The Hon Colin Forrest SC

Roma Mitchell Chambers

Level 4 Quay Central
95 North Quay
Brisbane QLD 4000

Ph: 07 3236 3965

Areas of Practice

  • Barrister
  • Mediator
  • Arbitrator


Colin Forrest

I have returned to practice at the Bar having recently left the service of the Family Court of Australia after having served as a Trial Judge of that Court for a decade. I am principally offering my services as an Arbitrator or as a Mediator in all family law disputes, but also as a mediator in other areas of law such as succession, administrative law, and anti-discrimination law. I will also accept instructions to appear as Senior Counsel in coronial inquests, and boards or commissions of inquiry.

I will only accept instructions from solicitors and not on a direct access briefing basis from litigants who do not have legal representation. There are very suitable mediation and arbitration facilities in this building, as well as in the Inns of Court building next door. However, I am prepared to travel anywhere in Australia to conduct mediations or arbitrations.

My Qualifications and Experience

I graduated from the University of New South Wales with degrees in Arts and in Law which I completed in 1986. For my Arts Degree, I majored in Industrial Relations, but also studied Political Science, Philosophy and German. Before completing university, I had three separate gap years studying and working in Germany, Japan, and the Northern Territory respectively. I still retain reasonable fluency in German and can speak some Japanese. In the Northern Territory, I spent a lot of time working with and relating to indigenous Australians.

I spent all of 1987 as Legal Associate to Justice Michael Kirby, then President of the New South Wales Court of Appeal. I was also admitted to the NSW Bar that year.

In 1988, I spent two years working as an employed solicitor for the CBD Solicitors’ practice of Goss Downey Carne. In 1990, I was called to the Queensland Bar and, over twenty years, established a practice specializing in family law and succession law.

In the 1990’s, I spent several years as a part-time member of the Commonwealth Social Security Appeals Tribunal. I was later appointed as a part-time member of the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Tribunal and, when that Tribunal became part of the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal, I became a sessional member of QCAT.

In the 2000’s, whilst maintaining my private practice at the Bar, I served several years as Deputy Public Interest Monitor and then several years as the Public Interest Monitor under Queensland’s Police Powers and Responsibilities legislation and the Commonwealth’s Anti-Terrorism legislation. I also served as the Queensland Bar Association’s representative on the Queensland Law Society’s Family Law Specialist Accreditation Committee, and as a member of the Executive of the Family Law Practitioners’ Association of Queensland including a term as its President. I also served on the Human Research Ethics Advisory Committee of the Queensland Institute of Medical Research.

In 2010, I was appointed Senior Counsel.

Between 2011 and 2021, I was a member of the trial division of the Family Court of Australia, based in the Brisbane Registry. In that time, I served as Case Management Judge in my home Registry, as a member of the Chief Justice’s Policy Advisory Committee and as the Family Court’s representative on the combined federal courts’ Children’s Committee. I published over five hundred written judgments in my time on the Court, and on occasion sat with Appeal Division Judges on the Full Court in determination of appeals from other Trial Judges of the Family Court or Judges of the Federal Circuit Court.

In 2019, I also commenced part-time studies at the University of Queensland towards a Master’s Degree in International Relations and have now completed one-third of the course work requirements.

I am a member of the Bar Association of Queensland, the Australian Institute of Family Law Arbitrators and Mediators (AIFLAM), the Family Law Practitioners’ Association of Queensland, the Family Law Section of the Law Council of Australia and I am on the Council of the Queensland Chapter of the Australian Institute of International Affairs.

I am an accredited and registered family law Arbitrator through AIFLAM and am in the process of refreshing my accreditation with AIFLAM as a Mediator as well. At the time of my appointment to the Court, I was accredited with AIFLAM as a Mediator and I conducted countless mediations assisting separated couples to resolve their property disputes in the years before my appointment.

I have presented many papers at conferences all over Australia and overseas.

I can be contacted through Ms Ly Bui, Executive Assistant at Roma Mitchell Chambers on (07) 3236 3965.