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Our organisation

The long-term strategic direction of Legal Aid NSW is overseen by a Board, appointed by the Attorney General.

The day-to-day management is the responsibility of the Chief Executive Officer. The CEO is assisted by a Senior Executive. View our organisational chart.

See our Annual Report for more information.

Legal Aid NSW Board

The Board consists of non-executive members, appointed by the Attorney General, and the Chief Executive Officer.

Craig Smith Dip Law (BAB) Dip Crim (SYD)Craig Smith (Chair) Dip Law (BAB) Dip Crim (SYD)
Craig was re-appointed by the NSW Attorney General as Chair of the Board for the period 23 June 2016 to 22 June 2019.

A solicitor and former Judicial Registrar, District Court of NSW, Craig has 42 years experience in the administration of justice in NSW. He has worked in various government legal and policy positions, including senior positions with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. He was Director Court Services and then Director Judicial Support prior to his appointment as Judicial Registrar in 2010.

Craig has served as Chair of the Legal Aid Board since the 18 February, 2013.

Michael ColemanMichael Coleman MComm, B Comm, FAICD, FCA, FCPA
Michael was appointed by the NSW Attorney General as a representative who, in the opinion of the NSW Attorney General, possesses skills and experience that would benefit the Commission for the period 23 June 2016 - 22 June 2019.

The Board also appointed Michael as Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee from 29 June 2016 - 22 June 2019.

Michael is a Chartered Accountant. He retired from KPMG in 2011 after a career that included 30 years as an audit partner and practice leader, having led both Audit and Risk Management & Regulation. Michael is a member of the boards of Macquarie Group and Macquarie Bank, where he chairs the Audit Committees. Michael is a member of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s Audit Committee; a member of the Advisory Board of Bingo Industries Limited and has a number of significant roles with the Australian Institute of Company Directors, including National Board member, Chairman of the Audit Committee, NSW Councillor and Chairman of the Reporting Committee.

An experienced director and Chairman, a pragmatic risk manager and an Audit Committee expert, Michael’s current roles include Adjunct Professor, Australian School of Business, University of New South Wales; Chairman of Planet Ark Environmental Foundation; a board member of Osteoporosis Australia  and Belvoir St Theatre Foundation. He is a past Chairman of the Financial Reporting Council and ING Management Limited.

Richard HenryEmeritus Professor Richard Leigh Henry, AM MB BS, MD, FRACP, Dip Clin Epi
Richard was appointed by the NSW Attorney General as a representative who, in the opinion of the NSW Attorney General, possesses skills and experience that would benefit the Commission for the period 23 June 2016 - 22 June 2019.

Richard is Emeritus Professor and Pro-Chancellor of UNSW Australia. He was Professor of Paediatrics at both University of Newcastle and UNSW and held senior leadership roles in both the university and health sectors. From 2006-2012, he was Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Vice-President at UNSW. Since his retirement from UNSW, he has worked as a consultant in health and higher education. Current unpaid roles include Pro-Chancellor at UNSW, Director Children’s Cancer Institute, Trustee Sydney Grammar School, Chair Board of Centre for Social Impact and Director Paediatrio.

He was appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia in 2007 for service to paediatric respiratory medicine as a clinician, researcher, educator and mentor, and serving in a range of roles with professional medical organisations.

Sue GilchristSue Gilchrist LLM, BA/L (Hons)
Sue was appointed by the NSW Attorney General as a representative who, in the opinion of the NSW Attorney General, possesses skills and experience that would benefit the Commission for the period 23 June 2016 - 22 June 2019.

Sue is the Regional Managing Partner, Asia & Australia of Herbert Smith Freehills. Sue is also a senior Intellectual Property disputes partner at Herbert Smith Freehills and she is experienced in all intellectual property areas, including patents, designs, copyright, trademarks, passing off and confidential information. Sue was the lead partner acting for Apple in the Apple v Samsung patent and design litigation relation to tablets and smartphones.

Sue is the Chair of the Intellectual Property Committee of the Law Council of Australia.

Sue is regularly recognised in legal directories, for example she is ranked in Band 1 for Patents and “has an enviable reputation, with sources singling her out as one of the top lawyers in her field” (Chambers & Partners 2014 and 2015).

In her role as Regional Managing Partner of Herbert Smith Freehills, Sue is involved in Herbert Smith Freehills’s pro bono and diversity initiatives.

Dr Peggy DwyerDr. Peggy Dwyer BA LLB (ANU) Ph.D (University of Edinburgh)
Peggy was re-appointed by the NSW Attorney General as representative of the NSW Bar Association for the period 23 June 2016 to 22 June 2019.  

