

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