Goodbye job applications, hello dream career
Seize control of your career and design the future you deserve with LW career

Qld lawyer reprimanded for revealing party in domestic violence matter

A Queensland lawyer has been penalised for identifying a man and his children as a party in domestic violence proceedings.

user iconNaomi Neilson 11 August 2023 Big Law
expand image

In an email to 20 colleagues and friends, the lawyer – who cannot be named given the sensitives of the matter – not only disclosed the party’s details but also attached an affidavit with more personal details.

The lawyer, who was the director of a firm until last June, was representing the other party in the proceedings at the time. The client was also his daughter, with the lawyer explaining in the email that he did not have “a few grand to spend on legal fees”.

The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal found the conduct amounted to unsatisfactory professional conduct and handed down a public reprimand, fined him $1,500 and ordered that the lawyer undertake a domestic and family violence education course.


“It was … a dereliction of professional duty in relaying the contents of the email to friends and colleagues in the context of highly sensitive and personal matters,” Justice Danielle Brown said.

The email had been sent under the subject line “some spare time reading” and informed the recipients an application for a domestic violence order against the man had been withdrawn.

He added he had a “fiery exchange” with the magistrate and said he walked out when a request for a cross-application was denied.

The lawyer also attached a link to the magistrate’s staff profile.

Inside the affidavit written by his daughter was further personal information about his daughter and his grandchildren.

“While the domestic violence proceedings had come to an end by that stage, that disclosure showed a significant lack of professional judgment in revealing such content and in not investigating whether such disclosure was permissible,” Justice Brown said.

The lawyer told QCAT he had been “significantly stressed by work and personal matters” at the time he sent the email, including concern for his daughter and anger at her ex-husband.

After the Legal Services Commissioner became involved, the lawyer sent a second email to the same recipients informing them that the original email was “inappropriate” and asked them to delete it and inform him if they had sent it to anyone else.