The Hon. Stephen O’Ryan QC is a leading Family Law barrister whose legal career spans
more than four decades.
Mr O’Ryan graduated from the University of Sydney in 1972 with a Bachelor of Laws degree.
He then spent three years as a solicitor, 19 years at the Bar, and became a Queen’s Counsel
in 1990. In 1991 he was appointed an acting judge of the NSW District Court. In 1994, he
was appointed a Judge of the Family Court of Australia.
For a number of years Mr O’Ryan was the Family Court Judge Administrator for New South
Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. He was also the chairperson, or a member, of
many judicial committees including:
Mr O’Ryan had a significant role in relation to the reform, and administration, of case
management of cases, and trial management of cases, before the Family Court of Australia.
Mr O’Ryan had a significant role in relation to the initiation and development of the less
adversarial approach to the determination of parenting cases. He also chaired the committee
responsible for the successful introduction of this approach.
In 2011, when Mr O’Ryan retired from the Bench, he was a member of the Full Court of the
In 2011, after Mr O’Ryan retired from the Bench, he resumed practice at the Bar. His judicial
background prohibited him from appearing in the Family Court and the Federal Circuit Court
for a stipulated period, however, that prohibition period has now expired. He is now using his
experience, and passion for advocacy, mediation and arbitration, to achieve the best possible
outcomes for his legal teams and his clients. He also continues to have a keen interest in the
reform of Family Law and the case management of cases and trial management of cases
before the Family Court of Australia.
Mr O’Ryan’s many professional achievements have included being a consultant to the
Australian Reform Commission, a founding member of the Editorial Board of the Australian
Journal of Family Law (Butterworths), and the Editor of Australian Family Law (Butterworths).
Mr O’Ryan is now an accredited mediator through the Resolution Institute (formerly IAMA),
and an accredited arbitrator through Australian Institute of Family Law Arbitrators and
Arbitrators (AIFLAM). He is a director of AIFLAM. He is a consulting editor of Australian
If you wish to brief Mr O’Ryan QC, or enquire as to his availability, or fees, please do so by contacting his clerk, Tanya Roberts. If you wish to email click here.