Celebrating over 127 Years as Queensland Lawyers
1895 – 2022
Leading Lawyers Townsville
Sometimes, all you need is a fresh perspective. Connolly Suthers are North Queensland’s most experienced and qualified law firm. Established in 1895 with a foundation of leading Townsville lawyers, Connolly Suthers has since become one of North Queensland’s largest, most diverse, and dynamic firms.
Employing a range of expert Queensland lawyers who offer specialist legal advice, Connolly Suthers comprises a team of individual talents working under collective energy. Operating from Townsville to Brisbane, Mount Isa, Cairns and Ayr, Connolly Suthers deliver Queensland’s highest standards of legal help, advice, and services.
We work under the belief that strong reputations don't go unnoticed, and this is why our firm has continued to successfully service the legal needs of North Queenslanders for over 127 years. Work with a law firm that understands you and prioritises your needs – work with Connolly Suthers.Read More
What Our Clients Are SayingRead All
I couldn’t think more highly of Connolly Suthers. The professionalism and high level of client care I received from start to finish was outstanding and really helped me to have felt comfortable during a difficult and important time in my life. A big thank you to Conan and Ji for looking after my case and me. I felt supported and well looked after during the entire process, everything was explained in great detail so that I understood and no questions were left unanswered. I would highly recommend Conan and Connolly Suthers Law Firm to anyone in need of their services. Thank you again, I will always be very appreciative.
The team at Connolly Suthers lawyers were outstandingly helpful throughout the purchase of a new house, Danny Burke went above and beyond to make the whole process run smoothly, highly recommended! If I could put more than 5 stars down I would without doubt!
Bill and the team at Connolly Suthers are amazing. They were very professional and genuinely care about their clients needs. Highly recommended.
Would thoroughly recommend the Connolly Suthers Team for any legal work in Northern QLD. Thank you to Renee Lovelady-Tomas from Connolly Suthers who helped facilitate the smooth purchase of our first home. Communication was excellent and all issues were addressed quickly and with great results. Thank you from Nigel and Corrie.
I have been using Connolly Suthers for many years now both in my business and personally. During this time I have always found them to be extremely professional, concise and offer the very best advice in all the matters they attended to. Connolly Suthers are my first recommendation for any matters that require a lawyer and you are looking for quality outcome.
I would like to thank Tanya Morris for her dedicated and professional advice over the past twelve months and ongoing support. At all times Tanya has provided expert advice and made the process of processing legal documentation very managable to say the least. Tanya is an extremely valuable asset to the Connolly Suthers (Townsville) team.
I would like to highly recommend Tanya Morris for any family law matters you may have. Tanya was always available and constantly kept me updated throughout the process. Matters like this are difficult enough on their own and having the professionalism of Tanya made it seamless and stress free.Connolly Suthers Lawyers Townsville are very professional and all staff I had the pleasure of meeting throughout the process, were extremely helpful and friendly. If I ever require a legal representative again, I will definitely be using the team at Connolly Suthers! Thank you Tanya and the team.
Our Legal BlogsRead All
Gift or Loan - What is the Law in Family Law?
Imagine this, your parents loan you $300,000 to buy your first home, you and your wife are going through a property settlement and now she says it was a gift, not a loan. Property settlement between separated partners requires identifying the property pool, that is all assets, liabilities and financial resources you have, both jointly and solely. It is the net value of the property pool which is distributed between you. A loan owing to parents would be included in the property pool as a liability, so what happens if your former partner says the funds were a gift and not a loan to be repaid? Loan or Gift? When the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia are faced with the task of determining whether there is a “loan” or “gift” in these situations the Court must consider the “presumption of advancement”. A parent-to-child relationship gives rise to the presumption of advancement. This is the legal presumption that a transaction is presumed to be a gift. The presumption however can be rebutted. So what will rebut the presumption of advancement? Each case is assessed on its own facts, but considerations by the Court may include: Is there a written loan document? Is there security for the loan, such as a registered mortgage? What was the intention of the parents at the time of giving the funds? Has the loan been called on for repayment? What are the terms of repayment? Is there evidence of any repayments? Is there evidence to support that both separated partners accepted the funds that were loaned? Is there evidence of representation to third parties (such as a bank) about the funds being given as a loan or gift? If parties had not separated would the loan have been called for repayment? What is the likelihood of the loan actually being repaid? Has the limitation period expired for the loan to be an enforceable debt? Who has to prove the loan? The onus to rebut the presumption lies with the person arguing the transfer of funds is a loan, not a gift. To be successful in rebutting the presumption there will need to be evidence that is inconsistent with the presumption applying. Was the presumption not rebutted? The law for property settlement generally follows a five-step approach as determined in the decision of Stanford v Stanford  HCA 52. Broadly the steps are as follows: Consider whether it is “just and equitable” for there to be an adjustment of property ownership; Determine the property pool available for distribution; Assess contributions by each party; Assess the future needs of each party; and Consider whether the proposed distribution is “just and equitable”. If you are unsuccessful in rebutting the presumption and the funds are considered a gift, the funds will be considered during the assessment of contributions. Where parents gift funds, the contribution is to be taken as a contribution by the child of the parent unless there is evidence that it was not the intention of the parents to benefit only their child. The onus to prove the gift was not intended to only benefit you, but you and your former partner lie with your former partner. We can help Our Family Law Team can provide you with comprehensive and specific advice about property settlement with your former partner. Contact our Family Law Department, if you would like to arrange an initial consultation. Our Commercial Team can provide you with comprehensive and specific advice about transactions and agreements between families, assist with preparing a Deed of Gift or formalise a Loan Agreement. If you would like to discuss your property settlement - contact our Family Law Team. If you would like to discuss family agreements – contact our Commercial Team.
