Sarah Cleeland


Our Principal, Sarah Cleeland, has a career experience that spans customer service, provision of services to children, Mediation, Family Dispute Resolution, Litigation and Legal advice.

Prior to completing a Dual Degree in Law and Politics (with Honours) in 1996, Sarah worked in the customer service industry and was an Au Pair in Europe providing nannying Services to young children.

Sarah commenced employment as a trainee Solicitor in 1997 working in the areas of Family Law and General Practice including Conveyancing and Personal Injury work.  Sarah first came to the Sandgate area in 1999 as a Solicitor and commenced working in the areas of Family Law and Plaintiff Personal Injury Litigation.

Sarah is a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Queensland in 1999 and the High Court of Australia. Sarah first gained National Accreditation as a Mediator in 2003 and has subsequently renewed her National Accreditation as a Mediator (Australian National Mediation Standard) and successfully completed Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner training through the Queensland University of Technology. Sarah is a qualified Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner.

Sarah first commenced training as an Independent Children’s Lawyer (National Standards) in 2003 and is on the National Panel of Independent Children’s Lawyers. In addition to practicing as a Family Lawyer, Sarah has practiced as an Independent Children’s Lawyer for over a decade.

Sarah has successfully completed training as a Child Protection Practitioner and is qualified to represent children as a Separate Representative in Child Protection proceedings throughout Queensland.

Sarah has provided Family Law services to clients in Sandgate, and on the Northside of Brisbane since 1999. Sarah has worked as an employed Solicitor since 1997 and has background experience in areas in addition to Family Law including Personal Injury, Civil Litigation, Work cover as well as Domestic Violence, Child Protection and Family Law.

Since moving to Sandgate in 1999, Sarah has worked outside of Sandgate for brief periods as a Senior employed Family Law Practitioner in boutique Family Law Practices and then returned to Sandgate in 2005 where she has remained and practiced exclusively in the area of Family Law.

Sarah established the practice Sarah Cleeland Family Lawyers in 2010 in Sandgate. Sarah was one of the first Family Lawyers in South East Queensland to establish a free Legal Advice Clinic. The Free Legal Advice Clinic provided free advice to clients in need who were experiencing crisis situations and difficulty in accessing services.

Sarah has an extensive history of Litigation and Advocacy experience, representing clients in the Children’s Court, Magistrates Court, Federal Circuit Court of Australia, Family Court of Australia, Court of Appeal and the then Federal Magistrates Court.

Sarah has represented and promoted the rights of children in her role as Independent Children’s Lawyer and Separate Representative. Sarah has represented and promoted the rights of children in the Magellan Program with the Family Court involving cases of serious allegations of sexual and physical child abuse.

Areas of Practice

  • Parenting Disputes
  • Property Settlements
  • Consent Orders
  • Domestic Violence Applications (Aggrieved)
  • Responding to a Domestic Violence Application (Respondent)
  • Child Support (advice and child support agreements)
  • Child Protection in Queensland
  • Independent Representation of Children
    • As Independent Children’s Lawyer in the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court
    • Separate Representative in the Children’s Court of Queensland
  • Mediation in Property Settlements
  • Family Dispute Resolution/Mediation in Parenting Disputes


  • Preferred Family Law Supplier of Legal Services with Legal Aid    Queensland
  • Panel of Independent Children’s Lawyers Legal Aid Queensland
  • Panel of Separate Representatives Legal Aid Queensland
  • Member Child Protection Practitioners Association of Queensland
  • Member Family Law Practitioners Association
  • Member Queensland Law Society
  • Member Family Law Section Law Counsel of Australia
  • Member of Australian Mediation Association
Sarah Cleeland - Family Lawyer