Craig Brickwood


Craig practices exclusively in family law. He has experience across a broad range of family law issues, including complex financial (including child support and maintenance) and parenting disputes.
Craig graduated from Macquarie University with a Bachelor of Laws with First Class Honours.
Prior to being called to the Bar in 2023, Craig was a Partner at a top tier specialist family law firm in Sydney, and a family law specialist accredited by the Law Society of NSW. Craig has been recognised in the Doyle’s Guide as a rising star in the NSW family law market.
Craig served as a NSW Police Officer from 2002 to 2011. His policing career provided him with invaluable experience dealing with family violence, post separation conflict and apprehended domestic violence orders. He acquired exceptional investigation skills during his service.
Craig accepts briefs to appear in city, regional and interstate registries of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia.

Nick Bateman


Nick Bateman was called to the Bar in 2022. Prior to joining the Bar, Nick was a Senior Associate in a top tier family law firm.

During his time as a solicitor, Nick conducted complex litigation in relation to both property matters and parenting disputes. He also has extensive experience in alternative dispute resolution, including arbitration and mediation.

Nick appears in registries of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia around the country, as well as the Children’s Court of New South Wales and Supreme Court of New South Wales.

Nick is recognised in Best Lawyers Australia 2024 and 2025 for his practice in Family Law.

Alexander Butters


Alexander Butters was admitted to the Bar in 2022. Prior to coming to the Bar Alex was Special Counsel at a boutique family law firm for three years.

He has obtained experience in a wide range of family disputes including complex parenting and property matters, as well as in contested wills and estates cases. He has expertise in alternative dispute resolution; mediation, negotiation and arbitration.

Prior to his time as a family lawyer practitioner, Alex was a Legal Associate to two judges of the Family Court (as it was then), a position which he held for two years.

Alex accepts briefs to appear in both the city and suburban registries of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia as well as the Supreme Court of New South Wales (Succession list) as well as both the Local and District Court.

Louise Carter


Louise Carter practices predominately in family law and has experience in a wide range of family law issues, including parenting matters and complex financial matters following the breakdown of a marriage or de-facto relationship.

Prior to being called to the Bar in 2021, Louise was a Senior Associate at a leading family law firm in Sydney and a Family Law Specialist accredited by the Law Society of NSW. Louise has also been recognised in Doyle’s Guide in the area of Family Law.

Prior to her time as a family lawyer, Louise was a Legal Associate to two Family Court judges in Sydney.

Louise accepts briefs to appear in city, suburban and regional Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia matters. Louise also accepts briefs in the areas of estate and family provision law.

Sarwa Abdelraheem


Sarwa Abdelraheem was called to the Bar in 2019 and is a member of the NSW Bar Association and the Family Law Section of the Law Council of Australia.

Prior to coming to the Bar, Sarwa was admitted as a solicitor in 2006. As a solicitor she practiced largely in family law matters working both as a solicitor and solicitor advocate. Sarwa worked in various private firms, at the South West Sydney Legal Centre and was principal of a private law firm for over 7 years.

Sarwa has obtained a degree in Law at the University of Technology Sydney and a Masters of Law with a Family Law Major through the College of Law. Sarwa also holds a degree in Communication with a Film Production Major.

Sarwa accepts both private and Legal Aid briefs in all family law and care and protections matters. She has appeared in the Family Court, Federal Circuit Court, Children’s Court and District Court. Sarwa holds an AIFLAM accreditation as an arbitrator.
Sarwa is currently serving on the Bar Association Family Law Committee and as a committee member of the Greater West Family Law Practitioners Association.

Janai Tabbernor


Janai Tabbernor was admitted to the Bar in 2019, joining Waratah Chambers as a reader with Chris Othen. She is a member of the NSW Bar Association.

Janai comes to the bar after spending two years as the Legal Associate to the Hon. Justice Ryan, Judge of the (then) Full Court of the Family Court of Australia.

