Lawyer killed: Dangers of family law

Lawyer killed: Dangers of family law

According to the American Bar Association Journal, US lawyer Xia Zhao was recently killed. Jason Cai, the former husband of Ms Zhao’s late client has been charged with Ms Zhao’s murder, and was previously acquitted of his former wife’s murder. Ms Xhao was pursuing Ms Cai for the wrongful death of her client.

For all those who consider that all family law cases can be successfully resolved by dispute resolution or mediation, the ugly reality is that there are some people, mainly men, who are prepared to use violence and threats of violence, to get their own way, and are not prepared to let anyone stand in their way.

These problems are NOT limited to the US. On a number of occasions I have been threatened with death or physical injury, or stalked – just for doing my job. I have been told by other family lawyers in Brisbane and elsewhere how they have also been threatened.

The unfortunate truth is that lawyers who practise in family law will from time to time come across violent, difficult and unstable people who may well follow through on their threats. Ms Zhao’s death is a timely reminder to all family lawyers that risk assessment and safety planning is not the province of the client alone, and should be embraced by lawyers.

Things to Read, Watch & Listen

Forced Marriage

On November 1st 2023, Accredited Family Law Specialist and Page Provan Director Stephen Page presented a paper at the Brisbane Zonta Club about forced marriage. I acknowledge the Jagera and Turrbal peoples, on whose lands we meet today, their elders, past, present and emerging. Ruqia Hidari was aged 21 and living in Victoria, when, according to police,… Read More »Forced Marriage

ACT Government Surrogacy Bill

The ACT Government has today introduced a bill to amend the ACT’s surrogacy laws. The proposed changes are more incremental than fundamental. They include allowing a single person to undertake surrogacy, for the surrogate to be single if needed, a requirement for legal advice and counselling beforehand, a written agreement being required, that traditional surrogacy is… Read More »ACT Government Surrogacy Bill

Planning to resolve: ADR in ART

ADR can help resolve disputes in ART cases. ADR is not limited to mediation and arbitration. Other types of informal dispute resolution can resolve disputes. When assisted reproductive treatment cases go off the rails, they can have the next level of bitterness and volatility. There can be a keen sense of betrayal when things don’t… Read More »Planning to resolve: ADR in ART

Family Law Section Law Council of Australia Award
Member of Queensland law society
Family law Practitioners Association
International Academy of Family Lawyers - IAFL
Mediator Standards Board