Madeline Clarke holds a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) from La Trobe University and obtained a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice from the College of Law. Madeline is admitted to practice law in the Supreme Court of Victoria.
Madeline is particularly interested in drug use and mental health and their intersection with criminal law. She wrote her Honours thesis on Drug Induced Psychosis and Criminal Responsibility and before joining Go To Court Lawyers, was doing research into methamphetamine use with Monash University and the Burnet Institute.
Madeline has a keen interest in family law and has a passion for advocating for clients, providing them practical support and facilitating timely and cost-effective outcomes.
Madeline also enjoys the challenges of civil law including succession matters (wills and estates) and litigation.
In her spare time, Madeline enjoys Italian food, mindfulness meditation and spending time with family and friends.
Accreditations & Memberships
- Member of the Victorian Law Society
Success Stories and Publications
- Self-Isolation Restrictions and Penalties (Vic)
- Property Divisions and the Five-Step Test
- Presumptions of Parentage
- Verdins Principles: Mental Illness and Sentencing (Vic)
- Compulsory Treatment Orders (Vic)
- Animal Cruelty Offences (Vic)
- Infanticide (Vic)
- Surrogacy in Victoria
Our solicitor Madeline Clarke recently represented a 42-year-old man at Geelong Magistrates’ Court. The client was charged with nine counts breaching a Family Violence Intervention Order. The offending consisted of text message correspondence sent to his former partner, which included derogatory content. The charges each carried maximum penalties of between two and five years’ imprisonment.
Ms Clarke first negotiated the charges with Police Prosecution, seeking that the conduct be encompassed in a single charge of persistent breach of an Intervention Order. This was agreed and the other eight charges were withdrawn.
When the matter came before the court, Ms Clarke made submissions about the client’s otherwise good character and the deterioration of his mental health following the separation from his partner of 17 years. She provided further context by explaining that a parenting dispute between the parties had come to a head at the time of the offending, and the client was experiencing emotional strain as a result of having only limited contact with his two children.
The client had no criminal priors and had recently become unemployed after suffering a workplace injury. Ms Clarke made submissions that despite the seriousness of the offence, the court should have regard to the client’s current financial circumstances, his necessity to obtain new employment and the remorse demonstrated by his early plea of guilty.
The court was persuaded by Ms Clarke’s submissions and ordered that the client enter a nine month adjourned undertaking with conviction. The undertaking required the client to continue be of good behaviour for the period of the order and make a small payment to the court fund.
This case demonstrates the importance of quality representation and the value of a solicitor like Madeline Clarke who takes the time to reflect on her clients’ circumstances and will work hard to ensure that their case is prepared and presented in a way that ensures the court gives full effect to every factor in a client’s favour.
Our solicitor Madeline Clarke represented a 41-year-old man at Moorabbin Magistrates’ Court charged with unlawful assault of his former partner. The charge carries a penalty of up to three months’ imprisonment and was particularly serious given that it occurred in the context of family violence.
Family Violence offences are not generally considered suitable to be recommended for Diversion, but after discussing the matter with Ms Clarke, Police Prosecution accepted that the offending particulars and client’s absence of criminal priors made it appropriate in the circumstances.
Ms Clarke assisted the client to complete the Diversion Questionnaire and undertake a Diversion Interview with a Court Registrar
When the matter came before the court, Ms Clarke made submissions about the client’s otherwise good character and the circumstances which led him to become overwhelmed by the recent separation from his wife and his concerns about the children of the relationship. She also provided the court information in relation to the client’s physical and mental health issues, and how these may have contributed to the offending conduct.
The client had no criminal priors and worked in a profession which meant that any recording of guilt would have a significant effect on his future work prospects. Ms Clarke made submissions that despite the seriousness of the offence, the court should have regard to the effect a criminal finding would have on his capacity to support himself and his children.
After considering Ms Clarke’s submissions, the court adjourned the matter for a period of 12 months to allow the client to complete a diversion program. The conditions of diversion included making a donation to a Family Violence charity and completing a Men’s Behaviour Change Program. At the end of the 12 month period, after confirming the client’s compliance with the conditions of the Diversion Plan, the charge will be dismissed.
This case demonstrates the importance of quality representation and the value of a solicitor like Madeline Clarke who takes the time to reflect on her clients’ circumstances and will work hard to ensure that their case is prepared and presented in a way that ensures the court gives full effect to every factor in the client’s favour.
Our solicitor Madeline Clarke represented a woman at the Werribee Magistrates’ Court in relation to a single charge of driving while suspended.
The client had a long-standing medical review condition on her driver’s licence which required her to provide VicRoads with a medical report at their request. In early 2019 the client had received a request from VicRoads after which she promptly provided them with a current report from her General Practitioner. When she received no further correspondence in relation to the review she assumed that the report had been accepted and that she had maintained her licence.