Since coming to the bar Janai has primarily acted in a broad range of family law disputes, including complex property (including for third parties) and parenting matters, and advised and appeared in matters in respect of forum and jurisdiction. She has particular expertise in appellate matters from her time as a Legal Associate in the Full Court.

Janai has appeared in the city, suburban and regional Family Law Courts and Federal Circuit Courts, in cross-vesting matters in the NSW Supreme Court, the Children’s Court and in NCAT matters in respect of Child Support. Janai also accepts briefs in the areas of employment, estate and family provision law.

Prior to her time as a Legal Associate Janai was a graduate solicitor at the Crown Solicitors’ Office working in the Inquiries and Torts teams, and has worked as a paralegal at a specialist immigration law firm.

Prior to studying law Janai worked as a Senior Policy Advisor to various federal and NSW Ministers and Shadow Ministers.

Peter Cummings SC


Peter’s main area of practice is in Family Law, both trial and appellate work.  He is a qualified Arbitrator under the Family Law Act and is a member of the NSW Bar Association’s Family Law Committee and represents that committee in the Family Courts Users Group.

In 2021 Peter was appointed to the Executive of Family Law Section of the Law Council of Australia as the NSW Bar representative and currently serves in that position. He is, and has consistently been, rated in Doyle’s Guide to the Legal Profession as a leading Family Law Senior Counsel within NSW.

Peter was born and educated in Newcastle.  He began studying law by correspondence through Macquarie University in 1980 while working as a law clerk in a local firm.  He graduated in 1984 and was then admitted to practice as a solicitor.

For twelve years he was a partner in Thomas Laycock Solicitors and built up a substantial practice in personal injury, insurance, commercial and construction litigation.

In 1993 he underwent mediation training with LEADR and developed a practice in Alternative Dispute Resolution which he has carried on since.

The Law Society of New South Wales accredited him as a specialist in Commercial Litigation in 1994.

In 1996 he went to the Bar and commenced practice at Newcastle Chambers.  He rapidly developed a busy practice in a variety of areas including personal injury, family law, commercial litigation and crime.  He is on the panel of most major insurers.

Upon the introduction of the scheme in 2008 he became a Mediator accredited under the National Standards and is on the NSW Supreme and District Courts’ List of mediators.

After being elected as the President of the Newcastle Bar Association in early 2013, he held that position until 2017.

In 2013 he was appointed Senior Counsel for the state of New South Wales.

For five years he was the Head of Newcastle Chambers and maintains membership of those Chambers.

After four years of maintaining chambers in Phillip Street, Sydney, in 2018 he became a full-time member of Waratah Chambers and was appointed Head of Chambers in 2021.

He is a regular presenter at, and convenor of, domestic and international legal conferences and has guest lectured at Newcastle University Law School.

Michael Kearney SC


Michael Kearney was admitted to the New South Wales Bar in January 2000 and appointed Senior Counsel in October 2012. Michael practised as a solicitor from 1994 until 2000. Since admission as a legal practitioner he has practised predominantly in the area of family law.

The majority of Mr Kearney’s practice is in the area of family law, encompassing all issues including complex financial and parenting disputes. Michael has a particular speciality in appellate work in the Full Court of the Family Court of Australia throughout Australia and also appears in the NSW Court of Appeal and High Court of Australia.

Mr Kearney also acts as a mediator and is an accredited arbitrator and a member of the Australian Institute of Family Law Arbitrators and Mediators.

Mr Kearney is currently the Chair of the Family Law Committee of the Australian Bar Association and has been the New South Wales Barrister representative on, and Treasurer and Deputy Chair of, the Family Law Section of the Law Council of Australia; a Member of the New South Wales Bar Association,  Chair of the Family Law Committee of the Association and a member of its Professional Conduct Committee and the NSW Bar News Committee; Appeals Editor of the Australian Family Lawyer; and a Casenote Editor of the CCH publication ‘Current Family Law’.

Mr Kearney is a frequent presenter of seminars to the legal profession and has published numerous articles in the family law area.