Peggy appears in a wide range of criminal matters, including jury trials, contested hearings, appeals, Children’s Court matters and State Parole Authority hearings. She has a busy practice in coronial proceedings, appearing as Counsel Assisting the Coroner (in the Northern Territory and NSW) and counsel for interested parties. Peggy is currently Counsel for the family of Tory Johnson in the inquiry into the three deaths arising from the Lindt Café Siege.

Peggy also appears in disciplinary tribunals including the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal and Medical Council, for both prosecution and defence.

Darryl BrowneDarryl Ian Browne LLB
Daryl was appointed by the NSW Attorney General as a representative of the Law Society of NSW for the period 23 June 2016 - 22 June  2019.

Darryl is an Accredited Specialist in Wills and Estates. His forte is estate planning (involving wills, superannuation, powers of attorney, enduring guardian appointments, advance care directives, trusts and related aspects), but he also conducts estate and other litigation for clients. He advises clients  concerning commercial law issues (including business acquisitions, leases, employment issues and planning matters) as well as with conveyancing and related real estate transactions.

Darryl’s professional achievements include Director (Councillor) of the Law Society New South Wales, Chair of Ethics Committee, Deputy Chair of the Elder Law and Succession Committee, Member Specialist Accreditation Board, Member Legal Aid Commission Board, Graduate AICD, Member STEP, Member SMSF Association, Member Future Prospects of Young Graduates Working Group and Member Elder Abuse Working Group.

Rachel FrancoisRachel Francois BA (UNSW), LLB (UNSW)
Rachel was appointed by the NSW Attorney General as representative Unions NSW for the period 23 June 2016 -  22 June 2019.

Rachel is a barrister at the NSW Bar. Rachel specialises in discrimination law and consumer protection cases and also practices in administrative law and commercial litigation. Rachel was employed by Legal Aid NSW as a solicitor in civil litigation between 1996 and 2000. During that time, Rachel was  a member of the PSA Departmental Committee and a delegate to the Peak Consultative Committee. Rachel has a strong commitment to union principles and social justice. Rachel was a member of the NSW Bar Council in 2007 and was junior counsel assisting ASIC in its investigations into the corporate wrongdoing of HIH Insurance and James Hardie. Rachel’s more recent cases include the class actions against Cash Converters in relation to alleged unlawful interest rates and the landmark sexual harassment decision in Richardson v Oracle (2014) 223 FCR 334.

Anna CodyAssociate Professor Anna Cody LLM (Harvard), GDip LP (UTS), LLB (UNSW), BA (UNSW)
Anna was appointed by the NSW Attorney General  as a representative of bodies providing community legal services for the period 23 June 2016 - 22 June 2019.

Anna is an Associate Professor and Director of Kingsford Legal Centre which is a community legal centre specialising in discrimination and employment law. Anna has a Masters in Law from Harvard University and Bachelor of Arts and Law from University of New South Wales. The Centre is part of the University of New South Wales Law Faculty and teaches law students to think critically about the law and legal system. She has worked at the Centre for over 15 years. During that time the Centre has won various awards including the 2001 Australian Awards for University Teaching, Law and Legal Studies, 2001 (the Centre) and 2009 (individually) UNSW Vice-chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence, and 2010 Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning from the Australian Learning and Teaching Council. In 2007 Anna Cody won the NSW Women Lawyers achievement award in the government/community lawyer section. From 2011 to 2013 Anna was the Chair of CLCNSW and member of the Board of Law Access. She was also the Deputy Chair of the NSW Legal Assistance Forum. She is currently a Board member of the National Association of Community Legal Centres.

She has also worked in human rights in Mexico, specialising in disability and migrant rights, in international development work in East Timor and Indonesia, and for 2 years with the Center for Economic and Social Rights in New York developing their program on the right to health, focussing on mining and human rights issues. Anna has previously worked with Indigenous women in Alice Springs establishing a domestic violence service, and in community legal education in El Salvador.

Ainslie van OnselenAinslie van Onselen LLB (UWA), MAppFin, GDipAppFin, GAICD
Ainslie was re-appointed by the NSW Attorney General as representative of Consumer & Community Welfare Interests for the period 23 June 2016 to 22 June 2019.

Ainslie has practised as a commercial litigator for over 18 years and is admitted to practise law in several jurisdictions across Australia. Ainslie was the former Director and National President of the Migration Institute of Australia, former columnist for the Legal Affairs section of The Australian Newspaper, former panelist on The Contrarians - Sky News and former an Associate Professor of the University of Western Australia. Ainslie is currently the Global Director of Women’s Markets, Inclusion & Diversity of the Westpac Banking Corporation.

Ainslie van OnselenBrendan Thomas BA, Chief Executive Officer 
Appointed by the NSW Attorney General, Brendan commenced in his role as Chief Executive Officer of Legal Aid NSW in May 2017.

Before this Brendan was the Deputy Secretary of the Department of Justice. Brendan worked for the Department of Justice for more than 20 years and has a strong track record of designing and implementing reforms providing services for victims of domestic violence and for Aboriginal communities.

Brendan has worked in crime prevention and criminal justice for more than 19 years. He has written widely on crime prevention and Aboriginal justice issues.

Senior Executive

Richard Funston, Acting CEO Legal Aid NSWRichard Funston BCom LLB EMPA, Accredited Criminal Law Specialist - Deputy Chief Executive Officer
Richard’s earlier experience includes eight years with Legal Aid Victoria and four years as Principal Solicitor of the Inner City Legal Centre in NSW. During his 19 years with Legal Aid NSW, Richard has held leadership roles across the organisation.

Kylie Beckhouse, Executive Director Legal Servicves, Family LawKylie Beckhouse BA LLB - Director, Family Law
Kylie was appointed to head our family law practice in May 2009. Before then she held senior management roles throughout Legal Aid NSW, including in Central Sydney, Liverpool, Parramatta, Blacktown and Child Support Service. Her earlier experience includes seven years in private practice. She is an accredited specialist in family law.

Monique Hitter, Executive Director Legal Servicves, Civil LawMonique Hitter BSW Dip Law - Director, Civil Law

Monique began working as a community lawyer at Marrickville Legal Centre, and has worked as a lawyer in both the government and private sector. She developed the Cooperative Legal Services Delivery Model in 2004 and established new programs in the Civil Law Division for older people, prisoners and homeless people.

Annmarie Lumsden, Executive Director, Strategic Policy, Planning and Management ReportingAnnmarie Lumsden BA LLB Dip Bus EMPA, Accredited Criminal Law Specialist - Director, Criminal Law
During her 18 years with Legal Aid NSW, Annmarie has held leadership positions across the organisation. Her earlier experience includes seven years at the Legal Aid Office ACT, as well as working in private practice and government.

Barry O'Loughlin, Executive Director, Finance and AdministrationBarry O'Loughlin B Fin Admin FCPA - Director Finance and Facilities

Barry joined Legal Aid NSW at the end of 2016. Barry has held senior finance roles in both the NSW government and the private sector during his 30 plus year career.

Vicki Leaver, Executive Director, People and Organisational DevelopmentVicki Leaver BA Dip Ed - Director, People and Organisational Development

Vicki was appointed in June 2011. Vicki commenced her career as a primary teacher. Prior to joining Legal Aid NSW, Vicki held senior roles at RailCorp and the Department of Health.

Wayne Gale, Executive Director Information Technology Services and RecordsWayne Gale BA (Computing) MCom (Accounting) - Director, Information and Communications Technology

Wayne was appointed to his position in January 2007. Wayne’s career in information technology spans 29 years including senior roles both in the private sector providing information technology services and solutions to Government, as well as working in the government sector.

Gaby Carney, Director Strategic Planning, Policy and Community PartnershipsGaby Carney BA LLB, Masters of International Law - Director, Strategic Planning, Policy and Community Partnerships

Gaby was appointed to this role in March 2017. Before joining Legal Aid NSW, she worked in a range of roles in legal practice, law reform and legal policy. Early in her career Gaby worked at Phillips Fox Lawyers and the Australian Law Reform Commission. In the NSW Government, she has worked in Justice Policy at the Department of Justice, and at the Department of Premier and Cabinet. Most recently, she was the Director of Policy and Practice at the Law Society of NSW.

Jane Cipants, Director Client ServiceJane Cipants BSW MPolicy EMPA - Director Client Service

Jane commenced in the new role of Director Client Service in August 2016 after six years managing legal service development for Legal Aid NSW. She has many years of experience working in or for the legal assistance sector, including 11 years managing a community legal centre. Her earlier career was in social work in the mental health sector.

Sue Scott, Director Client and Case Management SystemSue Scott BA, Diploma of Information Management, Master of Education (Hons), Diploma of Legal Studies - Director, Client and Case Management System

Sue was appointed to this role in October 2016. Before this Sue was the Executive Officer to the CEO and led a number of projects, including reshaping the Legal Aid website and developing a client service strategy. Before joining Legal Aid NSW, Sue was the Assistant Director at the Law and Justice Foundation of NSW where she researched and implemented several initiatives to improve online access to the law. Sue also worked at the World Bank, conducting research into access to justice issues.