Australia

The Hon. Michelle May AM QC

Michelle has over 39 years of dispute resolution experience in Family Law; with 21 years serving as a Judge of the Family Court of Australia and later in the Appeal Division of the Family Court of Australia. Michelle has been involved in many complex financial and children’s cases at an advocate and at judicial level, both in trials and appeals.
Michelle was appointed Queens Counsel in 1993 and was the first barrister with a predominately family law practice to achieve that level of seniority in Queensland. She has been variously involved in committees relating to family law at state, national and international levels.
Michelle was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in the General Division in the 2017 Queen’s Birthday Honours List in recognition for significant service to the law, judicial administration and professional associations.

The Hon. Peter Rose AM QC

The Hon. Peter Rose served for approximately 13 years as a Family Court Judge before retiring from the Bench in 2011. As a judge, he delivered a number of judgments which resolved questions of international law. Prior to his appointment to the Court, he was a leading Queens Counsel, specializing in family law cases. He appeared as senior counsel in many complex cases with international legal issues. He is an Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Sydney and lectures regularly at other universities including the University of New South Wales, the College of Law, China University of Political Science and Law, Renmin University of China and Tsinghua University, Beijing.

Peter Rose has served as the Chair of the Advisory Committee on Advanced Legal Education for the College of Law, and as an honorary consultant to the Australian and NSW Law Reform Commissions. He has also been a member of the Family Law Council and an executive member of the Family Law Section of the Law Council of Australia. He was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2014. He is an experienced arbitrator and mediator.

Canada

Phil Epstein QC

Phil is a Senior Partner in the firm of Epstein, Cole LLP, in Toronto.  He was the former Head of the Family Law Section of the Bar Admissions Course, 1983-1996; a Dispute Resolution Officer of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice; a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers;  recipient of the 1998 Award of Excellence in Family Law from the Ontario Bar Association; Recipient of the 2012 Award of Excellence in Alternate Dispute Resolution from the Ontario Bar Association and the Law Society of Upper Canada Medal in 1999. Mr Epstein was a member of both the Child Support Guidelines Committee and the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines Committee of the Federal Department of Justice.  He is the Co-Author and Editor-In-Chief – Separation Agreement Annotated,  Editor-in-Chief of the Reports of Family Law (Carswell) and the author of the National Family Law News Letter “This Week in Family Law” (eCarswell).  Phil is a Certified Family Arbitrator by the ADR Institute and an Accredited Family Mediator by the Ontario Association for Family Mediation.  He carries on a very active practice in Mediation/Arbitration and lectures extensively throughout Canada to Continuing Education Programmes and the National Judicial Institute.

England

Sir Paul Coleridge

Sir Paul served as a Judge of the Family Division of the High Court from 2000 to 2014. Prior to this he had nearly thirty years’ experience at the Bar. He took Silk in 1993. He is extremely experienced in international family law cases.

David Hodson OBE MCIArb

David is a family law dispute resolution specialist with a particular specialisation in international cases.  He is a English solicitor, mediator, family arbitrator, Deputy (part time) District Judge at the Central Family Court, London and an Australian (NSW) solicitor and barrister.  He is practising in London, England and Sydney, Australia.  He is a partner and co-founder of The International Family Law Group LLP, the world’s first law firm specifically dedicated to serving international families and their children and families with international, foreign assets.  He was appointed OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in June 2014 for “services to international family law”.

Suzanne Kingston MCIArb

Suzanne is an English solicitor, who qualified in 1986 and is a partner at Withers Worldwide.  She is widely known for her expertise in all aspects of family work, in particular the resolution of complex financial issues for high net worth individuals. Suzanne’s cases often have an international element and she has considerable experience in dealing with prenuptial agreements and cohabitation issues. She is an accredited mediator and collaborative lawyer.  Suzanne has spearheaded the Arbitration Training for family lawyers and is herself an accredited arbitrator.

