ABOUT CHRISTINE SMYTH
Leading Lawyer in Wills, Estates, Elder and Funeral Law
Christine is a strategist! Her passion is succession and elder law, allied with meticulous and detailed knowledge of the law Christine is one of the foremost experts in this increasingly complex area of aging.
We hear your concerns, we strategise and we act on your plan. Drawing on 25 plus years experience our firm is a specialist succession law firm, undertaking work in:- deceased estate administrations; deceased estate litigation; estate planning; grants of probate/administration; funeral law; and elder law – powers of attorney disputes, family accommodation disputes, family financial disputes; and conflict resolution.
Queensland has 13,000 solicitors, of them only 45 are accredited specialists. In 2009 Christine achieved this coveted qualification – QLS Accredited Specialist in Succession Law. Queensland Law Society Accredited Specialist program is a rigorous, peer reviewed testing program designed to identify extraordinary skills in specialist areas of law.
Never one to rest on her laurels, Christine has developed corresponding expertise in Elder and Funeral Dispute Law. In her time as President of the Queensland Law Society, Christine developed an Elder Abuse Aware campaign that received national recognition for highlighting the need in the community for greater awareness and accountability.
In respect of her expertise in Funeral Law, Christine was the first lawyer to have ever been a member of the Australian Funeral Directors Association. Having spent many years advising funeral homes, cemeteries and crematoria on their responsibilities, Christine was recognized for her expertise in this field by being appointed an Honorary member of the Cemeteries and Crematoria Association of NSW.
Christine’s ongoing commitment to excellence in client service and technical skill, has seen her recognized by clients and peers – with the prestigious Doyle’s Guide awarding her Leading Wills and Estate Litigation Lawyer and Queensland’s Leading Wills, Estates and Succession Planning Lawyer awards in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.
Christine is a problem solver, taking a direct and practical approach to the resolution of issues. Her philosophy is that people who consult the firm are entitled to know from the beginning their rights, the risks, the cost, and their chances. She keeps her clients’ goals at the forefront and will not hesitate to recommend solutions that will achieve those goals.
Over the years Christine has noted increased issues arising from our ageing population and the impacts upon families and their legal relationships as a result. Since 2004, Christine has practiced solely in succession and elder law. Her experience provides the following advantages in her Estate work:
- Plain English drafting is applied to drafting wills and court documents;
- Commercial & Property experience provides capacity to analyse & resolve the affairs of deceased persons;
- Litigation experience enables her to take and/or defend court actions that arise in challenges to wills; and
- Family law experience gives her valuable insights into emotional aspects of changing nature of family relationships.
Christine is one of three Queensland Court appointed Estate Account Assessors.
Queensland Law Society Succession Law Committee Member
The Queensland Law Society Succession Law Committee develops policies and responses to government on proposed legislative amendments and consultation material by reviewing the proposals, discussing its impact on all potential stakeholders, and proposing any suggested amendments to address problems. The committee provides a forum to consider practical problems and also disseminate awareness information to members. Christine was first appointed to this committee in 2011-2014. Christine resigned from the committee to take up her appointment to the QLS Council. Having completed her tenure on Council at the end of 2018, QLS sought to retain Christine’s highly regarded expertise and experience accordingly, she was reappointed to the QLS Succession Law Committee in, 2019, Christine retired from this position in 2020.
Queensland Law Society’s President 2017
In 2017 Christine leadership qualities saw her appointed President of the Queensland Law Society. Christine is one of only five women ever appointed to this role since its inception in 1873. Christine’s presidency focused on the Solicitors branch of the profession – advocating for and on behalf of good lawyers for the good of the community.
In 2016 Christine served as Deputy President of the Queensland Law Society. During her term Christine amassed unique experience including appearing before parliamentary committees, signing off on in excess of 150 parliamentary submissions; advocating for good law for the good of the community, as well as undertaking numerous media engagements. To know more, please visit our Media Section.
As President Christine engaged with heads of jurisdictions, including the Courts, District Law Associations, Community legal and pro bono organisations, universities, government and other relevant associations and bodies.
Christine has amassed a wealth of legal and business expertise from her many and varied senior roles in law, business and government. Christine held appointment on the Queensland Law Society Council from 2014 – 2018. During that time, in addition to her roles as President, Deputy President, Immediate Past President, Christine also sat on the QLS Executive, QLS Audit and Investment Committee, and was the Inaugural Chair of the Corporate Governance Committee.
In 2017 Christine was honoured with the Leader Effecting Change Award from Women in Business Gold Coast awards, for her work as President of the Queensland Law Society.
Christine has extensive board experience. In addition to her positions with QLS Council, Christine served on the QLS Specialist Accreditation Board; Lexon Insurance Board and as Director of the Law Council of Australia in 2017. Christine maintains a role on the Law Council of Australia, serving on the Legal Practice Executive Committee.
STEP is a global professional body, comprising lawyers, accountants, financial advisors and other practitioners that help families plan for their futures. Christine currently serves as Deputy Chair STEP Mental Capacity Global Special Interest Group. Christine was appointed a member of Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners in 2010 and served on the STEP Qld Branch Executive Committee for 3 years.
