Awais Ahmad



Awais was called to the Bar in May 2011 after working in corporate law at a national commercial law firm and as a Judge’s Associate.

Given his passion for legal problem solving, Awais has developed a reputation as a leading ‘senior junior’ across a number of fields. He is known for possessing a strong knowledge of legal principle, being thoroughly prepared and a meticulous cross examiner.

Awais has appeared (as lead counsel) in multiple appellate jurisdictions, including most notably succeeding in an appeal before the High Court of Australia concerning a question of statutory construction.

With a significant background in complex commercial matters (including a degree in applied finance), Awais has specialised expertise in personal insolvency and company liquidation which equips him with skills in financial matters involving trusts structures, bankruptcy, equitable relief and complex business valuations.

Moreover, given Awais’ experience as a criminal defence barrister he is most suited to complex parenting matters with an overlay of criminal allegations.

Finally, Awais is a nationally accredited mediator and has a sound track record in assisting parties resolve their disputes at mediation.

If you wish to brief Mr Ahmad or enquire as to his availability, or fees, please do so by contacting his clerk, Humeira Ali. If you wish to email Humeira Ali click here.

Giles Stapleton



Giles was called to the Bar in October 2012 after a 20 year career in banking and commerce in Sydney and London.

Giles’ practice in Family Law involves appearing in all types of property and parenting disputes and appearing led and unled in reviews and appeals of family law decisions.

Giles is also a member of Ninth Floor Selborne Chambers, Sydney from where he also appears in property law and equity disputes in the NSW Supreme Court.

Giles accepts briefs in all New South Wales Courts, all Federal Courts and the Federal Circuit & Family Courts across Australia.

If you wish to brief Mr Stapleton, or enquire as to his availability, or fees, please do so by contacting his clerk, Humeira Ali. If you wish to email Humeira Ali click click here.

The Hon. Stephen O’Ryan KC



The Hon. Stephen O’Ryan KC is a leading Family Law barrister whose legal career spans
more than four decades.

If you wish to brief Mr O’Ryan KC, or enquire as to his availability, or fees, please do so by contacting his clerk, Humeira Ali. If you wish to email Humeira Ali click here.

The Hon. Colin Forrest SC



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, Humeira Ali. If you wish to email Humeira Ali click here.

Grahame Richardson SC



Grahame Richardson SC is a specialist in Family Law at both trial and appellate level.

He has been a barrister for in excess of 32 years, including over 20 years as Senior Counsel. Family Law has been his predominant area of practice throughout that time and he has participated in many significant cases at first instance and on appeal that have contributed to the developing jurisprudence of the area.

During that time he has developed a keen interest in complex financial cases particularly those involving disputed disclosure of wealth and contested valuations. He has wide ranging experience in all nature of proceedings in courts exercising a Family Law jurisdiction.

He appears throughout Australia with regular involvement in large and complex hearings and appeals interstate. He is often retained in proceedings involving international issues including forum disputes and proceedings arising under the Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

Mr Richardson served as Chairman of the New South Wales Bar Association Family Law Committee for 17 years and served on a Bar Association Professional Conduct Committee for approximately 7 years. Since 2000 he has been a fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers. He is a former Director of the Australian Institute of Family Law Arbitrators and Mediators.

He has been continuously recognised by the highly regarded Doyle’s Guide of Leading Family Law Barristers as pre-eminent in Australia throughout the time that Doyle’s has surveyed barristers in New South Wales.

If you wish to brief Mr Richardson SC, or enquire as to his availability, or fees, please do so by contacting his clerk, Humeira Ali. If you wish to email Humeira Ali click here.

Sydney Williams KC



Sydney Williams was admitted to the Bar in 2004 and soon commanded a wide practice in cases involving equity and trusts, expert valuation issues, and in professional negligence claims. That varied experience laid the groundwork for his expanding Family Law practice.

With similar application to commercial disputes and with particular focus on financial cases involving significant asset pools and complex company, trust, partnership and valuation issues, Mr Williams has successfully developed a large practice in the Family Law jurisdiction, including in disputes between de facto marital couples as well as complex parenting trials.

Having appeared in the High Court of Australia, and the appellate divisions of the Family Court of Australia and various State and Territory Courts, Mr Williams is regularly sought after for interlocutory applications, trials and appeals.

In 2016, Mr Williams was recognised by the Doyle’s Guide as one of the preeminent barristers throughout the whole of Australia practising in the family law jurisdiction, please see Doyles’ Leading Australian Family Law Barristers.

If you wish to brief Mr Williams, or enquire as to his availability, or fees, please do so by contacting his clerk, Humeira Ali. If you wish to email Humeira Ali click here.

Thomas Mathews



Prior to coming to the Bar, Thomas was a solicitor at one of Australia’s top tier Family Law firms.

Thomas has developed a wide practice in Family Law and has experience in all aspects of the jurisdiction including:

  • financial matters involving issues of disputed disclosure, contested valuations, third party interests and trust structures;
  • spouse maintenance disputes;
  • parenting matters involving international and domestic relocation, serious allegations of abuse and recovery of children; and
  • child support disputes.

Thomas regularly appears in the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia and accepts briefs to appear in the city, suburban, regional and interstate Family Law Courts and Federal Circuit Courts.