She was voted Family Lawyer of the Year at the Spear’s Wealth Management Awards 2015 and Lawyer of the Year Award at the Magic Circle Awards for Citywealth 2016.

Tim Scott QC MCIArb

Tim is a QC at 29 Bedford Row Chambers, specialising in international family law. He is regularly instructed by leading firms in cases with an international dimension concerning both finance and children. He also has wide experience in drafting international pre- and post-nuptial agreements and advises on the nuptial aspect of trusts.  He has appeared in numerous reported cases, including in both the House of Lords and the Supreme Court. He is accustomed to and enjoys working alongside foreign lawyers and regularly gives expert evidence on English law in other jurisdictions. Tim has particular expertise in the EU Regulations affecting English family law and has played the leading role in drafting the Bar Council’s response to various EU initiatives.  He is an arbitrator.

Sir Peter Singer MCIArb

Sir Peter served as a Judge of the Family Division of the High Court from 1993-2010. Throughout 18 years on the Family Division bench Sir Peter heard and determined family cases of every description, many with an international dimension, including forum disputes. Since retiring from the full-time judiciary he has combined frequent spells sitting as a Deputy with private practice as a Family Dispute Resolution Facilitator.

Prior to his appointment as a judge, he practiced at the Bar for 25 years. He was appointed QC in 1987. His practice was virtually exclusively on family cases with an emphasis on matrimonial finance, throughout England and Wales but also abroad (at first instance and on appeal) in Hong Kong and the Cayman Islands.

He was Chairman of the Family Law Bar Association from 1991 to 1993, and has served as the Vice-President of the European Chapter of the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (now renamed the International Academy of Family Lawyers).

Sir Peter’s French is fluent and he speaks and reads conversational German.

Sir Mathew Thorpe

The Rt. Hon. Sir Mathew Thorpe is a former Lord Justice of Appeal (England and Wales). He served as a judge of the  Family Division of the High Court from 1988-1995 and from 1995-2013 on the Court of Appeal. From 2005-2013 he was Vice-President of the Family Division and the inaugural Head of International Family Law. Sir Mathew handed down the majority of leading judgments in family appeals between 2000 and 2013, particularly those concerning international family law and matrimonial finance.

Sir Mathew has a worldwide reputation for his work in international family law and particularly in promoting co-operation between nations on family law matters.  He proposed the creation of the International Hague Network of Judges at the de Ruwenberg Conference in 1998 and successfully campaigned for its growth and development. He initiated the Germanophone/Anglophone Family Law Conference in 1997, the Commonwealth/Common Law Family Law Conferences in and after 2000 and Francophone/Anglophone Conference in 2003. In 2010 he launched the Association of International Judges at the Brussels Conference. He chaired the Expert Group on the European Judicial Network which has drafted and published the Best Practice Guide to Proceedings under the 1980 Hague Convention and Article II of Regulation Brussels II BiS.

Sir Mathew is a qualified mediator and has a Certificate in Family Arbitration (Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, 2012).

 

New Zealand

Anita Chan QC

Anita Chan QC is one of New Zealand’s leading family lawyers. Her practice is in complex cases, with a particular emphasis on cases involving international issues (parties or property overseas, international child abduction, international prenuptial agreements, and disputes over forum).

Anita has presented papers on a diverse range of family law topics nationally and internationally, including in Brisbane, Adelaide, Seoul, Shanghai, Capetown, Vancouver, Singapore, Buenos Aires and Budapest.

She is the author of the chapter of New Zealand Family Law in “Family Law – Jurisdictional Comparisons” published by Thomson Reuters UK.  She is a Fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers (IAFL) (London). Within the Academy, Anita has held the offices of Governor, Parliamentarian, Counsel and Vice-President.

