Plain English for Lawyers

English has gone through many changes over the centuries.  For example, expressions of politeness such as “I beg of you” or “If it please you” are no longer used.  Today we simply say “please”.  Modern language constantly evolves.  The legal language, however, has not kept pace.  Lawyers continue to see archaic phrases and Latin terminology. …

Cross-examination

Cross-examination is considered to be the most effective way of testing the accuracy of a witnesses’ testimony.  It is said to be the best tool for challenging evidence to ascertain the truth.  It is often referred to as an “art” or an “intuitive skill” that is the most difficult of all lawyering skills to master. …

Binding Financial Agreements

In the year 2000 the Family Law Act 1975 (Commonwealth) (“FLA”) was amended to include Part VIIIA, governing Financial Agreements.  The purpose of Part VIIIA was to oust the jurisdiction of the Family Court to make property adjustment orders.  These provisions finally enabled married spouses to enter into Binding Financial Agreements (“BFAs”) at various stages…

Reflect on your good work

We lead such busy personal and professional lives that we forget to stop and reflect on our achievements.   I recently taught a class at the QUT Law School where I encouraged students to reflect on their successes. It made me realize that I needed to do the same.   As I took time out…

Alternative Dispute Resolution

When clients see a lawyer they are often advised to consider alternative dispute resolution (ADR) either before commencing litigation, or with a view of reaching an agreement once litigation has commenced.   The method most often recommended is a round table conference, or a mediation. However, consider these additional methods of ADR: negotiation conciliation arbitration…