Self Managed Super Funds and Binding Death Benefit Directions
A recent landmark decision of the High Court Hill v Zuda Pty Ltd  HCA21 confirms that BDBNs made for an SMSF do not lapse (essentially rules that require BDBNs to be renewed every three years and otherwise to comply with will like execution requirements such as two witnesses etc (SISR 6.17A) do not apply to SMSFs. ) What occured in Hill V Zuda Pty Ltd was that words that purported to be a BDBN were inserted in an SMSF Trust Deed and it was argued (unsuccessfully) that SISR 6.17A had not been complied with. To avoid years of litigation (and a day in the High Court) not to mention the attendant cost, unless you generously want to contribute to the learning and development of Superannuation Law in Australia, Hill v Zuda Pty Ltd is a timely reminder: (a) about the need to make sure that SMSF Trust Deeds do not unwittingly (by poor drafting) adopt the SISR 6.17A (when they do not have to); (b) that BDBNs should only be prepared and signed after thorough consideration of the Trust Deed (and a client’s particular circumstances); (c) that BDBNs, Reversionary Pension documentation and Trust Deeds should be reviewed regularly (sometimes inconsistent documents are put in place by different advisers); (d) about the need to review the chain of all trust deed documents (to ensure that the most current deed is actually binding on all parties). If your financial planner or accountant prepared or arranged for any documentation to be signed by you it is even more important to have these documents reviewed (or indeed) done again by a qualified legal practitioner with relevant experience. More often than not ‘off the shelf' products are downloaded from the internet and signed without reference to your other estate planning documents, your SMSF trust deed and pension documentation and, regrettably, the law. If a non-qualified person or entity prepares a BDBN for you they will (in all likelihood) not be insured if they are found to have been negligent which means you may never be compensated for your losses. Their insurer will rely on Section 10 of the Legal Profession Uniform Law which prohibits unqualified entities from engaging in legal practice (to avoid indemnifying them under their professional indemnity insurance policy – don’t you love insurers). Those found to be breaking the prohibition have committed an offence that carries a maximum penalty of a $27,500 fine and/or 2 years imprisonment.
