Words By Bridey Zell
Photo By Photoholic Studio
Nardine Collier may be new to Cairns, however, in a short time she has achieved many things. She moved to Cairns from Alice Springs in the Northern Territory, where she ran a successful law practice for 20 years. Her choice to move was in order to follow her heart. “I had been in a long- distance relationship for some time, and it was quite challenging for both of us,” Nardine says, “so I decided to make the move to Cairns so we could be together properly.” She arrived in Cairns in February 2016. After working from home for a short time, Nardine went on to set up three businesses at her Edgehill office at the start of 2017 – Collier Lawyers, Cairns Mediations and Workplace Legal Solutions.
Collier Lawyers specialises in all aspects of family law, as well as wills and estates. Completing a law degree at Brisbane University in Darwin (which is now known as Charles Darwin University), Nardine went on to become an accredited family law specialist through the Queensland Law Society in 1998, and a Masters of Applied Law (Family Law) at the Sydney College of Law. She is a nationally Accredited family law arbitrator, and an Independent Childrens Lawyer.
In relation to mediation, Nardine is a Nationally Accredited mediator, a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner, and is on the panel of mediators for a number of national mediation firms, courts, and the Legal Aid Commissions in both the NT and QLD. Cairns Mediations offers mediation in relation to all disputes and particularly Family Law. Workplace Legal Solutions is a mediation service for workplace disputes, and also offers other services to Employers such as assisting with policies and procedures with a view to preventing workplace conflict.
Nardine also continues to sit on the Board of the Health Service in Alice Springs, a role which she has been in for a number of years; is the Deputy President of the Racing Tribunal NT and sessional member of the NT Courts and Tribunals.
Collier Lawyers operates quite differently to many law firms. “We try to be a bit more affordable in order to be able to open our services up to more people,” says Nardine, “We offer different payment options, fees can be paid instalments, and we ensure our clients know the fees that will be involved before they decide whether or not they will proceed with us. Importantly, our focus is on settlement with court as the very last option.” Nardine has also taken steps to be able to offer her services to those who might not be able to afford legal representation, by offering the Women’s Legal Centre in Cairns a free legal advice service for their clients, after hearing that the service is facing a loss of funding. Nardine says, “these services are essential for women in the Cairns community, and I’m proud to be involved with the centre.” She also takes on Legal Aid clients.
Nardine admits that maintaining a work life balance can be challenging.
“I’m working harder than I ever have before!”
“Being the only specialist family lawyer in Alice Springs meant that running a law firm there was a lot easier – I never had to do much marketing or advertising, clients came to you by word of mouth. It has been challenging in Cairns trying to establish a firm when there are already a number of very good family law firms, but family lawyers here have been very friendly and helpful. “Despite the challenges, Nardine loves the lifestyle in Cairns and says she is still amazed to be living in such a beautiful place. She tries to keep her weekends free, to spend time with family, as between them there are 4 teenage children at home. She enjoys a wide range of hobbies, especially health and fitness, walking, as well as cooking (and eating!), going to concerts, violin and recently, lawn bowls. “My partner is a District lawn bowler, so it’s something we can do together, even if I am hopeless. “Nardine laughs.
Suite 1/132 Collins Ave, Cairns City QLD 4870 | (07) 4214 5666 | www.collierlawyers.com.au