Johnston Withers

Caitlin Walkington.

Practice leader: Litigation

A longstanding member of Johnston Withers Lawyers, Caitlin is an integral part of the litigation and wills and estates teams.

Working on Kaurna lands (Adelaide), Ngarrindjeri lands (Murray Bridge) and Ngadjuri lands (Clare)

I pride myself in being able to simplify complex legal ideas and effectively manage and reduce client's stress.

Caitlin's qualifications

  • Bachelor of Law
  • Bachelor of International Development
  • Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice

Caitlin's memberships

Caitlin's experience

Caitlin joined the firm as a law clerk in 2011, and then continued on as a solicitor after her admission in 2016 and is now a practice leader in our litigation team. She has experience in many areas of law, however primarily specialises in estate litigation, succession law and defamation.

She regularly appears in the Magistrates, District and Supreme Courts and pride herself on approaching litigation in a pragmatic and economical manner to achieve the best resolutions for her clients.

Caitlin understands the stress and grief associated in estate disputes and guardianship and administration proceedings (effecting those who have limited or lost capacity). She assists her clients navigate this emotional time and strives to alleviate the stress of the court process by simplifying complex legal ideas and fiercely advocating for her clients interests.

Caitlin has assisted countless people with their succession planning from preparing simple wills, powers of attorney and advance care directives to complex multi-generation business structure planning. Caitlin grew up in the country and comes from a farming family. Her firsthand experience provides a deep understanding of the considerations and priorities that farming families weigh when preparing their wills and preparing to transition away from a working role on the farm for the next generation. She also assists family members when they have lost a loved one and need to navigate the administration and distribution of the Estate. Caitlin has been recognised by Doyle’s Guide as a Wills, Estates and Succession Planning Law Rising Star.

As a specialist in the area of defamation, Caitlin has presented continued professional development seminars to other professionals through the Law Society of South Australia and Legal Services Commission on the topic, and is an author of the defamation chapter of the Law Handbook.

Caitlin's expertise

Caitlin has a proven track record of assisting people in a variety of disputes, as highlighted in the following summary. She regularly receives glowing reviews from her clients, some of which are showcased below.

Contested Estates

  • Obtained a summary judgement in the Supreme Court on behalf of a beneficiary in a contested estate, as well as in a misleading and deceptive conduct claim brought by a sibling who was excluded from the Will.
  • Successfully resolved, without the need for litigation, a beneficiary's interest in a contested estate, which included the ownership and control of a large family business with certain assets outside the estate and subject to a constructive trust claim.
  • Received a declaration of a domestic partner in the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal on behalf of our client, the surviving spouse, which entitled her to her deceased partner's superannuation entitlement;
  • Acted for a beneficiary in a contested estate, which involved issuing Supreme Court proceedings under the Hague Convention against beneficiaries located in an overseas jurisdiction.

Professional Negligence

  • Acted for a daughter who was excluded from her father's will, and obtained a sizable payout from an insurer for the negligence of her prior solicitor who failed to issue a claim under the Inheritance (Family Provision) Act within the statutory time limit.
  • Obtained a default judgement in the District Court on behalf of an executor of an estate against a property developer for a breach of a loan agreement, and then obtained bankruptcy orders in the Federal Court

Defamation: online search engines and forums

  • Successfully established, on first instance and on appeal, that Google (and other search engines) can be liable as secondary publishers of defamatory material authored and posted by others when the search engine result reproduces this material. This decision has become an authority for plaintiff lawyers nationally, and has been followed in a number of Court decisions around Australia since. Read more about this decision here.

Defamation: social media publications

  • We successfully acted for a business owner in a matter where defamatory comments were removed from Facebook. An apology was given to the business owner and their legal costs were paid, without court proceedings needed.
  • Our defamation solicitors acted for a celebrity chef who was being harassed by a pseudonym Instagram account. We put together evidence that pointed towards a likely publisher, and issued a concerns notice, which resulted in the pseudonym Instagram account being deleted and the defamatory behaviour stopping.
  • We acted for a publisher who posted allegedly defamatory material on Facebook that didn’t name the aggrieved person but included facts so only a specific group of people could identify them. We successfully resolved the matter without court proceedings, by raising the defence of qualified privilege and offering the aggrieved person an apology and a nominal amount for costs.

Defamation: print media publications

  • We acted for a client who was defamed by the Sunday Mail, where proceedings were issued in the District Court and the Sunday Mail defended the action on the grounds of truth, contextual truth and qualified privilege. The trial judgment found that some of the imputations were not defamatory and the others were justified. On behalf of our client, we successfully appealed this decision and the Full Court found the article was defamatory and awarded our client $75,000. The Sunday Mail sought leave from the High Court to appeal this judgment but was unsuccessful.
  • We issued a concerns notice to the Advertiser for an article they published online (on both their website and Facebook), which was defamatory of our client. We successfully resolved the matter without the need for litigation, which resulted in the Advertiser removing the article and paying our client damages and costs.

Caitlin's awards


I would like to thank you for representing me with my Inheritance entitlement in my mothers estate. You have done an extremely good job, always given me excellent advice and you dedication in getting a very good result without going to trial. I have been able to do it all from home in Victoria via phone and email. You were the third solicitor I spoke to and I am very happy that I chose you to represent me. I would highly recommend you. Thank you and all the best for the future.
- past client
My experience with Caitlin at Johnston Withers was faultless. Caitlin guided me throughout the entire process and respected my situation whilst being extremely personable. I was able to step back knowing I could trust Caitlin was handling everything. The level of professionalism and manner at which my case was handled means I would certainly be back if at anytime I needed assistance.
- past client
I had to get a few things done with a estate. Caitlin was a fantastic help Prompt and very Professional kept me up to date at all times and Fiona from the murray bridge branch was fantastic with all property transfers thank you Johnston Withers Adelaide and Murray Bridge EXTREMELY HAPPY.
- past client
I just heard you on radio 5AA. I would like to compliment you on your presentation. You seemed very calm and unruffled at any stage. You spoke with clarity and obvious purpose. Some presenters talk over our heads and some overestimate us. You were impeccable in your wording. Everything you said was meticulously clear and so easy to follow. I sincerely hope your company gains from the segment, but at the very least, you made a worrying topic much simpler to comprehend for a large number of listeners.
- FIVEAA Legal Show listener
A couple of months ago I was appointed as an executor for my mother's estate, something I had always thought was an honour, how wrong was I!! After a discussion with my financial advisor, I got in touch with Caitlin Walkington. That was the best thing I ever did. She made everything stress free and in no time all the paper work was sorted, probate was granted and the estate was finalised. Thanks again Caitlin, you are a legend and I would recommend you to anyone who needs their estate done.
- past client
It is with immense gratitude that I recommend Caitlin Walkington. Caitlin was the only one out of seven solicitors that I contacted that was able and/or willing to help me and advised on the brief with great compassion. I accepted her advise and after the first element of the situation unfolded, pursued the next element feeling secure in her projections. Caitlin is very professionally steered us through a very unpleasant situation with care, empathy, excellent knowledge, great understanding at a personal level, and emotional intelligence and maturity beyond her years. She listened to my concerns, and respectfully gave me options and guidance, factoring in my personal wellbeing, to a fantastic outcome. Subsequently we were delighted to give her our other personal business with confidence and peace of mind of her knowledge and attitude. We will be calling on Caitlin again should we ever require legal services in the future.
- past client

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