Christine is a sought after author and seminar presenter having written numerous papers, presentations and articles relating to her specialist field of Inheritance Law. Queensland Law Society Proctor Magazine – Christine writes a regular column on succession law for the QLS professional body magazine Proctor, circulated amongst its 13000 members. Christine previously held the position of General Editor Retirement & Estate Planning Bulletin. REP is a specialist publication, produced by LexisNexis, providing succession and estate planning professionals the latest developments in all matters concerning retirement and estate planning. She drove the content development of the newsletter and acted as chief participant and thought leader in informing and communicating the latest developments, relevant to the retirement and estate planning industry in Australia.
Christine regularly presents at seminars and conferences for industry bodies including:
- Queensland Law Society;
- Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners;
- Television Education Network;
- Cemeteries and Crematorium and Funeral Director Associations.
For a list of Christine’s most recent publications and presentations, please click here.
Christine believes in giving back to the community. Concerned about the impact of red tape on small business, Christine spent a number of years volunteering her time and legal expertise on the Queensland State Government’s Better Regulation Task Force. She was one of 5 industry leaders charged with identifying ways the government can improve red tape processes for small business – the back bone of the Qld economy. The Task Force was established as a sub-committee of the Queensland Small Business Advisory Council (QSBAC) continuing the work of the former Red Tape Reduction Advisory Council.
Christine believes all Australians have a right to access justice. During her term as QLS President Christine strongly advocated for Community Legal Centres and was instrumental in the reversal of the Federal Government’s reversal of CLC funding cuts.
Over her 25 year career Christine has volunteered her time and experience across many organisations. In her student days she volunteered with the Brisbane Women’s legal Service and the Southport Domestic Violence Service. While starting her family she assisted with charity events – raising money for the Cancer Foundation and being a mentor for the Smith Family Learning for Life program. Throughout her career Christine has been a mentor for the Queensland University of Technology student mentoring program, Women Lawyers Association (Qld) mentoring program and the Queensland Law Society mentoring program, as well as providing voluntary seminars for community organisations.
Awards & Appointments
- 2020 – Doyles Guide – Leading Wills and Estates Litigation Lawyers
- 2020 – Doyles Guide – Leading Wills, Estates and Succession Planning Lawyers
- 2019 – Doyles Guide – Leading Wills and Estates Litigation Lawyers
- 2018 – Doyles Guide – Leading Wills and Estates Litigation Lawyers
- 2017 – Winner of Creative Change Award from Women in Business Awards
- 2017 – Awardee of Merit Award from Women in Business Awards;
- 2017 – Doyles Guide – Leading Wills and Estates Litigation Lawyers;
- 2017 – President of the Queensland Law Society;
- 2017 – Director Law Council of Australia;
- 2016 – President-Elect of the Queensland Law Society;
- 2016 – Doyles Guide – Leading Wills and Estates Litigation Lawyers;
- 2016 – Deputy President of the Queensland Law Society;
- 2016 – 2020 Specialist Accreditation Board Queensland Law Society;
- 2016 – 2019 Appointed to the Queensland Government Better Regulation Taskforce;
- 2015 – Doyles Guide – Leading Wills & Estate Litigation Lawyer;
- 2014 – 2015 – Present, Queensland Law Society Councillor;
- 2014 – 2015 – Women Lawyers Association QLD (WLAQ) Committee of Management and Social Secretary;
- 2013 – WLAQ Women Lawyer of the Year Nominee;
- 2013 – LexisNexis Top 10 Influential Women;
- 2013 – Present – Committee Member of QLS Annual Symposium Succession Law Planning Committee;
- 2012 – Present – Committee Member of Queensland Law Society – Proctor Editorial;
- 2012 – QLS President’s Medal Nominee;
- 2012 – 2014 – Co-General Editor, Lexis Nexis Retirement and Estate Planning Bulletin;
- 2011 – 2016 – Committee Member of Queensland Law Society – Succession Law;
- 2010 – 2012 – Editorial Panel, LexisNexis Retirement & Estate Planning Bulletin; and
- 2010 – 2014 – Committee Member Society Trust & Estate Practitioners Qld Branch – Business Development officer.
- Inheritance Law
- Contested Wills & Estates
- Will and Estate Disputes
- Deceased Estates
- Estate Administration
- Elder Law
- Funeral Disputes
- Estate and Asset Planning
- Powers of Attorney
- Court Work And Litigation
- 2019 – Senior Counsellor Queensland Law Society
- 2010 – Supreme Court Estate Account Assessor
- 2016 – Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors
- 2010 – STEP – Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners
- 2009 – Accredited Specialist Succession Law (Qld)
- 1995 – Admitted High Court of Australia and Commissioner for Declarations
- 1995 – Admitted Supreme Court of Queensland
- 1995 – Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice (QUT)
- 1994 – Bachelor of Laws (QUT)
- Queensland Law Society – Past President
- Queensland Law Society Accredited Specialist – Succession Law
- Queensland Law Society Proctor Editorial Committee
- Law Council of Australia – Legal Practice Section
- Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP)