Public Defenders

Welcome to the Public 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.​

COVID-19 UPDATE - 17 March 2022

We are currently working with reduced staff numbers. If the phone/office is unattended please direct all enquires to

Everyone attending the office is required to wear a mask, use hand sanitiser immediately on entry and maintain the required physical distance of 1.5 metres.

Please do not attend if you feel unwell or have even mild symptoms of Covid-19 including sore throat, mild fever, runny nose or cough.

Thank you for your help in keeping all of us safe.

​Latest News

Vale Judge Peter Zahra SC

Former Senior Public Defender and much loved and respected colleague of many.

The postal details for the Public Defenders have changed.

Effective immediately the Public Defenders no longer has a DX service.

All Sydney CBD postal correspondence should be addressed to: 

The Public Defenders Level 23, 1 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst, NSW 2010

For regional Public Defenders' Chambers see details here

Legal Aid commissioned expert report on the risk COVID-19 poses to pregnant women, in particular incarcerated women. Written by Professor Caroline Homer, Co-Program Director,  Maternal and Child Health at the Burnet Institute and an Emeritus Professor of Midwifery at the University of Technology Sydney.

Mental Health and Cognitive Impairment Forensic Provisions Act 2020

This Act commences 27 March 2021. For a guide to significant changes and procedural flow charts for Unfitness to be Tried and Mental Health and Cognitive Impairment Defences see below under Popular Resources

Public Defenders response to COVID-19 crisis

There are two new features on our web site: firstly a one-stop resource page for criminal lawyers and secondly a platform for collecting lawyers’ experiences of what is and is not working, and problems with, the emergency procedures.

Why we are collecting feedback

We are seeking to collect and maintain an objective record of the experiences of criminal lawyers under the temporary emergency procedures to inform the profession, the courts and the government about:

1. how the emergency procedures are, and are not, working during the crisis;

2. how the emergency procedures are impacting upon the rights of accused persons including the right to a fair trial;

3. how any procedures are affecting the safety of lawyers and others employed in the criminal justice system; and

4. how any procedures are affecting the safety of people in custody.

This information will be important to the ongoing management of the crisis and to addressing any proposals to extend any of the emergency measures into ongoing practice after the crisis

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