If you wish to retain Thomas Mathews, or enquire as to his availability or fees, please do so by contacting his clerk, Humeira Ali. If you wish to email Humeira Ali click here.

Michael Todd



Michael, since being called to the Bar in 2018, has practiced exclusively in the Family Law Jurisdiction, both at first instance and appellate level. He has conducted cases across the broad spectrum of Family Law and regularly appears in the Federal Circuit and Family Court (Divisions 1 and 2), the Full Court of the Federal Circuit and Family Court, both in New South Wales and interstate, and the High Court of Australia.
Prior to being called to the bar, Michael was a Director of a preeminent specialist Family Law firm in Sydney and frequently appeared as solicitor advocate. Since 2009, Michael has practiced exclusively in the area of Family Law, and attained specialist accreditation in Family Law through the Law Society of New South Wales in 2015.
Michael has developed a wide practice in Family Law and has substantial experience in all aspects of the jurisdiction; including:
  • Complex parenting disputes involving issues such as relocation (intrastate, interstate and international); child abduction and recovery; alienation; mental illness; drugs and alcohol;
  • Complex property disputes between married or de facto partners and involving high net wealth and complex corporate and trust structures;
  • Child support disputes; and
  • Spouse Maintenance disputes.
Michael is regularly invited to present papers and seminars, and was recognised as among the Leading Junior Counsel in Family Law in New South Wales in the 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024 editions of the Doyles Guide.
Michael accepts briefs to appear in the city, suburban, regional and interstate registries of the Federal Circuit and Family Court.

If you wish to brief Michael, or enquire as to his availability, or fees, please do so by contacting his clerk, Humeira Ali. If you wish to email Humeira Ali click here.

Kiel Roberts



Kiel was called to the Bar in 2018 and has since that time practiced primarily in the Family Law jurisdiction, appearing at both first instance and in the appellate division of the Family Court of Australia.

Kiel was recognised as among the Leading Junior Counsel in Family Law in New South in the 2021 edition of the Doyle’s Guide.

Prior to being called to the Bar Kiel practiced almost exclusively in Family Law at a preeminent family law firm and attained specialist accreditation in Family Law through the New South Wales Law Society.

Kiel has extensive experience in all areas of Family Law including complex financial matters involving property alteration and spouse maintenance disputes, complex parenting matters involving serious allegations of abuse, relocation, parenting arrangements and child support disputes.

Kiel was one of the Managing Editors of The Practitioner’s Guide to Family Law 5th Edition.

If you wish to retain Kiel Roberts, or enquire as to his availability or fees, please do so by contacting his clerk, Humeira Ali. If you wish to email Humeira Ali click here.

Liam O’Reilly



Liam O’Reilly is a Barrister at Family Law Chambers. He practices predominately in Family Law, including both Parenting and Property matters, following the breakdown of a marriage or de-facto relationship.

Liam was admitted as a solicitor in 2011, and during this time he developed experience in all facets of the law with a particular interest in Family Law.
Prior to being called to the Bar, Liam previously worked at one of Australia’s Top-Tier Family Law Firm’s as recognised by the Doyles Guide.

Called to the Bar in 2017, Liam commenced practicing at Family Law Chambers as a reader. Since coming to the Bar, Liam has developed a strong Family Law practice, practicing predominately in Family Law.

Liam regularly appears in The Family Court of Australia, The Federal Circuit Court of Australia. He also appears both interstate and on circuit in country sittings of the Family Court and the Federal Circuit Court.

If you wish to brief Mr O’Reilly, or enquire as to his availability, or fees, please do so by contacting his clerk, Humeira Ali. If you wish to email Humeira Ali click here.

Dixie Coulton



In 2015, Ms Coulton was recognised by the Doyles Guide as one of the recommended family law barristers in New South Wales.

If you wish to brief Ms Coulton, or enquire as to her availability, or fees, please do so by contacting her clerk, Humeira Ali. If you wish to email Humeira Ali click here.

Terese Messner



Terese Messner was called to the Bar in 2001. She was admitted as a Solicitor in 1982 and practiced as a solicitor in both in private practice and for the Legal Aid Commission for 8 years. Her practice throughout this time was predominately in the area of Family Law and related jurisdictions.

In 1990 Ms Messner commenced working for the Family Court of Australia initially as a Deputy Registrar, then Registrar and then as a SES band 2 Registrar. Ms Messner left the Court in 2000 but returned on a temporary basis in 2004 and 2005 as an SES band 2 Registrar.

In 2006 Ms Messner joined Family Law Chambers.

Over the past 28 years Ms Messner has developed extensive experience in all areas of Family Law both in financial matters and parenting matters, including complex and high nett worth financial matters and complex children’s matters, and in relation to disputes between unmarried couples. During her time with the Court she also gained extensive experience in both mediation and conciliation.

Ms Messner has given numerous papers at various seminars and conferences on Family Law.

In 2015, Ms Messner was recognised by the Doyles Guide as one of the leading family law barristers within New South Wales and has been listed as recommended throughout the whole of Australia.

If you wish to brief Ms Messner, or enquire as to her availability, or fees, please do so by contacting her clerk, Humeira Ali. If you wish to email Humeira Ali click here.