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Family law conference attracts international experts


Brigid Veale
3 April 2006
International experts in family law will be among the speakers at a one-day conference exploring the issues of contact and relocation and the role of children's views in the light of new family law initiatives under way in Australia.

The first Lady of the House of Lords, the Right Honourable Lady Justice Hale and the Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia, Justice Dianna Bryant will attend the Contact and Relocation – Focusing on the Children conference, being hosted by Southern Cross University's Centre for Children and Young People on May 1 in Byron Bay.

The impressive line-up of speakers also includes: Judge Peter Boshier, Family Court of New Zealand; Justice Linda Dessau, Family Court of Australia; Professor Richard Chisholm, University of Sydney; Mr Stephen Ralph, National Coordinator (Indigenous Programs) Mediation, Family Court of Australia; Dr Robin Sullivan, Director-General, Department of Child Safety, Queensland and Dr Nicola Taylor, Children's Issues Centre, University of Otago.

Associate Professor Anne Graham, director of the Centre for Children and Young People, said the conference would focus on the implications of the family law reforms under way in Australia for child-centred practice.

"The conference will look at the benefits and challenges of involving children in decision making and strategies for promoting the participation of children in decision making across different services," Professor Graham said.

The sessions will cover a range of topics including: the implications of recent family law initiatives and proposed reforms for child-centred practice; the role of Family Court in promoting children's participation in decision making in contact and relocation matters; issues for regional and rural children; and lessons learned from overseas.

A hypothetical hosted by Damien Carrick, from the ABC Law Report, will look at best practice for a child inclusive family law system and issues such as family violence and Indigenous children.

"We hope to address some of the challenges that exist for practising child-focused family law. Very rarely are professionals and caseworkers working with children in family law offered the opportunity to participate in forums that bring together such a diversity of distinguished guests," Professor Graham said.

Registrations are now being taken for the conference. For information visit the website at or contact Wendy Britt on 66203605 or email [email protected]