+61 3 9620 0888

+61 3 9620 0777


Derek Chan

Derek is the Co-founder and Practice Manager of Canaan Lawyers and was instrumental in the founding of the firm and setting its strategic direction.

He has had a successful career as a business person primarily in the field of residential and commercial real estate sales, property management and land development. He has started and run his own businesses; has consulted and has acted in many board positions.

Derek’s position prior to becoming a Director of Canaan Lawyers was managing director in a property development business involved in large development projects including land subdivision, residential and industrial properties.

Derek retains his passion for property and is still engaged in commercial property management and involved in property development projects in an advisory capacity.

As a highly experienced business person and manager Derek provides the commercial grounding and strategic perspective to Canaan Lawyers provision of professional legal services. He has a keen understanding of the needs and perspectives of business people and the realities of market competition and his knowledge and wise counsel lends commercial depth to the firm.

Derek is also actively involved in the community. He was the founding President of the Asian Business Association of Whitehorse Inc. and has been a pioneer for and has continuously supported the Chinese New Year Festival celebrations in Boxhill. He is the charter chairman and the Lions Mentor of the Lions Club of Melbourne Sino Innovation Inc; the head of channels and organisational development of Australian Chinese Jockey Club; the guest lecturer for the entrepreneur tertiary courses of RMIT University; and is an office bearer in numerous other professional bodies and community groups. He has also acted in a voluntary capacity as a member of the board of directors of a registered training organisation (RTO) for overseas students. In this position he assisted with the establishment of the RTO including its governance framework and advised the board on student welfare and pastoral care.

Book a FREE
30 mins Consultation

What Our Clients say

“We thank Canaan Lawyers for their expert advice and professionalism throughout our commercial matters. All legal issues were handled impeccably and effectively. Thank you again for introducing your business network contacts to us.”

Melbourne VIC

"I got much more than what I expected

It was a very nasty divorce and before I went to see Canaan Lawyers, my ex-husband offered me $10,000 to walk away. He used all kinds of way to pressure me into accepting the offer. On the first day I hired Canaan, I knew I was in good hands. They listened to the outcomes that I hoped for, then came up with a strategy and explained the necessary steps to achieve good results. Every week they updated me on the progress and at the end, my lawyer successfully obtained a IVO against my ex-husband on my behalf and I received 56% of the asset pool. This was all achieved without going to court and completed within 3 months. I cannot be happier."

Melbourne, Vic

“Canaan lawyers helped me to get out of my divorce much quicker than I expected

To me, having a clean cut with my ex-spouse quickly was my top priority. She has been dragging on for more than 2 years and all I wanted was a fair share of the asset and time with my kids. It was not my intention to get the most and fight this in court for another year or so. Canaan Lawyers really listened to my needs and their strategy really worked on her. Within 4 months of engaging Canaan, my divorce was granted and two documents on property settlement and kids’ arrangement are signed by both parties. My ex-spouse was the most difficult person I know and I expected a much longer fight with her. Best of all, I didn’t need to spend thousands in court."

Melbourne, Vic

"Luckily I listened to them and got my divorce done in Australia and not China” 

I was from China and moved to Australia 2.5 years ago. Most of my friends told me that the Divorce laws in China would favour me and urge me to do it in China rather than Australia. After hiring Canaan Lawyers, they analysed my situation and showed me the pros and cons of the two countries. I ended up taking on the advice by Canaan and I am very happy with the result. Thank you, Canaan Lawyers.”  

Melbourne, Vic 

“I am satisfied with the outcome and very impressed how they handled my case for the last 14 months

My ex-spouse was very unreasonable so I had no option but to fight this in the family court. At the end, I receive what I believe is a fair outcome. Canaan Lawyer is very professional. They know exactly what I want, they listen to my concerns and they explain to me carefully what their strategy is. Their advice is very practical and every time when the parties have an opportunity to negotiate settlement, they use their special risk/reward analysis to help me to make a decision. They never stir things up between me and my ex-spouse. Every week I receive a progress report so I know what they have done last week to progress my case. Canaan Lawyers delivers top customer service, so different to my experience with other lawyers in the past."

Melbourne, Vic 

“No surprise with fees. I trust them

I wouldn’t say their fees were cheap but they were very reasonable given the standard of service I received from Canaan Lawyers. I needed someone who is competent to handle my divorce and finalise it quickly. I didn’t want to hire a lawyer in my local suburb who charges very little but I end up losing too much assets to my ex-spouse who was with me for only 1.5 years. Their strategy was practical and they explained everything to me without legal jargons. I understand their advice and I was able to make informed decisions. Canaan Lawyers always fixed a price and they never charged me more than what they quoted. I feel that they are quite knowledgeable and well experienced in divorce matters and the whole experience was not stressful. I am happy with the result at the end which they were able to get for me within 3-4 months."

Melbourne, Vic 

“They are as good as their reputation

The name Canaan Lawyers is quite well known within the Chinese Community but the reason why I chose them at the beginning was because my best friend hired them in her divorce 3 years ago. I have been in Australia since high school and I can communicate well in English. I must admit that I was a bit sceptical with Chinese lawyers and I was inclined to choose a Western lawyer. After talking to a few western law firms, I end up hiring Canaan Lawyers and I do not regret this decision. Similar to what my best friend has said to me, Canaan Lawyers are professional and actually listen to what I want and need. I never felt like they pushed me into accepting their advice and if I didn’t understand, they would explain to me slowly until we were on the same page. I am glad the whole divorce is over after a few months so that I could now move on with my life. I would definitely recommend to my friends in the future if they ever need a lawyer."

Melbourne, Vic 

“I wouldn’t have much if I didn’t hire them

If you are about to get a divorce, take my advice and do not believe everything your friends and family say about the law. There are so many myths out there and friends are not professionally trained to deal with situation like this. I was subject to family violence a few times during marriage and was kicked out of the house (under my ex-spouse’s name only) after separation. All of my friends have told me not to hire a lawyer so early (because they are expensive) and I should negotiate with my ex-husband directly in the first 12 months. Fortunately, I didn’t follow my friend’s advice and sought advice from Canaan Lawyers right after separation. They asked me about my ex-husband’s background and they immediately warned me about the risk of him leaving Australia permanently with my 3 year old son who was staying with him. Canaan Lawyers applied for an airport watch for my son and put a caveat on his property. It was later discovered that my ex-spouse’s strategy was to sell the house and return to China with my son by Chinese New Year. If I listened to friends and family and didn’t see Canaan, I think I wouldn’t be with my son today and have a place to stay."

Melbourne, Victoria

“They helped me to return loan money to my parents before we split assets

My parents lent me money to purchase my 2 houses but my ex-spouse insisted that it was a gift to both of us. The money was hard earned money by my parents and it was my duty to return the money to them as they were about to retire. I was happy to split 50:50 with her after the loan is repaid to my parents. She lied to her lawyers but at the end Canaan Lawyers used their strategy to have my parent’s loan repaid in full with interest. They were very thorough in running my case and were able to prove that my contributions were a lot more than her. We ended up settling and I got 62% of the assets pool. My parents and I are very happy with the outcome."

Melbourne, Vic 


“We thank Canaan Lawyers for their expert advice and professionalism throughout our commercial matters. All legal issues were handled impeccably and effectively. Thank you again for introducing your business network contacts to us.”



As Seen On