QLD Direct brief final trial FCA barrister

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Jake Matherson

Well-Known Member
15 June 2018
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Hey everyone.

I am approaching Final Trial in FCA and have been self repping with some lawyer help along the way.

The chances of settling before Final Trial are improving as the ex has sunk herself in just about every way imaginable.

We have an ICL.

Current Interim Court Orders are child lives with dad 100% and has sole parental responsibility.
Mother gets a weekly phone call and supervised visits at a contact centre.

I am unfamiliar with the in's and out's of a Final Trial.
My trial would be minimum two days possibly three
Evidence from Me, Ex, ICL, Family Report/writer, Psychiatrist Report/writer and one other witness.

Final Order sought would be essentially what we have now. Sole parental and Supervised form Mother.

To get to my question.
I have the option to direct brief a Barrister and use their service for the Final Trial without the need to also employ a Solictor to save costs.

I am on top of all of my paperwork and can handle myself in the court room no worries.
The ex's paperwork is not worth toilet paper and wont be able to prepare a solid case inside the court room.

Any advice on how important a Barrister at Final Trial will be against an extremely weak case from the opposing side. Or am I better off saving the $$$$ and handling it myself.
 

sammy01

Well-Known Member
27 September 2015
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will the ex have legal representation?
I'd suggest you get back to us once you've got the family report writer report and ICL recommendations.
What reason have you got for asking for sole parental responsibility?
 

Jake Matherson

Well-Known Member
15 June 2018
220
29
659
Hey @sammy01
No. The ex would be legal aid funded at best. But I suspect they wont fund a Trial.

two Family Reports completed, potential for a third before final trial but not confirmed.
July 2019 Family report recommendations:
  1. I am of the view that child be placed solely in fathers care. In relation to child's time with the mother, it is my view that there is no point continuing to attempt supervised time when the ex is unable to comply with the basics"
  2. The viability of supervised time at present is contentious given the possibility that she could attend in a drug affected state or be inconsistent in her attendance. I don't think it's in the interests of her attachment with the child if she is unable to fully attend such time between them.
Psych report
February 2019
"Dad does not require psychiatric treatment for a mental disorder or mental illness"
"The mother needs intensive psychiatric treatment" "It is fair to state given the accumulative issues above that this treatment plan could take 5 years in all to be given a fair chance of success"

What reason have you got for asking for sole parental responsibility?
  1. Father has complied with all Orders, drug testing, alcohol testing, parental courses thus far.
  2. Mother has ignored every Order, test, course thus far.
  3. Since beginning Family Court process Mother's mental health has deteriorated (suicide attempts, drug use)
  4. Since beginning Family Court process Mother has been investigated by child services. They would step in should the Mother be in charge of a child as documented in reports.
  5. Since beginning Family Court process Mother has consistently accumulated serious criminal charges in a number of city's and has spent the last 6 weeks in Jail currently awaiting sentencing.
  6. It has been what I asked for in my initiating application per my legal advise at the time and it appears to be what all of the other professionals think i should be doing.
All of the above contained in reports/subpoena material and highlighted in my affidavits where appropriate.
 

Jake Matherson

Well-Known Member
15 June 2018
220
29
659
Oh and current Interim Orders entered by consent in December 2019

Father has sole parental responsibility.
Child lives with Father.
Fortnightly supervised visits for mother at a contact centre(now suspended due to non attendance).
Weekly face time phone call for mother(now suspended due to non attendance).
 

Jake Matherson

Well-Known Member
15 June 2018
220
29
659
10 months no contact. Her own choice as she was instructed/Ordered to sign up to a contact centre and never did.
It all became too much for her and we signed consent orders early December 2019.
She had her first visit with child late December 2019.
Then all of her pre-existing police troubles caught up with her and got herself locked up before she could attend her second 1 hour visitation.

So 1 hour of supervised visit in 11 months.
6 face time phone calls. in 11 months.

Essentially I'm trying to work out if I fork out another ~$10k to have Counsel at Final Trial to take care of it all as there isn't a lot of people on here sharing stories of actually going to trial and what's involved.