Scotland

Rachael Kelsey

Rachael is a founding Director of SKO Family Law Specialists, the largest niche family law firm in Scotland.  She is one of only 3 ranked solicitors in Scotland in the current edition of the Legal 500- the only woman and person under 50. She is accredited as a Specialist in Family Law and as a Family Mediator by the Law Society of Scotland and is Secretary of the International Academy of Family Lawyers (IAFL). She was co-opted as a member of the Committee of the Scottish Branch of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CiArb) in 2015.

Many of her cases have international or intra-UK jurisdictional issues, an area of specialism for which she is particularly well known and in respect of which she has built up a UK-wide practice. In 2016 Rachael was appointed for a period of 3 years to the Family Law Committee of the Scottish Civil Justice Council. She is a FLAGS (Family Law Arbitration Group Scotland) Arbitrator and trainer and was the first person to act as Arbitrator under the FLAGS scheme. She has trained arbitrators in South Africa and is working with practitioners in a number of other jurisdictions who are keen to develop their own family law arbitration models. She is past Chair of the Family Law Association.

South Africa

The Hon Belinda van Heerden

Belinda van Heerden served as a Judge of the Cape High Court from 2000 to 2004. She was thereafter appointed to the Supreme Court of Appeal of South Africa where she served until her retirement in 2013. She also served as an acting Judge of the Constitutional Court of South Africa in 2006. During her 14 years on the Bench, she heard and decided many and varied family and child law cases, including international matters and forum disputes. She also represented South Africa on the International Hague Network of Judges from 2008 to 2014.

Prior to her appointment to the Bench, she was a leading academic at the Universities of Stellenbosch and Cape Town, specialising in family law and child law. She has authored several books on child and family law and has published numerous articles in these areas. From 1997 to 1999 she led the South African Law Reform Commission team that researched and drafted a new and revolutionary Children’s Act for South Africa. She also practised as a director of a law firm for four years. Since her retirement, sh has become an Honorary Professor of the several South African universities of Pretoria and an Honorary Fellow at Brasenose College, Oxford University. She still publishes regularly in the field of international family law.

United States

Melissa Kucinski

Melissa Kucinski is the owner of MK Family Law, a boutique family law firm in Washington, D.C.  She is an adjunct law professor at the George Washington University School of Law, teaching International Family Law.  In 2013, she consulted for the Hague Conference on Private International Law on the 1980 Hague Abduction and 1996 Hague Child Protection Conventions.  Melissa also serves as a member of the U.S. Department of State’s Advisory Committee on Private International Law and a fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers.  She chaired a task force within the American Bar Association that designed and offered the only U.S. international family mediator training to date.  She has also trained mediators in Tokyo to mediate cases under the 1980 Convention.   Melissa was designated among the Best Lawyers of America by her peers for 2018.  She has received awards from the American Bar Association for her dedication to projects that help educate lawyers in the field of international and cross-jurisdictional family law.  Melissa is also a trained mediator, collaborative lawyer, and child’s counsel.

Kathy S. Root

Kathy is a lawyer with Gevurtz Menashe in Portland, Oregon. She is leading authority on interstate and international custody disputes and provides legal advice and representation in cases involving international family law issues. A powerful litigator and tireless advocate for the interests of families and children, she has a special interest in contested child custody and parenting time disputes. Kathy has substantial experience representing clients in divorce and legal separation cases, including those involving child custody, child and spousal support, and complex property division issues. Kathy has a strong commitment to helping clients through turbulent times by providing reliable legal information and advice focused on each client’s needs and desire to find a better future. She has focused her practice on family law for 31 years. A member of the Oregon State Bar Family Law Section, she served for three years on its Executive Committee. She previously served as Chair of the Oregon State Bar’s Procedure And Practice Committee and is a former President of the Oregon Academy Of Family Law Practitioners. Kathy is now Chair of the International Law Committee of the American Bar Association’s Family Law Section. Kathy is a past Board member of Oregon Women Lawyers and Oregon Women Lawyers Foundation and is a current member of the Foundation’s Advisory Board.