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This week, Gowland Legal are thrilled to announce their inclusion in the Final Review Paper into the Family Law System in Australia. Our Submission, written by our Associate Charlotte Sterling, was referenced on two occasions within the report, and was among the limited number of independent law firms acknowledged.

At the beginning of April, the Australian Law Reform Commission released their Final Review Paper into the Family Law System in Australia.

Gowland Legal are proud to announce that our Firm’s submission has been referenced on two occasions in this Final Report. We were the sole reference in the suggestion that the entitlement to urgent spousal maintenance be an overriding consideration in all family law decision making. We were referenced further in the suggestion that the entitlement to urgent spousal maintenance should expressly include family violence, particularly where the conduct contributed to the inability of that individual to be self-supporting.


In May 2017, the Turnbull Government announced its intention to instruct the ALRC to conduct the first comprehensive review into the Family Law system since its enactment in 1976. This purpose of such reform was to ensure that the family law system meets the contemporary needs of families in Australia, as well as prioritizing the need to address family violence.

Our Associate, Ms Charlotte Sterling, made a submission on behalf of Gowland Legal in August last year. Charlotte put a large amount of thought and consideration into this submission, drawing particularly on the everyday realities that we see in our office.

Reviewing our Submission

Based on our extensive experience with Domestic Violence matters in the Family Law System, some of the recommendations Gowland Legal made include the following;

a. That procedures are implemented early in the Court process to identify and asses risk in matters that involve domestic violence;

b. That the safety of children be the paramount consideration in Family Law matters;

c. That the Family Law System supports victims of Domestic Violence rather than victim-blaming;

These were among multiple other submissions made by Gowland Legal. On April 11, we received fantastic news that Gowland Legal’s submission had been referenced twice in the nationwide report. We were so thrilled to be individually cited in two sections of the report, as mentioned above.

Our submission was referenced by the ALRC in emphasizing the need to make the safety of children an overriding consideration in all family law decision making, as well as the suggestion that the entitlement to urgent spousal maintenance should expressly include family violence.

In a 581-page report, Gowland Legal was among the 200 references.  It was also among the small number of independent Law Firms referenced in the nationwide report.

Gowland Legal would like to congratulate Ms Charlotte Sterling in her cohesive, extensive and influential submission to the ALRC. As a Team, we are honoured to be included in this important report and look forward to observe the recommendations put into practice.

To view the ALRC Final Report Paper, please see the attached link below: