Case study: Father changes his mind about his consent orders

Dr Maree Livermore
Founder & CEO

A self-represented Harry appealed against his own property and parenting ‘consent orders’, being orders that he had earlier signed-off on to end his litigation with Amber. Harry argued, firstly, that the consent orders were unfair, and secondly, that his lawyers had pressured him to agree to them.

The court rejected Harry’s appeal, saying that the substance of consent orders can’t be challenged on appeal, and that lawyers have a duty to encourage their clients to compromise and to settle disputes—and that if they didn’t, litigation would never end. The court made it clear that pressure to compromise is different from a lawyer overbearing the will of a client, or acting counter to the client’s instructions in making an agreement on the client’s behalf.

Harry was ordered to pay $10,000 for Amber’s legal fees for the appeal within three months.

Melville & Melville (No. 3) [2020] FamCAFC 231 (18 September 2020)

Names in this Case Study have been changed.