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The charitable cause driving an award-winning barrister

The impact and trauma caused by parental separation, Melbourne-based barrister Darren Mort says, is often not given enough weight, despite the best of intentions. He is looking to change that.

user iconJerome Doraisamy 19 September 2022 The Bar
The charitable cause driving an award-winning barrister
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In conversation with Lawyers Weekly, Victorian barrister Darren Mort — who recently won the Barrister of the Year category at the 2022 Australian Law Awards — said that the consequences of parental separation are, at times, not understood, or it loses focus in the litigation arena, “where priorities become skewed”.

To Be Loved Network (a charitable organisation of which he is a director) is aiming to move the needle on this, having been formed to give children a voice navigating family separation whilst going through the Family Court or Federal Circuit Court.

“I am so proud of the pro bono work we do for kids and I believe it is critically important we need to look through the lens of the child, or children, that we have the best hope for positive change,” Mr Mort proclaimed.


The success achieved with the organisation thus far, he reflected, has not occurred overnight.

“It has been hard work, performed pro bono, where I have had to rely on the generosity of practitioners, psychologists, and other generous bodies to support and share my vision. Particularly, I have had recent support in the United States, with the inclusion of our film, TOMMY, in the High Conflict Module, wherein judges will soon be able to order parents to watch our award-winning film.

“This has involved judges and court officials sharing in my vision, which has given me great heart. It is a huge step forward to making a difference where it counts.

“Our Chief Justice has also been very supportive of my pro bono work with the To Be Loved Network and I am always grateful for the court’s support,” he said.

Mr Mort is excited, he said, about what the future holds — not just with his own work, but for the organisation.

“I have just written a new novel on international child abduction, ‘Isla’s Song’. I am hoping to have it optioned by a film production company. I have another children’s book about to be launched, ‘Millie and her Magic Puppet Show’, which focuses on child trauma,” he listed.

“We are also collaborating with Monash University developing a children’s APP, focussing on the Family Court and mindfulness. My court work is very busy as well as mentoring undergraduate law students and graduate lawyers highlighting the merits of giving children a voice.

“My creativity has intersected my professional life at the crossroads and the powerful platform of media has been the catalyst to effect real change for kids giving them a voice navigating the challenges of family breakdown.”

The charitable work, Mr Mort noted, cannot be undertaken by the existing team alone, however.

“To Be Loved Network is always looking for volunteers who are happy to roll their sleeves up and get involved with what we do. We would love to speak with all ranks in the legal profession, from judges, solicitors, barristers, and law clerks,” he said.

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