The Sydney Morning Herald recently reported of a family’s heartbreak when they learned their recently deceased 31 year old son’s estate would not go to them but instead, would go to his former wife. His estate included a house, superannuation and a death benefit.
As a solicitor working extensively in family law, clients often ask me about remarks made by their former partner, or a proxy for their former partner, which remarks the client regards to be defamatory. Sometimes these remarks are published in social media. I have been shown evidence from social media of such statements. The first thing to note, is that if proceedings are on foot under the Family Law Act, then the Family Law Act specifically makes it an offence to publish an account of the proceedings, where ‘publish’ has a wide reading in its application. The second thing to note is the clear evidentiary hurdle of proving the author of such material. Third, and now more even more interesting, are recent jurisprudential developments as highlighted in the following piece published in the Guardian: “Facebook defamation: man wins lawsuit over estranged wife’s domestic violence post.” [02.01.2015]
I recently wrote a blog about a recent decision of the Full Court of the Family Court, in which one of the issues for determination was the Taxation Commissioner’s access to the parties’ family law pleading statements. The decision is reported as Commissioner of Taxation & Darling  FamCAFC 59.
I wrote a blog previously about the recent High Court hearing in Honeysett’s case, a case concerning circumstantial identification and expert opinion evidence.
Judgement has now been delivered and the High Court has ordered:
Mr Honeysett’s conviction quashed; and
A new trial be had.