Geoff Sinclair is a principal in our Family Law team and is based in the Brisbane office. He is a Queensland Law Society Accredited Family Law Specialist.
‘I began my career in a suburban law firm in Brisbane. It was a good grounding for me because I gained experience in a broad range of areas, including commercial law, family law, criminal law, defamation and insolvency. When I joined Barry.Nilsson. in 1988, I decided to specialise in family law. I liked it because not only is it about people, but you need to have a good understanding of commercial issues, especially trusts, property and tax. I suppose you could say that family law is interdisciplinary, because a good family lawyer understands how those other branches of the law intersect with it, and uses that knowledge to get the best result for their client.’
Geoff is highly regarded by his clients for his ability to negotiate complex property settlements.
‘I think what distinguishes me and my colleagues at Barry.Nilsson. from many other lawyers working in family law is that we’re very pragmatic and don’t simply follow the process. I know that clients don’t want to have to pay their lawyers a vast amount of money, so I’m very focused on quickly identifying the problems and drawing out the key issues in any case I’m working on and trying to fix those, rather than spending time on the extraneous matters. In addition, I approach every matter strategically. I also make sure I treat everyone as an individual, because every case – every situation – I work on is different. Finally, I never sugar-coat an advice. I’m totally up-front with my clients. That’s important in family law.’
Geoff’s broad experience and expertise in family law is reflected in his contributions to CCH Australian Family Law and Practice (Essentials) and LexisNexis Practical Guidance Family Law. Over the years, he has published many articles on both family law and bankruptcy law.
Geoff has a particular interest in child abduction law, including its international aspects, and has published widely on this topic. As a result, he has developed a reputation, both in Australia and overseas, as an expert in the area. Geoff is a regular point of contact for media enquiries regarding child abduction matters. He is also was one of the contributing authors to the International Parental Child Abduction Handbook published by the Family Law Section of the Law Council of Australia, with the support of the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department.
Respected for his extensive knowledge, technical skills and practical experience, Geoff was appointed as a part-time commissioner of the Australian Law Reform Commission’s review of the family law system. He is a former Chair of the Board of the World Congress of Family Law and Children’s Rights, where he was responsible for leading the 2017 Congress in Dublin. Geoff is also a former Chair, and Executive Member, of the Family Law Section of the Law Council of Australia and former Treasurer, and Director, of the Australian Institute of Family Law Arbitrators and Mediators (AIFLAM). Geoff is a Fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers. He is also a Mediator.
Geoff is listed in the 2014 to 2021 editions of Doyle's Guide as one of Australia’s Leading Family & Divorce Lawyers. In the 2021 edition Geoff was recognised as a Preeminent Family & Divorce Lawyer and Family Lawyer for high-value and complex property matters. He has also been recognised in the 2017 to 2021 editions of Best Lawyers for Family Law and Family Law Mediation.
‘One thing we’re very concerned about at Barry.Nilsson. is preserving our culture. It’s the core of our practice. The Barry.Nilsson. philosophy is very simple. We’re a committed group of people who are focused on what we want to achieve for our clients and the firm. We’re no-nonsense and we’re pragmatic. We like each other as people and respect each other as professionals. And we’re dedicated to providing outstanding legal advice to our clients.
- Commissioner (part-time), Australian Law Reform Commission, Review of the Family Law System, 2017-2019
- Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, Member, Australian Chapter, 2015-current
- Chair, World Congress on Family Law and Children’s Rights, 2013-2017
- International Academy of Family Lawyers, Fellow, 2005-current
- Australian Institute of Family Law Arbitrators and Mediators, Treasurer, 2006-2008, Director, 2003-2008, Member, 1990-current
- Family Law Section, Law Council of Australia, Chair, 2008-2011, Executive Member, 2002-2018, Member, 1988-current
- Family Law Practitioners Association of Queensland, Secretary 1991-93, Member, 1988-current
- Bachelor of Laws
- Accredited Family Law Specialist (Queensland Law Society)