Public Defenders

The Bugmy Bar Book​

The Bugmy Bar Book Committee has developed the below chapters summarising key research relating to experiences of disadvantage and deprivation. The purpose of this resource, for practitioners, is to assist in the preparation and presentation of evidence to establish the application of the Bugmy v The Queen (2013) 249 CLR 571 principles.

​Index of Chapters

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum 
Disorders (FASD)

​Exposure to Domestic 
and Family Violence

Incarceration of
Parents and Caregivers


​Out-of-Home Care

Childhood Sexual Abuse

Early Exposure to Alcohol
and Other Drug Abuse

​Interrupted School Attendance 
and Suspension

Acquired Brain 

Stolen Generations and


Cultural Dispossession


​Grief and Loss 

Refugee Background

Social Exclusion 

Child Abuse and Neglect 

Chapter Review Process

Each chapter is comprised of extracts from major reports and leading academic research. The extracts are compiled by a researcher under the supervision of a senior legal academic or legal practitioner from the Committee. The chapter is then assigned to an expert in that field for review to ensure accuracy, comprehensiveness and reliability of the research cited with respect to the general body of research in the field. Once that review is complete, the chapters are then reviewed by two members of an advisory panel. All chapters which relate specifically to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experiences are reviewed (and in many cases researched) by Indigenous researchers/experts and Indigenous members of the advisory panel.


Guidance on how the chapters may be used and presented can be found in the following papers:  

Click here to view other relevant speeches and papers >>

A Note for Practitioners

The research extracted in the chapters has been drawn from major reports and leading research. Each chapter has been reviewed by a committee of senior lawyers and academics, and has also been reviewed by an expert in the field to ensure the research is reliable, credible and reflects the general body of research available for the topic. 

Not all of the research which is contained in the chapters may be relevant to your client. We suggest that it would be helpful for the presentation of your case to identify to the court the paragraphs of the chapter which are relevant to your case. There may also be further research available which is not included in the chapter and is relevant to your client’s particular experience or condition.  

Most of the chapters include extracts from the research relating to treatment and healing. The research contained in relation to treatment and healing does not attempt to prescribe or recommend what is required for any individual. This will of course be determined by factors such as the individual’s personal experience or condition, the advice of any relevant experts, health providers or other support persons and the availability of treatment and opportunities to recover and heal. 


The Bugmy Bar Book is produced by the Bugmy Bar Book Committee in consultation with experts in each area of research and under the guidance of a multi-disciplinary, independent advisory panel.

The Committee is comprised of representatives from the Public Defenders, the private profession, the Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT), Legal Aid NSW, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (NSW), the District Court of NSW, the Judicial Commission of NSW, University of New South Wales, University of Technology Sydney, University of Sydney and the Australian National University.

Click here for a full list of contributors to the project.

Enquiries and Feedback

Feedback, suggestions or enquiries may be emailed to the Committee's coordinator.

Subscribe to Mailing List

To be notified of updates to the Bugmy Bar Book and upcoming training events, sign up to our mailing list (external link).

​Just added: Special COVID-19 Chapter

As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic we have just published a new chapter: COVID-19 Risks and Impacts on Prisoners and Communities.

This chapter will be regularly updated and is subject to a fast-track review process.  For case summaries on COVID-19 issues please go to the NSW Public Defenders web page COVID-19 Resources for Criminal Lawyers which is updated daily.  

Training and Development

Click through to see upcoming Bugmy Bar Book training and development events 

[Note: All training events have been deferred due to COVID-19.  Watch this space for online training coming soon]