Not sure what to expect, how much work I would need to do to run the trial myself.

Or how much I will benefit from having the legal knowledge of barrister when the ex will have such a weak case. I should be able to handle it.
 

sammy01

Well-Known Member
27 September 2015
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561
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Oh wow - fair bet she won't show? and you'll be throwing $10K at a barrister for nothing.

Jake based on the advice you've given here over the time you've been on this site I reckon you've learnt lots and have a good head on your shoulders.

I have avoided court. Only just... I've always thought if I had to I'd self rep on some stuff, like if she witheld the kids, or an argument about schools etc etc. But not the whole "lives with' and 'spends time with' bit.... BUT... My ex is a visible presence. No criminal / or recent drug history.

I guess my thinking is what does $10k mean to you? does it mean having to fly economy and stay in 4 star when you go to Bali this year? or does it mean you can't afford a new (second hand car) if the current 15 year old tarago finally dies?

But I'm sure you've read lots of cases and spent a fair amount of time inside court so you're about as equiped as anyone could be to self rep... Granted the stakes are high BUT the other party seems to be so far removed from the kid's life that the only thing you might see is that you don't get full sole parental responsibility but you'll get an order for the child to spend time with mum by mutual agreement BUT even that I reckon is a stretch...

My thinking - what is the worst a logical thinking magistrate can do? how bad can they really stuff this up?

Keen to hear how you go.
 

Jake Matherson

Well-Known Member
15 June 2018
220
29
659
As I mentioned at the start, the likelihood of settling before Trial has improved in recent times as she is finally giving up.
But she has showed up to every Family Court hearing despite being in no way prepared. No affidavits, no general knowledge of how proceedings will run etc.
I suspect that albeit unprepared she would still attend Trial.

I explain it this way, my ex needs someone (court, child services etc..) to take the child away from her. She can't just sign on the dotted line and make things easier. Instead she drags her heels and let's the system draw it out while she self destructs.

Under normal circumstances I would just be flying economy with no breakfast in bed.
However unfortunately there is still the little ongoing matter of mine in the Magistrates Court for a serious DV/Crim case based on the ex's lies two years ago when all this started. Police pressing charges and not the ex.
Paying the lawyers over there will keep me broke for some time yet.

This has been the fly in the ointment that has plagued me over the past two years.
No matter how good I look on paper everywhere else that matter is still not finalised and no doubt it would ease the mind of the Family Court Judge if it was finished.
This is something the services of a Barrister might help smooth over. But do I need an additional $10k worth of smoothing over that is what i'm trying to work out.

If Trial is just going to be won/lost/decided based on all of the paperwork put forward I can probably go it alone.

Appreciate your input as always.
 

sammy01

Well-Known Member
27 September 2015
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561
2,894
does the dv/ crime look like you're facing jail time if found guilty? Maybe put your $$$ into defending that? OR what about a guilty plea? if it isn't gonna see you go to jail? But not enough detail so I'm working on way too many assumptions.
 

Jake Matherson

Well-Known Member
15 June 2018
220
29
659
Essentially yeah I must defend it and not enter a guilty plea due to the potential jail time associated with the charges.

Typical clichè but innocent bloke here just trying to clear his name so currently all money is spent on defending DV/Crim paying the lawyers while QLD Police just keep dragging it out longer and longer despite all the evidence to throw it out because allegedly a woman was the victim in all this.

There is no option not to defend it. Being 100% Dad there's no way I can afford to not be there for the child if anything else.

Just throwing out random figures.

Let's say I have $50k to spend defending that matter which I need to find from somewhere in the coming year or two as I don't have it.

Will $10k invested in a barrister for Family Court trial be worth it? (I can find the money if I have to)

I guess my questions are quite specific to my own circumstances and that's why I was just trying to get a feel for other people experiences going the distance and hitting up a full trial.

They might say a barrister would be invaluable given the amout of case law that was brought up or the way submissions / cross examination / entering of evidence was handled.

Or they might say no it's a waste of money if you're on top of your game which I am.