Watch Rodney interviewed in a 55 minute presentation on recent developments in family provision cases
I graduated from the University of NSW with degrees in Commerce and Law in 1985 and then from the University of California at Berkeley with a Masters of Law. I worked for a High Court judge, taught legal subjects at university, worked in London and was employed at a big city law firm (Freehills). I have been a full time barrister in Sydney since 1989. I provide continuing legal education lectures to the legal profession. I worked closely with many of the judges when they were barristers and understand how they approach cases.
If you have a will dispute, contest about a will or other legal problem, I will assess your case on a no obligation basis and refer you to an experienced solicitor who can file the papers necessary to start your case. He or she will then send me a brief to represent you in preparing your case and appear at mediation and any final court hearing. All fee arrangements will be in writing and agreed between us. Sometimes it is possible to wait until the outcome of the case before you are required to pay legal fees. It is also possible to obtain an order in some cases that your legal expenses be paid from the estate.
Most cases are resolved at mediation or by informal settlement discussions before a final hearing. Settlements or final decisions by a judge can result in a family member or other person receiving a share of a contested estate or a lump sum, and reimbursement of some or all of their legal costs.
I have been a practicing barrister since 1989. The most important qualities for a barrister are judgement and the ability to provide sound cost-effective advice. My skill is in assessing the strengths and weaknesses of a case, and advising on strategy. Knowing when to settle and when to fight is critical.
I provide realistic advice, and settle over 75% of the cases in the wills and estates area. As an accredited mediator, I understand the value of a negotiated settlement and when is the right time to engage in that process.
I have appeared in the Local, District, Supreme, Court of Appeal, Federal Circuit, Federal and High Courts. You can read publicly available judgements in well over 100 cases in which I have appeared.
This website provides information about wills and estates litigation, in particular contesting or challenging wills, including by seeking “family provision” orders under the Succession Act. I have been appearing in cases of this type for over 20 years. They require experienced counsel because the outcomes can be very difficult to predict. That is because there are many judges who hear the cases, and the result has a strong discretionary, or subjective element to it.
The judges have called the process of decision in these cases ” a multi-faceted evaluative judgment” , “an intuitive assessment” and one which is “inexact, non-scientific”. It is only experienced lawyers, who do these cases regularly, who can confidently advise on the likely range of outcomes. There are typically several new cases decided every week. I review every new case as it is published.
It is also critical to be well advised because the party “losing” may to be ordered to pay the winner’s legal costs, as well as their own. I appear for people challenging wills but also for executors defending them.