01 July 2022 and Superannuation Contribution Changes
Several key super changes which may impact your ability to contribute to your SMSF, are set to take effect from 1 July 2022. These changes create opportunities for all SMSF members, young and old, to grow their retirement savings. What are the changes? Originally announced in the 2021 Federal Budget, the following changes apply from 1 July 2022: Individuals up to the age of 74, will no longer need to meet a work test to make voluntary, non-deductible, contributions Individuals up to the age of 75, with a total super balance under $1.7 million, will have the opportunity to make large non-concessional contributions (possibly up to three years’ worth) in a single year The minimum age to make downsizer contributions will reduce to 60, allowing more individuals to use the proceeds from the sale of their home, to fund their retirement The Superannuation Guarantee (SG) rate will increase to 10.5% p.a. for all and the $450 minimum income threshold for SG contributions, will be removed Under the First Home Super Saver Scheme (FHSSS) eligible individuals will have access to an extra $20,000 of voluntary contributions to fund a home deposit. How can you benefit from these changes? The Work Test Currently, if you are aged 67 to 74, you can only make voluntary contributions to super if you have worked at least 40 hours over 30 consecutive days in the financial year, or you satisfy the recently retired test. The work test must be met prior to contributing. From 1 July 2022, this work test will only apply to you if you wish to claim a tax deduction for the voluntary contributions you make to your SMSF. If making personal deductible contributions, from 1 July 2022, you will be able to meet the work test at any time in the financial year. This means that the work test will no longer apply to contributions you make under a salary sacrifice arrangement or for any personal contributions that you don’t claim a tax deduction for, such as non-concessional contributions. Non-concessional Contribution Currently, only if you were under the age of 67 on 1 July of the financial year, can you make non-concessional contributions which exceed the annual $110,000 non-concessional contributions cap. Currently, the bring-forward rules allow you to make up to $330,000 (i.e. three years’ worth of non-concessional contributions), in a single year if your total super balances were under $1.48 million as of 30 June of the previous financial year, or $220,000 if your total super balances were greater than or equal to $1.48 million but less than $1.59 million as at 30 June of the previous financial year. From 1 July 2022, the cut-off age to access the bring rules will increase to 75. However, the total super balance thresholds referred to apply above, still apply. This means that if you are 74 on 1 July 2022 and have a total super balance of less than $1.48m, you may be able to have one last boost to your retirement savings by making a $330,000 non-concessional contribution to your SMSF. The contribution simply must be made, no later than 28 days after the month in which you turn 75. Downsizer Contributions Currently, you can only make a downsizer contribution if you are 65 or older at the time of the contribution and have satisfied the other eligibility requirements. From 1 July 2022, the minimum age will reduce to 60. All other eligibility rules remain unchanged and the maximum amount of downsizer contributions that can be made remains at $300,000 per person or $600,000 per couple. If you are selling your home and expect to receive the sale proceeds close to the end of this financial year, please contact our office to discuss the timing of a downsizer contribution and the potential to boost other contribution opportunities in 2022-23. For example, if you get the timing right, you may be able to combine a downsizer contribution with the bring forward rules to contribute up to $630,000 to your SMSF, in one year. As a couple, this could present a one-off opportunity to boost your retirement savings by $1.26m. First Home Super Saver Scheme (FHSSS) Currently, the FHSSS allows you to withdraw a maximum of $30,000 of voluntary contributions (plus associated earnings/less tax) from your super fund to fund the deposit of a new home. From 1 July 2022, the maximum amount that can be withdrawn will increase to $50,000 meaning each eligible person will be able to withdraw an additional $20,000. All other eligibility rules remain unchanged. Also unchanged is the maximum amount of contributions that an individual can make each year that can count towards the FHSSS – this remains at $15,000 p.a. This means that it will take a member, at least four years of voluntary contributions, to reach the higher $50,000 limit. How can we help? Navigating your way through the superannuation contribution rules can be very complex, especially in the lead up to a member’s retirement. If you have any questions, require assistance, or would like to discuss whether any of these opportunities apply to you, please feel free to give me a call to arrange a time to discuss.
The Connolly Suthers Difference
At Connolly Suthers, we feel privileged to be entrusted with our client's legal affairs, helping them navigate what is often some of the most challenging times of their lives. Our diverse, talented team has considerable expertise in multiple aspects of law and channel this experience to make a substantial, positive difference in the lives of locals.
We believe that your lawyer should have a significant understanding of how Townsville operates and its underlying cultural systems to provide the most genuine, useful legal advice possible. That’s why we frequently employ experienced legal professionals locally from within North Queensland, possessing a proud history of employing law graduates from James Cook University. Not only does this allow us to give back to the local community, but it only boosts our ability to deliver the most relevant and beneficial legal advice possible.
Our genuine care for the wellbeing of our clients and attention to detail in every case is what sets us apart from other law firms in Queensland. From criminal law to personal injury law, family disputes, property settlements, child custody, and traffic offences, we'll be in your corner, every step of the legal process. If you’re looking for legal support in Townsville, we’re here to make a positive difference in as many lives as possible. Call Connolly Suthers on 07 4771 5664 to get help today.Read More
If you have an ongoing case with another firm and you are unhappy with how things are progressing, you might want to consider switching to the local lawyers at Connolly Suthers.
You can have the best legal representation you deserve without the worry of paying legal costs in the event you lose your case*
Providing a stress-free, 'to-your-door' conveyancing service any day, any time that suits youLearn More
Frequently Asked Questions
What legal services do Connolly Suthers offer?
We operate across a range of legal matters including compensation, family, wills & estates, property, conveyancing, business, dispute resolution and criminal law; helping a variety of clients across North Queensland and South East Queensland to navigate the legal system.