Some months later, our client was intercepted by Victoria Police as part of a random roadside testing program. During this assessment, Police ran a licence check which indicated that the client’s licence had been suspended due to VicRoads not receiving a medical report pursuant to their request. Our client was subsequently charged with driving whilst suspended and summonsed to appear at Werribee Magistrates’ Court.
When our client first met with Ms Clarke she expressed how anxious she was about the charge, having had a perfect driving record and never being required to go to court before. Ms Clarke explained the process, and the options available to her in responding to the charge and assisted the client in collating evidence in support of the fact that she had responded to VicRoads' request as required.
At first mention, Ms Clarke participated in a Summary Case Conference with Police Prosecutions, presenting evidence to substantiate that our client had diligently complied with the conditions of her licence including providing a medical report as requested. Ms Clarke also pointed to the client’s immaculate record to support the conclusion that a defence of honest and reasonable mistaken belief would be successful in circumstances where the charge was not withdrawn.
Police Prosecutions subsequently withdrew the charge at the earliest possibility, therefore avoiding the client needing to return before the court and allowing to her to maintain her unblemished driving record.
This result was achieved by preparing the case thoroughly, and paying close attention to the details of the matter and making strong representations to Prosecutions
This case illustrates the importance of quality representation and the value of a solicitor like Madeline Clarke who cares for clients’ circumstances, takes her time to familiarise herself with all the evidence and works hard to ensure that the case is presented in a way to ensure that full effect is given to every factor in a client’s favour.
Our solicitor Madeline Clarke acted on behalf of a male residing in Canberra who sought assistance in preventing bankruptcy proceedings progressing further.
Prior to engaging Go To Court Lawyers, the client had been served Victorian court documents alleging he owed a significant debt to a large company. As the client resided interstate, he failed to respond to the court documents as required and the company proceeded to obtaining a judgement against him.
The client contacted Madeline Clarke after the company had commenced enforcement proceedings and he had been served a Bankruptcy Notice – the first step a creditor takes in making a person bankrupt.
After being served a Bankruptcy Notice the debtor has 21 days to comply with the notice and pay the debt in full to avoid being declared bankrupt. Whilst our client had the ability to pay the amount claimed by the creditor, he instructed that the original judgment debt (on which the bankruptcy notice was based) was a case of mistaken identity. The client having a relatively common name.
Given the effects of a judgment debt (including effecting one's credit rating), the client hoped to resolve the matter in full, despite failing to respond to the original court action taken by the creditor.
In order for the Bankruptcy Notice and original Judgement Debt to be set aside, our office promptly drafted and filed necessary documents with both the Federal Circuit Court of Australia and the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria. As the matter involved two jurisdictions, the Bankruptcy proceedings in the Federal Circuit Court, and the Judgement Debt from the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria, it was pertinent that the appropriate steps were taken in each to ensure that the client was placed in a position that rectified the initial error being made by the creditor in pursuing him.
After filing the necessary applications with each court, Ms Clarke was then able to liaise with the creditor, and provide evidence that the original debt claimed had been incorrectly attributed to our client. Further negotiations allowed the parties to reach agreement and thereafter have both the Bankruptcy Notice and Judgment Debt set aside.
This matter illustrates the importance of understanding the different jurisdictional issues that arise in debt matters, and of taking prompt again to avoid significant financial consequences. This result was achieved by paying close attention to the instructions provided by our client and giving priority to proceedings where strict deadlines can have substantial and irreparable consequences.
Our solicitor Madeline Clarke represented a 37 year old woman charged with several animal cruelty offences at Geelong Magistrates’ Court .
The client was charged with three offences, the most serious of which carries a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment. The allegations were in relation to one of the three horses owned by the client. The horse had become unwell and quickly lost weight. Subsequently the animal was euthanised, as it had become malnourished to the extent that it was unable to walk.
Prior to the matter coming before the Court, Ms Clarke case conferenced the matter with the Prosecuting Agency (the RSPCA), where she was able to negotiate the withdrawal of the two most serious offences. When the matter came before the court, Ms Clarke made submissions about the client’s otherwise good character, and the circumstances which lead her to become overwhelmed by many competing things in her life with the result that she had neglected to provide adequate care for her animals.
The client had no criminal record and worked in a profession which meant that a conviction would have a significant effect on her future work prospects. Ms Clarke made submissions to the court that the accused was of otherwise good character, and that despite the seriousness of the offence, asked the court to have regard to the effect a conviction would have on her capacity to support herself and her family.
After considering Ms Clarke’s submissions, the court ordered the client pay a fine of $1,000.00, and was persuaded not to impose a conviction for the offence.
This case demonstrates the importance of quality representation and the value of a solicitor like Madeline Clarke who takes the time to reflect on her clients’ circumstances and will work hard to ensure that their case is prepared and presented in a way that ensures the court gives full effect to every factor in their favour.