The Legal Aid NSW Board consists of nine part-time members including the Chair, and one full-time member, who is the CEO of Legal Aid NSW.
Part-time board members are appointed by the NSW Attorney General for a period of up to three years, except for the Chair, who is appointed for a period up to five years.
At a meeting on 29 June 2021 the Board of Legal Aid NSW gave its support to the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
The context of the Board’s support is in the following resolution:
"The Board acknowledges the award of the 2021 Sydney Peace Prize to the Uluru Statement from the Heart (‘the Uluru Statement’). We support the Uluru Statement and the outcomes sought therein.
"The Board shares the concerns expressed in the Uluru Statement as to the high incarceration rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait people and the overrepresentation of Aboriginal children in out of home care. The Board is committed to developing Legal Aid policies and supporting initiatives directed at improving access to justice for First Nations people."
At a meeting on 29 August 2023 the Board of Legal Aid NSW gave its support to the Voice to Parliament referendum, as follows:
The Board of Legal Aid NSW supported the Uluru Statement from the Heart and we now strongly support a Yes vote in the Voice to Parliament referendum.
The Board considers that providing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People with a Constitutionally recognised Voice to make representations on proposed Commonwealth laws and policies that relate to them can only help in developing solutions for Closing the Gap; advance the cause of reconciliation; and is the right thing to do.
The statements by the Board in support of the Uluru Statement from the Heart and the Voice to Parliament express the collective viewpoint of the Board members and are not made on behalf of Legal Aid NSW
Mr Smith was appointed by the NSW Attorney General as Chair of the Board from 27 September 2022 to 26 September 2025.
A solicitor and former Judicial Registrar, District Court of NSW, Mr Smith 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.
Mr Smith has served as Chair of the Legal Aid Board since 18 February 2013.
Anna Cody was appointed by the NSW Attorney General as a representative of bodies providing community legal services, and has been reappointed from 27 September 2022 to 26 September 2025.
Ms Cody is Dean of the Western Sydney University School of Law, and was previously Director of the Kingsford Legal Centre, which specialises in discrimination and employment law. The centre is part of the University of New South Wales Law Faculty. She worked at the centre for more than two decades.
She was the winner of the 2016 Human Rights Commission law award and in 2007 was named community lawyer of the year at the NSW Women Lawyers Achievement Awards. From 2011 to 2013, she was the Chair of Community Legal Centres NSW and was a member of the Board of LawAccess NSW. She was also the Deputy Chair of the NSW Legal Assistance Forum. She is currently a member of the Board of the National Association of Community Legal Centres
Michael Coleman was appointed as a representative who, in the opinion of the NSW Attorney General, possesses skills and experience that would benefit Legal Aid NSW. Mr Coleman has been reappointed from 27 September 2022 to 26 September 2025.
Mr Coleman is a chartered accountant. He retired from KPMG in 2011 following a career that included 30 years as an audit partner and practice leader.
Mr Coleman is a member of the boards and chairs the audit committees of Macquarie Group and Macquarie Bank. He is Chair of Bingo Industries Limited, was a member of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s audit committee, and enjoys a number of significant roles with the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
He is an Adjunct Professor at the Australian School of Business, University of New South Wales, Chairman of the Planet Ark Environmental Foundation, a Governor and Chairman of the Audit and Risk Committee of The Centenary Institute of Cancer Medicine and Cell Biology, and a director of the Belvoir Street Theatre Foundation.
Jacqueline Dawson is the Principal of Sexton Family Law and an Accredited Specialist in Family Law. Admitted to practice as a solicitor in 1994 and an Accredited Specialist since 2001, Jacqueline began practice in early 1995 with the firm then known as Robyn Sexton & Associates and remained as a principal of the firm when Judge Sexton was appointed to the Federal Magistrates Court.
Jacqueline is a Councillor of the Law Society of NSW. Within the NSW Law Society, she is presently Chair of the Specialist Accreditation Board, Co-Chair of the Family Law Committee, Deputy Chair of the Professional Conduct Committee and a member of the Audit Risk and Finance Committee.
She also serves as a committee member of each of the Sydney University Law Extension Committee and the Legal Qualifications Committee of the Legal Profession Admission Board.
Ms Dawson has been appointed from 27 September 2022 to 26 September 2025
Peggy Dwyer was appointed as a representative of the NSW Bar Association by the NSW Attorney General, and has been reappointed from 27 September 2022 to 26 September 2025.