It’s highly likely that you’ll need the services of a lawyer at least once in your lifetime. When you turn to Connolly Suthers for legal assistance, you can be confident that you’ll receive quality legal advice with a personal touch, regardless of which service you require. Our criminal lawyers, family lawyers, and compensation solicitors are here to help with the most common types of legal problems faced in these areas of concern.
Whether you're facing criminal offences, are dealing with a family law matter, looking to file compensation claims, have traffic offences, a domestic violence order, class actions, or just require an experienced team to assure a successful legal outcome, we can provide specialised advice for a wide range of concerns and legal issues.
Whatever type of legal assistance you need, we’re sure to be able to help. At Connolly Suthers, we have considerable experience and knowledge in all aspects of compensation law, family law, wills and estates, property law, criminal law, conveyancing, business services and dispute resolution.
We have Queensland Law Society Accredited Specialists in Property Law, Succession Law, Family law and Personal Injuries Litigation. Combining extensively trained and experienced legal practitioners with state-of-the-art communications and technology, Connolly Suthers delivers an unrivalled level of legal service in the Northern Queensland region. Get in touch with our team today - we're here to provide legal advice for a wide range of legal matters.
Do you offer free consultations?
Yes, at Connolly Suthers Lawyers Townsville, we offer free consultations in most areas.
Please note that while ‘family law’ and ‘employment law’ offer discounted fees for your initial appointment, they do not offer free consultation.
Do you offer No-Win, No-Fee?
Yes we offer no-win, no-fee services because we believe that nobody should be denied justice as a result of limited finances. We offer no-win, no-fee services in a range of matters including:
- Traffic accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Public liability accidents
- Medical negligence claims
- Life insurance claims
- Superannuation claims
- Certain commercial disputes
With Connolly Suthers Townsville Lawyers, you get the legal representation that you deserve without the worry of paying legal costs in the event that you lose your case. Our compassionate, friendly team understand the value of excellent service when facing a legal problem and a difficult time. Work with the solicitors that understand you and prioritise your needs – work with Connolly Suthers.
How much does representation with Connolly Suthers cost?
All Connolly Suthers clients receive the absolute highest level of quality legal representation and advice available in the region. Generally the cost of our legal services will vary based on the time required for our legal team to work on your case and the extent of the case as a whole, unless it is one of our fixed-fee services.
Regardless, we believe that nobody should be denied justice as a result of limited finances and that’s why we offer no-win, no-fee services in a range of matters including:
- Traffic accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Public liability accidents
- Medical negligence claims
- Life insurance claims
- Superannuation claims
- Certain commercial disputes
With Connolly Suthers Townsville Lawyers, you get the legal representation that you deserve without the worry of paying legal costs in the event that you lose your case. Work with the lawyers that understand you and prioritise your needs – Connolly Suthers.
How do you charge? Will I need to pay upfront? What are your prices like?
Most legal services are charged in accordance with a costs agreement which is provided to you at the commencement of the matter. Usually this must be signed and returned before any work is completed. This includes work done in most areas such as family law, personal injury, large commercial and leasing work, criminal law and estate administration. From your first phone call, your family lawyer, criminal lawyer, personal injury or estate solicitors can walk you through these fees work.
There are fixed price services available for basic conveyancing, wills and enduring powers of attorney. No nasty surprises - just a team who are committed to the best outcome. Please contact our office for more information about these services.
Do you offer payment plans?
Generally, no. However, you should feel free to discuss your financial situation with the solicitor involved with your case, at your initial appointment at Connolly Suthers. We understand that moving through the legal system can get expensive - from your first phone call, our compassionate team will openly discuss fees and work in your best interests, in a timely manner, to achieve a positive outcome.
Do you certify documents? Do you have JPs available?
We usually only certify documents for clients of Connolly Suthers or in the course of matters in which we are involved. If you are looking to find a JP you can search for one here.
Do you hold relatives' documents in safe custody? What can you hold in safe custody?
For client's of Connolly Suthers we offer the service of storing in our safe custody original Wills, Enduring Powers of Attorney, Certificates of Title, etc.
How are you involved with the Townsville Community?
The partners and staff of Connolly Suthers have long-standing ties throughout the local community. Over a large number of years we have supported various clubs and sporting teams in Townsville and in the Burdekin. We are regular supporters of Ronald McDonald House and the Vinnies foundation.
Find out more about our contributions to the local community here.
How do I contact Connolly Suthers?
Where are your other offices located?
Our Brisbane office is located at 240 Queen Street, Brisbane.
Our Cairns office is located at 14 Spence Street, Cairns.
Our Ayr office is located at 180 Queen Street, Ayr.
We visit Mount Isa as well as other regions throughout North Queensland by appointment.