Since 2015 Mr Kearney has been consistently recognised by the Doyles Guide as one of the pre-eminent family law Senior Counsel in New South Wales and Australia.

Christopher Othen



Chris Othen commenced practice as a solicitor in England in 1999. Chris migrated to Australia permanently in 2005 when he joined a leading Sydney family law firm. He was accredited as a specialist in family law by the Law Society of NSW shortly after that.

Chris was admitted to the Bar in 2011 and joined Waratah Chambers as a reader with Mr Peter Campton SC and Mr John Levy.

Chris has built a reputation as specialist junior Counsel in family law. He has been recognised in Doyles Guide as one of the preeminent Family Law Junior Counsel within Australia.

His practice is predominantly in appearances as advocate, and in the preparation of legal submissions and written and oral opinions.

Chris is an experienced and highly regarded arbitrator of family law property disputes, and has conducted numerous mediations of property and parenting matters.  He is accredited as both mediator and arbitrator by the Australian Institute of Family Law Arbitrators and Mediators.

He is experienced in the following areas:

  • Appellate work at the Full Court of the Family Court of Australia;
  • Property adjustment and maintenance proceedings under the Family Law Act;
  • Claims by or against third parties including in equity, bankruptcy and debt in family law proceedings;
  • Proceedings to set aside or enforce Financial Agreements;
  • De facto relationship disputes, including declarations about the existence and/or length of de facto relationships;
  • Complex parenting cases including those involving allegations of sexual abuse, parental neglect, and relocation;
  • Family law practice and procedure;
  • Child Support including child support reviews and appeals;
  • Real property disputes and caveats
  • Family provision claims and contested will disputes under the Succession Act (NSW) 2006

Chris presents papers to professional associations in Sydney and in regional cities and towns, and he is one of the authors of CCH’s Master Family Law Guide.

Chris Othen prefers to receive electronic briefs wherever possible, which will not be printed. He accepts them via any service his instructing solicitors like to use including Dropbox and LawConnect.  Please contact his clerk for more details if required.

Matthew Wong


Matthew was called to the Bar in 2004 and is a foundation member of Waratah Chambers.

In addition to being a barrister, Matthew is an accredited Family Law Mediator (AIFLAM) and an accredited Family Law Arbitrator (AIFLAM).

Matthew’s practice sees him retained nationwide in a wide variety of matters, including but not limited to complex matrimonial disputes. He is renowned for his methodical and strategic approach to litigation. In that regard, Matthew has been successively recognised by the “Doyle’s Guide to Australian Legal Practitioners” as “leading” in this field of his primary endeavour.

Prior to being called to the Bar, Matthew was employed in various in-house roles within the Office of the C.E.O. of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Subsequent to the Bank, Matthew accepted an invitation extended by former colleagues to be appointed the company secretary and external counsel to an international but Australian based currency brokerage and market advisory firm.

Matthew continues to be retained by financial institutions and government authorities, both for advice and to appear on their behalf. As such, Matthew has longstanding and broad experience in legal, corporate and commercial concerns. Matthew thus has experience in matters involving bankruptcy, insolvency, guardianship and commercial disputes.
In the Family Law context, Matthew’s experience is of particular utility given the increasingly complex interactions with corporations, trusts, income, taxation, capital and debt. This, combined with his extensive trial experience, uniquely places Matthew to advise your client. Matthew also appears on behalf of litigation guardians, where the litigant is incapacitated. Further, he appears on behalf of estates.

Matthew also practises in the area of succession, having advised and appeared in the Supreme Court of New South Wales both as to disputes regarding the provenance of wills and family provision.

It is noted that Matthew is also widely recognised and retained in parenting matters. Over the course of his career he has appeared in countless trials and interim hearings involving the welfare and parenting of children. He has variously represented parents, grandparents and children (as counsel for the Independent Children’s Lawyer). Further, he has cross-examined almost all of the regularly appointed Court experts in the field of Child and Family psychiatry. Matthew adopts a strategic approach to parenting matters, such that the best interests of children can be identified and advocated for.