People

Maria-Luisa Coulson (née Ojeda)

Managing Director

+61 8 6555 2970
mlcoulson@coulsonlegal.com.au

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Maria-Luisa is one of Western Australia’s leading experts in the law of costs, having practiced almost exclusively in the field of legal costs since 2003.

In 1995 Maria-Luisa was admitted as a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of Western Australia and of the High Court of Australia. From 1995 to 2003, she practiced as a barrister and solicitor predominately in commercial litigation.

Since 2003, Maria-Luisa has been an accredited Grade 3 Arbitrator with the Institute of Arbitrators and Mediators Australia, and in 2011, was appointed to the Law Society of Western Australia’s Panel of Mediators and Arbitrators as an Arbitrator.

Prior to establishing Coulson Legal in 2011, Maria-Luisa practised as a barrister specialising in legal costs for almost 8 years, as Head of Chambers of “Sir Ronald Wilson Chambers”, which she founded in 2003.  She has advised on and acted in over a thousand party and party and solicitor and client costs disputes in Western Australia, appearing as counsel in Western Australia on numerous contested costs applications, including special costs applications, lump sum costs applications, applications for enlargements of time, and security for costs applications.

Maria-Luisa has also advised on and acted in a number of solicitor/client and party/party costs matters in Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales, as well as given expert evidence on costs matters in the Supreme Court of Western Australia, the Federal Court of Australia (WA Division), and the County Court of Victoria.

Promoting alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”) mechanisms is a priority for Maria-Luisa, and she has avoided the taxation process for countless costs disputes by utilising ADR, including acting as a neutral evaluator in expert costs determinations.

Maria-Luisa is a member of the Law Society of Western Australia’s Costs Committee.  In her capacity as a member of the Costs Committee, she has regularly provided input into legislative changes and revisions of scales of costs in Western Australia.  Independent of the Committee, Maria-Luisa met with Lord Justice Jackson in London in July 2017 regarding the significant “Jackson Reforms” in the UK.  Presently, with the assistance of Coulson Legal’s Dr Steven Shaw and Amy Pascoe, Coulson Legal is undertaking a review of the Jackson Reforms, aimed at promoting possible reforms aimed at improving the legal costs regime in Western Australia. 

Throughout her career, Maria-Luisa has maintained a proactive stance in relation to education.  She has presented numerous seminars to the legal profession regarding costs issues in Western Australia, including on behalf of the Law Society of Western Australia as part of its Continuing Legal Education program, as well as having papers published regarding legal costs. Since 2016, Maria-Luisa has given annual guest lectures at the Murdoch University Law School, as part of the Murdoch Law School’s “Costs Unit”.  Later this year she is scheduled to give a guest lecture at Law School of the University of Western Australia, as part of the Civil Procedure Unit.

Maria-Luisa is also a member of the Law Society of Western Australia, of the Women Lawyers Association of WA (WLWA), and of the Anglo-Australasian Lawyers Society.

Maria-Luisa was born in Chile and was raised bilingually (Spanish/English).  Other than 1 year of schooling in Chile, Maria-Luisa was educated in Perth at Methodist Ladies’ College and at the University of Western Australia.  She completed a combined Arts/Law degree in 1994, with the Arts component specialising in French, German and Linguistics.  She also completed post graduate studies at the University of Adelaide in Arbitration.

When not considering legal costs, Maria-Luisa enjoys Zumba, boating, water sports, fishing and photography.