The Hon. Colin Forrest SC has been a family lawyer for over thirty years.
Born and raised in Tamworth, he completed his Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts degrees at the University of New South Wales in 1986, after having also had three gap years working and studying in Germany, Japan and the Northern Territory.
After graduating, he was Legal Associate to Justice Michael Kirby, President of the New South Wales Court of Appeal. He was admitted as a Barrister of the New South Wales Supreme Court whilst he was an Associate.
In 1988, Mr Forrest moved to Queensland and worked for two years as a solicitor for the city firm, Goss Downy Carne, where he practiced in family law, criminal law and personal injuries litigation.
In 1990, Mr Forrest was called to the Queensland Bar where he quickly established a specialist practice in family law and succession law. In the 1990’s, he served for four years as a part-time member of the Commonwealth Social Security Appeals Tribunal. In 2000, he was appointed as a part-time member of the Queensland Ant-Discrimination Tribunal and served on that until it was merged into the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal in 2010.
Whilst maintaining his family law practice, Mr Forrest was a Deputy Public Interest Monitor in Queensland for several years before being appointed Public Interest Monitor pursuant to Queensland Police laws and Commonwealth anti-terrorism laws, responding to police applications to the Courts for covert surveillance warrants.
Mr Forrest was the Queensland Bar’s appointed representative on the Queensland Law Society’s Family Law Specialist Accreditation Committee for several years. He was an elected board member of the Queensland Family Law Practitioners’ Association and was serving as its President when appointed as a Judge of the Trial Division of the Family Court of Australia in February 2011.
Mr Forrest took silk in 2010.
As a Trial Judge of the Family Court of Australia assigned to the Brisbane Registry, Mr Forrest served the Court as a member of Chief Justice Diana Bryant’s Court Policy Advisory Committee, as Brisbane Registry Case Management Judge, as Brisbane Registry Magellan Judge and Brisbane Registry Hague Judge. Mr Forrest was also the Family Court’s nominated representative on the Joint Court’s Children’s Committee and the Brisbane Registry’s nominee on the Queensland Court’s Indigenous Policy Committee as well as the Family Court’s Indigenous Policy Committee.
Mr Forrest resigned his Judicial Commission in early 2021 after having written over five hundred judgments and has returned to practice at the Bar as a barrister, a mediator and an arbitrator. Due to protocol, as a recently retired Judge, Mr Forrest is unable to appear in the Family Court or the Federal Circuit Court before 2026. However, he willingly accepts instructions to mediate or arbitrate in family law matters and succession matters anywhere in Australia and will appear in coronial inquests or commissions of inquiry. He is an accredited arbitrator and member of the Australian Institute of Family Law Arbitrators and Mediators and is refreshing his accreditation as a mediator, having conducted many mediations both prior to and since serving on the Family Court bench.
Mr Forrest has a keen interest in international affairs. He reads and speaks reasonably fluent German. He has basic Japanese language skills and is learning Spanish, Italian and French. He is studying on a part-time basis towards a Master’s degree in International Relations at the University of Queensland and he is a member of the Council of the Australian Institute of International Affairs, Queensland Chapter. During leave from the Court in his last few years as a Judge, Mr Forrest spent eight weeks in Timor-Leste building relationships with the Judges of Timor-Leste, Non-Government Organizations and professional bodies in the justice system, as well as community-based capacity building organizations.
Mr Forrest has presented at many conferences and continuing professional education events in Australia and internationally throughout his career.
If you wish to brief Mr Forrest SC, or enquire as to his availability or fees, please do so by contacting his clerk, Tanya Roberts. If you wish to email Tanya Roberts click here.