Public Defenders

Welcome to the P​ublic Defenders website​


Public Defenders are salaried barristers independent of the government who appear in serious criminal matters for clients who have been granted legal aid. Learn more about Public Defenders.

We do not provide general legal advice to the public.  If you need legal help, contact LawAccess NSW on 1300 888 529 

Public Defenders are proud to be a 2014/2015 Signatory to the TJMF Psychological Wellbeing: Best Practice Guidelines for the Legal Profession

If you experience difficulty reading any of the documents on this website and you require an accessible version, please email


Public Defenders' "Under 5s" Criminal Bar advocacy program 2017

Public Defenders are seeking applications for the 2017 practical advocacy course for barristers of 5 years standing and under who are interested in improving their advocacy skills in criminal law. The program consists of six sessions of 1½ hours commencing at
5pm at Public Defenders Chambers, 23/1 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst.

The program consists of the following:

​4 April

​Examination in Chief

​Tanya Smith, Crown Prosecutor

2 May

​Cross Examination

​Belinda Rigg SC, Public Defender

6 June

​Jury Issues

​Judge Andrew Haesler SC

​18 July


​Judge Ian McClintock SC

8 August


​Richard Wilson & Sophia Beckett,
Public Defenders

​12 September

​CCA Appeals

​Chrissa Loukas SC, Public Defender


Participants should be available to attend all sessions.  Numbers are kept small to encourage participation and engagement. If you are interested you are advised to register as soon as possible as applications will be decided on a "first-come first-served" basis.

The fee for the program is $300.

To register please complete the Application Form and email to

Payment details will be provided to successful applicants.

For further information about the program, please contact Ruth Heazlewood at the Public Defenders on 02 9268 3111.