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Man sits on chair alone in sunset

22 November is the second anniversary of the Old Boy’s death. No matter how much time goes by, this day brings forth many memories.

With that in mind, I thought I would share a few of these with you – in the form of some of the rules he used to live by.

Things I think he got right

1. You definitely get more out of your leather shoes and boots if you put wooden shoe trees in them after each use, particularly with RM’s.

2. Being able to switch off from work takes practice but is an important skill and significantly contributes to your ability to manage your energy levels.

3. Things always have a way of working themselves out.

4. Good friends are like family.

Things he may have got wrong

1. Physical exercise is probably not just best left to a one week holiday at Easter and a two week holiday at Christmas.

2. Leaving home before 5am for every holiday does not necessarily guarantee you will have a better holiday.

3. Getting to every destination an hour early does not necessarily improve your chances of enjoying the event (particularly when you just give that well-earned seat away to the nearest child, women or man with a slight limp).

4. Just because someone’s shoes are not spotlessly clean polished or he or she does not have a clearly lined crease in his or her trousers may not necessarily mean that they are completely incompetent at their job.

5. Steak with a sprig of parsley and a glass of wine probably doesn’t represent a complete meal.

6. Competing at everything like your life depends on it isn’t always necessary nor even appropriate; for example, when playing “connect 4” with grandkids, or tennis with your wife or when four wheel driving up Indian Head with three very young kids who are sitting in the back of a “Troopie” on top of wooden tool boxes with no seat belts.

7. It may still be possible to enjoy watching a game even if your team did not win.


Jury is still out…

1. Every now and then having too many beers is good for the soul.

2. Go to work every day no matter what you did the night before or how you are feeling.

3. No NSW Waratah should ever be named in a Wallabies run on side.

4. Never ever give up: sounds good but I have often found this to be impractical, i.e: “I will only stop hitting golf balls when I have hit five straight drives in a row” often means the result is a pretty grumpy golf pro standing behind you swearing under his breath and twirling his keys in his hand 20 minutes after the lights have been turned off and everyone else has gone home. At this point, I think there might need to be a balance between life, never giving up and flogging a dead horse.

From the perspective of the time and energy he dedicated to the Family Court and to the practice of family law, I think he would be very pleased to see the quality of the current bench.

For him, having worked in an era when lawyers picked up the phone and spoke to each other in an attempt to resolve matters, I think he would be appalled by the lack of effort made by the modern practitioner to resolve a matter before commencing court proceedings. Having co-written the Family Law Rules 2004, I think he would be disappointed at the mere lip service that is given to the pre-action procedures (which require parties to make a genuine attempt at resolving matters by negotiation before commencing proceedings). Further, I think he would consider the majority of modern family lawyers to be ill prepared and lacking knowledge about basic rules of evidence and the court process.

Whilst the problem of domestic violence is still endemic, as a strong advocate for the protection of women and children against acts of domestic violence, I think he would be pleased that the level of awareness of the problem is slowly increasing, and the community is now looking for ways to educate and take responsibility for the problem, rather than leaving it for the court or governments to tackle.

Finally, I know the Old Boy would have been delighted to be acknowledged by the Family Law Practitioners Association (FLPA) for his “contributions to the development of Family Law” through FLPA’s inaugural, “Buckley Memorial Essay prize”. I am certain he would have dearly appreciated the efforts of Dr Mark Sayers, James Steel and the FLPA Committee in putting this together.