Daniel Keserovic



Profile

Daniel was called to the bar in 2022. Since then he has practised primarily in family law, having appeared at hearings at first instance and on appeal in both property and parenting disputes. In parenting matters he has appeared for parents, grandparents, and Independent Children’s Lawyers.

Prior to being called to the bar, Daniel commenced practice as a solicitor in 2015. As a solicitor he worked in a busy general litigation practice, predominately in family law but also in the areas of probate and estate disputes, commercial disputes, real property, and defending ADVO’s and summary criminal charges.

Since he was called to the bar Daniel has appeared in Sydney, Parramatta, Newcastle, Dubbo, Tamworth, and Canberra, and he accepts briefs in all locations, including regional and interstate registries.

Daniel accepts briefs to appear in all areas of family law, as well as contested Probate and Family Provision claims, and summary criminal or ADVO matters.

Craig Brickwood



Profile

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



Profile

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



Profile

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



Profile

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.

Janai Tabbernor



Profile

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.

Claire Cantrall



Profile

Claire Cantrall was admitted to the Bar in 2014 and is a member of the NSW Bar Association. Prior to coming to the bar, Claire was admitted as a solicitor in 2009 and practiced largely in the area of family law, working as both solicitor and solicitor advocate.

Claire has extensive experience in the Family Law jurisdiction, having acted for parties and children in parenting matters as well as acting in property matters. Claire has appeared before the Full Court of the Family Court of Australia, the Family Court of Australia, the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, the NSW Supreme Court and the Children’s Court of NSW in various Registries.

Claire has appeared in country sittings of the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia throughout NSW.

Claire regularly delivers Continuing Legal Education in family law covering various legal topics, including presentations for the Law Society of NSW, the College of Law and NSW Young Lawyers Family Law Seminars.

Claire was recently named by the Doyle’s Guide as one of the pre-eminent Family Law Junior Counsel in New South Wales and Australia and has contributed to the Council of Law Reporting for NSW Family Law project.

Paul Sansom SC



Profile

Paul has had a wealth of experience both within the Family Law Jurisdiction where he now practices exclusively (at trial and appellate level) and previously where he practiced widely in other areas such as crime, common law, equity, commercial, workers’ compensation and conveyancing, as a Solicitor from 1983 in both Sole Practice and as a Family Law Partner in a large suburban firm. Paul was called to the Bar in 1993.

Paul has for many years been a regular presenter of papers at various seminars and a co-author of the College of Law’ Advocacy syllabus within the Masters of Law course.

Paul spent almost twenty years at the Parramatta Bar before joining Waratah Chambers several years ago.

Paul was appointed Senior Counsel in 2015.

Paul was, for a number of years, the Honorary Solicitor for the Panthers Rugby League Team in the 1980’s and appeared regularly in that capacity before the Rugby League Judiciary.

Paul was also the President for a number of years of the Nepean Riding for Disabled and joint founder of their property alongside the M4 at St. Mary’s.

Paul is a serving member of the Bar sub-committees for Family Law and Professional Conduct.

Since his early days at the Bar, Paul has appeared in a number of significant reported decisions.

Paul is committed to providing the best possible service to clients and to Instructing Solicitors, as he is also committed to the wider principles applicable to practicing at the NSW Bar and to Pro Bono work in particular for those who are economically disadvantaged. He has been rated in Doyle’s Guide to the Legal Profession as a leading Family Law Senior Counsel barrister in NSW.

Michael Kearney SC



Profile

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.

Karen Beck




Profile

Karen was called to the Bar in 2013 after receiving 1st class honours in her Bachelor of Laws. She has practiced solely in family law since that time, appearing in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, the Family Court of Australia and the Full Court of the Family Court.

Karen brings to her practice a thorough understanding of family law issues. Her practice includes all areas of family law including property distribution, children’s matters and family violence. She regularly appears as Counsel for the Independent Children’s Lawyer.

With prior experience in the business world and MBA qualifications Karen has the necessary skills to deal with complex financial issues in property matters.

Catherine Spain



Profile

Catherine Spain graduated from Sydney University and was admitted as a solicitor in 1994. She was called to the Bar in 2012. Since that time she has practised exclusively in the area of family law.

Catherine appears regularly in both parenting and financial proceedings in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia and the Family Court of Australia throughout NSW.

Catherine was recently named by the Doyle’s Guide as one of the recommended Family & Divorce Law Junior Counsel in Australia.

Catherine has been a member of the New South Wales Bar Association Family Law Committee and a contributing editor to the Lexis Nexis Family Law Reports. Catherine has also published articles in the New South Wales Law Society Journal and presents CLE seminars to family law solicitors. Articles/presentations include:

NSW Law Society Journal: Child relocation – decision should not be unilateral, June 2013

Auslaw Family Law Conference: Practical aspects of relocation cases, November 2013

NSW Law Society Journal: Family Court confirms that the notion of special skills belongs in the past, July 2015

Auslaw Family Law Conference: International Child Abduction and the 60 Minutes Debacle, July 2016

Learned Friends Conference, London: Spousal maintenance claims – different jurisdictions, different approaches, September 2016

 

Stefan Schonell



Profile

Stefan Schonell was admitted as a solicitor in February 1998. He started his career at Mallesons Stephen Jaques (now King & Wood Mallesons) working in both their Sydney and London offices. After a number of years experience in the commercial sector he moved into family law.

Working almost exclusively in family law in both parenting and property matters, he has appeared in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, the Family Court of Australia, the Supreme Court of New South Wales and Full Court of the Family Court. His practice is not limited to appearing in Sydney, having appeared in the Family Court in Parramatta, Newcastle, Wollongong, Brisbane, Adelaide and Melbourne.

Given his commercial experience he is particularly suited to complex financial matters involving equity and the law of trusts.

Stefan is a member of the Australian Institute of Family Law Arbitrators and Mediators and holds AIFLAM accreditation as a mediator. He was called to the bar in May 2012.

Outside the law Stefan enjoys spending time with his family, travelling, snow skiing and keeping fit.

Christopher Othen



Profile

 

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.

Mary-Clare Kennedy



Profile

Mary-Clare Kennedy was admitted to practice as a solicitor in December 1994, she practiced exclusively in family law matters prior to coming to the Bar in November 2009.

Mary-Clare was an accredited family law practitioner and specializes in parenting and property matters.

Mary-Clare runs cases at first instance in both the Federal Circuit Court and the Family Court of Australia as well as Appeals before the Full Court of the Family Court.

She has experience and success in matter such as relocation, spouse maintenance, property settlement, Hague convention matters and all types of parenting matters.

Mary-Clare was recently named by the Doyle’s Guide as one of the recommended Family & Divorce Law Junior Counsel in Australia.

Esther Lawson



Profile

Esther Lawson was admitted to the NSW Bar in 2005.

Esther is a trained nationally accredited mediator and is a member of the Australian Institute of Family Law Arbitrators and Mediators (AIFLAM). She accepts briefs to appear as a mediator in parenting and property matters.

As a barrister, the majority of Esther’s practice is in the areas of family law, care and protection law and adoption law.

Recognised in 2022 by her peers in the Doyle’s Guide as a ‘preeminent’ barrister in parenting and children’s matters and a ‘leading’ barrister in general family law matters.

Recognised in 2021 by her peers in the Doyle’s Guide as a ‘leading’ barrister in parenting and children’s matters as well as a ‘leading’ barrister in general family law matters.

Recognised in 2020 by her peers in the Doyle’s Guide as a ‘preeminent’ barrister in parenting and children’s matters.

Recognised in 2019 and 2020 by her peers in the Doyle’s Guide as a ‘leading’ family law barrister.

Recognised in 2016, 2017, and 2018 by her peers in the Doyle’s Guide as a ‘recommended’ family law barrister.

Esther has appeared in the Full Court of the Family Court, the Family Court of Australia, the NSW Court of Appeal, the NSW Supreme Court and the NSW District Court. Esther has appeared led in the High Court of Australia in the decision of Masson and Parsons (2019)

Esther has regularly appeared on circuit in country sittings of the Family Court, the Federal Circuit Court and the District Court.

Over the years, Esther has sat on committees such as the Family Law Committee of the NSW Bar, the Children’s Court Advisory Committee, the Expert Working Committee on ADR in Care and Protection Proceedings, the Professional Conduct Committee of the NSW Bar, the Australian Bar Association Family Law Committee, the Legal Aid Committee of the NSW Bar and the Legal Aid Review Committee

Esther has presented a number of papers and lectures to the legal profession. A sample of which can be found below:

  • NSW Bar Association, Continuing Professional Development (CPD), Sydney,. ‘Mitigating and Managing Vicarious Trauma’: 2022
  • Legalwise Seminars; Expert Evidence in Parenting Proceedings, a comparison; Family Law, Care and Protection Law and Adoption; 2019
  • NSW Bar Association Reader’s Course: ‘An Introduction to Family Law’ 2019 (2 x per year)
  • NSW Bar Association, Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Parramatta, ‘Expert Evidence in Parenting Proceedings, a comparison: Family Law, Care and Protection Law and Adoption’: 2015
  • NSW Bar Association, Continuing Professional Development (CPD), Sydney, ‘Cultural Planning in Care and Protection Proceedings’: 2014
  • Crown Solicitors Office Annual Conference ‘Decision of TVK and its implications in Adoption Proceedings’: 2013
  • Joint author of ‘Care and Protection Chapter’, Lawyers Practice Manual NSW, Published by Thomsons: 2012
  • NSW Bar Association Reader’s Course: ‘Overview of the Care and Protection Jurisdiction’: 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 (2 x per year)
  • Legal Aid NSW Care and Protection Annual Conference, Guest Presenter: ‘Practice Standards in Care and Protection Proceedings’: 2011
  • Children’s Law Annual Conference, Guest Presenter: ‘Changes to Care and Protection Law’: 2009
  • Legal Aid NSW Care and Protection Annual Conference, Guest Presenter: ‘Changes to Care and Protection Law’: 2009
  • Brothers and Sisters In Law (BASIL) Annual Conference, Guest Presenter: ‘De facto Relationships’: 2009
  • Northern Beaches Annual Conference, Guest Presenter: ‘Contravention Proceedings’: 2008

