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Duress in the Family Context

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Why are we talking and thinking about Duress?

Family Lawyers are often social first responders.  We carry the canary in the underground mine. We experience real life society as it evolves while being required to interpret that experience on the delayed response of judicial interpretation.

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Why are we talking and thinking about Duress?

Family Lawyers are often social first responders.  We carry the canary in the underground mine. We experience real life society as it evolves while being required to interpret that experience on the delayed response of judicial interpretation.

Recently many of us got to breathe a sigh of relief when the High Court called ( sounds like fowl but isn’t) on a Binding Financial Agreement that didn’t pass the ordinary sniff test: didn’t smell right to anyone.

Reading all three decisions of the Trial Judge, the Full Court and the High Court reminded me that we can’t always pin point which of the suite of equitable concepts we are dealing with or more often, not dealing with.

As a result, I have focussed this presentation on one of equitable concepts: Duress.

My aim is to refresh your memories on the concept, where and how it is used in the Family Law Act and its importance in our work.

Interestingly it is also a social time when a reflection on power and its misuse it being fore fronted in the real world of relationships where Family Lawyers reside.

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About your Speaker

Kay was admitted to the legal profession in 1985, became an accredited specialist in 1999, founded Feeney Family Law in 2011 and has been a highly regarded member of the family law community for years. Specialising in more complex child custody and property settlement matters, she combines unrivalled technical expertise with strategic, lateral thinking, and a unique talent for coaching clients into more disciplined, productive behaviours.

She is comfortable working in a power imbalance – both standing up for people herself, and helping them stand up for themselves. She has the communication skills of a teacher, and won’t be outsmarted or intimidated by anyone.

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