Dr Dwyer was called to the bar in 2010 after more than 10 years as a solicitor, specialising in criminal and, later, coronial law. She has previously worked for the Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT), the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency in the Northern Territory, and the NSW Crown Solicitor’s Office. As a barrister, Dr Dwyer appears in a wide range of criminal matters, including jury trials, appeals, Children’s Court of NSW matters and State Parole Authority hearings. She has a busy practice in coronial proceedings and a significant interest in medical law.
She appeared as Counsel Assisting the Royal Commission into the Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse and as Counsel for the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency in the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory.
Dr Dwyer was an Associate to Justice Michael Kirby in the High Court of Australia between 1995 and 1996.
Sue Gilchrist was appointed as a representative who, in the opinion of the NSW Attorney General, possesses skills and experience that would benefit Legal Aid NSW. Ms Gilchrist has been reappointed from 27 September 2022 to 26 September 2025.
Ms Gilchrist is 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. She is regularly recognised in the top ranking of legal profession directories for intellectual property litigation, and in particular, patent litigation.
Ms Gilchrist also has strong management experience, having been the Regional Managing Partner of Herbert Smith Freehills for Asia and Australia until 2017. Ms Gilchrist is a member of the Global Council for Herbert Smith Freehills. She is also a member of her firm’s governance body for pro bono and citizenship, and its governance body for diversity and inclusion. She is Chair of the firm’s Reconciliation Action Plan Steering Committee, and is proud to have helped the firm reach the Elevate level for its Reconciliation Action Plan, as endorsed by peak body Reconciliation Australia.
Richard Henry was appointed as a representative who, in the opinion of the NSW Attorney General, possesses skills and experience that would benefit Legal Aid NSW. Mr Henry has been reappointed from 27 September 2022 to 26 September 2025.
He is Emeritus Professor and Pro-Chancellor of the University of New South Wales (UNSW). He was Professor of Paediatrics at both the University of Newcastle and UNSW, and held senior leadership roles in both the university and health sectors. From 2006 to 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 ProChancellor at UNSW, Director of the Children’s Cancer Institute, Trustee of the Sydney Grammar School, Chairman of Trustees and Director of 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 for serving in a range of roles with professional medical organisations.
Monique is currently the CEO of Legal Aid NSW. She was appointed to the role in July 2022. Prior to this she was the Acting CEO from November 2021. Ms Hitter has been reappointed from 27 September 2022 to 26 September 2025.
Monique was also the Deputy CEO from November 2018 – November 2021 and prior to that was the Director Civil Law for 11 years.
Monique has been practicing law since 1997 and has also served as a Senior Member on the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal in the Administrative and Equal Opportunity Division.
In over 30 years working in social justice, Monique is especially proud of having established the Civil law Service for Aboriginal Communities, the Children’s Civil Law Service and expanding the reach and scope of the Legal Aid NSW Civil Law Program, such that the Productivity Commission in its landmark Inquiry into Access to Justice Arrangements, stated that it set the national benchmark for the provision of civil law services.
More recently in her role as Deputy CEO, Monique led a process to establish new policies in response to sexual harassment and unacceptable behaviour, the development of the Family Law Blueprint and Legal Aid NSW’s response to the pandemic.
Alison McRobert was appointed by the NSW Attorney General as a representative of Unions NSW for the period September 2, 2019 to September 2, 2022.
Ms McRobert is currently the Legal Counsel and manager of legal services at the Public Service Association of NSW. She has specialised in employment and industrial law in the NSW public sector since 2002, and previously worked at a number of employment law firms including McNally Jones Staff and Haywards.
Ms McRobert has previously served as a Director at Federation Law Pty Ltd from 2013 to 2016.
Ms McRobert has been reappointed from 27 September 2022 to 26 September 2025.
Ainslie van Onselen was appointed by the NSW Attorney General as a representative of consumer and community interests, and has been reappointed from 27 Septemeber until September 26, 2025.
Ms van Onselen has practised as a commercial litigator for two decades and is admitted to practise law in several jurisdictions across Australia. She also sits on the Board of Automic, a financial services company.
Ms van Onselen is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand. Prior to this role, she had been with Westpac Group for over six years in a range of senior roles. Most recently she was General Manager of Deposits and Unsecured Lending in Westpac’s Consumer Bank, and prior to this, Managing Director of RAMS. She was also the Global Director of Women’s Markets, Inclusion and Diversity.