Notable cases in which Esther has appeared in include:

 

  •  Masson and Parsons [2019]HCA 21 – concerning who is the parent in artificial insemination procedures
  • Seto & Poon [2021] FamCA 288 (11 May 2021) – concerning commercial surrogacy
  • Nadkarni & Nadkarni [20210 FamCAFC 160 (9 August 2011) – concerning the grounds for a judge to disqualify themselves
  • SB v Parramatta Children’s Court [2007] NSWSC 1297 – concerning the denial of procedural fairness / natural justice and the grounds for making care orders in care and protection proceedings
  • KF v Parramatta Children’s Court & Ors [2008] NSWSC 1131 – concerning the meaning of publication in care and protection proceedings

Stephen Gardiner



Profile

Mr Gardiner was called to the Bar in 2003. Since then he has developed an extensive practice in family law and related areas. He regularly conducts property matters in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia. His experience includes acting in proceedings for adjustment of interests in property for high wealth individuals. He has acted in matters concerning disputed disclosure and contested valuations and cases involving financial disputes between de facto and marital couples.

Mr Gardiner has also developed considerable experience in parenting and child welfare matters. He has appeared for parents, family members, carers, as counsel for independent representatives and for the state of NSW. He has extensive experience at both trial and appellate levels. Mr Gardiner has appeared in complex and urgent cases in the Supreme Court when it has invoked its parens patriae jurisdiction.

While Mr Gardiner’s primary area of practice is family law, he also practices in administrative and commercial law. He represents clients at mediations, informal settlement conferences, in courts and tribunals (both State and Federal) and on country circuits.

Before coming to the Bar, Mr Gardiner obtained degrees in Arts and Law at the Australian National University. He then worked for a Supreme Court Justice for a year then practiced at a national law firm for five years conducting litigation.

Mr Gardiner is a member of the NSW Bar Association and the Family Law Section of the Law Council of Australia.

David Dura SC



Profile

David Dura is a barrister at Waratah Chambers focusing predominantly in Family Law, including both parenting and property matters, following the breakdown of a marriage or de facto relationship.

David was admitted as a Solicitor in 1998 after completing the SAB whilst working as a Clerk in Family Law.

Following his admission as a Solicitor, David spent 4½ years practicing in a suburban Family Law firm before making the leap to join the Bar.

Admitted to the Bar in 2002, David first commenced practicing at Edmund Barton Chambers before joining Waratah Chambers as one its founding members in 2008.

David was appointed Senior Counsel in 2023.

David also has experience in ADVO matters and proceedings commenced under the Succession Act.

David was recently named by the Doyle’s Guide as one of the preeminent Family & Divorce Law Junior Counsel in Australia.

Trevor Tockar



Profile

Trevor Tockar completed his Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Cape Town in 1975. After working full-time as a karate instructor until 1981, he was admitted as an Advocate (Barrister) to the Cape Bar. In 1997 he was appointed as Senior Counsel for the Republic of South Africa, with his Letters Patent being signed by President Nelson Mandela. In 1998 he was appointed as an Acting Judge of the High Court (previously the Supreme Court) of South Africa and in 1999 received another appointment as Acting Judge.

In 2001 he moved to Australia and was admitted to practice as a Barrister in New South Wales, where he specialises in Family Law (parenting cases / international and local relocation / property adjustment / maintenance / international child abduction (Hague Convention) / forum issues (forum non conveniens) / de facto disputes).

Trevor has previously been an oral examiner (Civil Trials) in respect of the National Bar Examinations and an Arbitrator in Civil and Commercial Arbitration in South Africa.

Trevor is also very involved in the sport of karate, having represented South Africa at international level from 1973 to 1981 and having been coach of the South and Southern Africa Knockdown Karate Team from 1979 to 1999. Trevor is presently an Australian Branch Chief of the International Karate Organisation and operates a full-time dojo (karate club) in Bondi (see website: www.karatebondi.com)

Peter Batey



Profile

Peter was called to the Bar in 1981. Since admission he has practiced predominantly in the area of family law, throughout NSW, interstate and overseas. He is a founding member of Waratah Chambers.

Peter’s experience is vast in all areas of Family Law from parenting to complex financial matters, and he is a revered member of the NSW Bar taking many Readers under his wing during his time in practice including several of the current members of Waratah Chambers.

Peter’s areas of practice include the Family Court, Federal Circuit Court, Full Court of the Family Court (Appeals) and CTTT Building and Engineering disputes.

Peter is a member of the Australian Institute of Family Law Arbitrators and Mediators and holds AIFLAM accreditation as both a mediator and arbitrator. He is also a member of the Family Law Section of The Law Council of Australia and Chairperson and founding member of the Family Court Observation Watch.

Peter was recently named by the Doyle’s Guide as one of the preeminent Family Law Junior Counsel in Australia.