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Our Board

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.

Craig Smith Dip Law (BAB) Dip Crim (SYD)Craig Smith (Chair) Dip Law (BAB) Dip Crim (SYD)

Mr Smith was 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, 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 from 18 February 2013.

Michael ColemanMichael Coleman MComm, B Comm, FAICD, FCA, FCPA

Michael Coleman 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 to 22 June 2019.

The Board also appointed Mr Coleman as Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee from 29 June 2016 to 22 June 2019. He was reappointed to the position for the period 23 June 2019 to 23 June 2021.

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.

Mr Coleman 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.

Richard HenryEmeritus Professor Richard Leigh Henry, AM MB BS, MD, FRACP, Dip Clin Epi

Richard Henry 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 to 22 June 2019.

Mr Henry 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 LLB (Hons)

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 for the period 23 June 2016 to 22 June 2019.

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. She is a member of the Global Council for Hebert 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.

Dr Peggy DwyerDr. Peggy Dwyer BA LLB (ANU) Ph.D (University of Edinburgh)

Peggy Dwyer was appointed as representative of the NSW Bar Association by the NSW Attorney General for the period 23 June 2016 to 22 June 2019.

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.

Darryl BrowneDarryl Browne LLB, Accredited Specialist (Wills and Estates), FAICD, Public Notary, TEP

Darryl Browne was appointed by the NSW Attorney General as a representative of the Law Society of NSW for the period 23 June 2016 to 22 June 2019.

Mr Browne is an accredited specialist in wills and estates. His forte is estate planning, including 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.

Mr Browne’s professional achievements include Director (Councillor) of the Law Society of NSW, Chair of the Elder Law, Capacity and Succession Committee, Chair of the Elder Abuse Working Group, member of the Specialist Accreditation Board, Director of Lawcover Insurance Pty Ltd, member of the Future Committee, Chair of the Law Council of Australia's responding to the elder abuse, and member of the University of Sydney's Law Extension Committee.

Anna CodyAssociate Professor Anna Cody LLM (Harvard), GDip LP (UTS), LLB (UNSW), BA (UNSW)

Anna Cody was appointed by the NSW Attorney General as a representative of bodies providing community legal services for the period 23 June 2016 to 22 June 2019.

Ms Cody was the winner of the 2016 Human Rights Commission Law award and in 2007 she 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.

Ainslie van OnselenAinslie van Onselen LLB (UWA), MAppFin, GDipAppFin (Finsia), GAICD

Ainslie van Onselen was appointed by the NSW Attorney General as representative of Consumer & Community Welfare Interests for the period 23 June 2016 to 22 June 2019.

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 Boards of Beem It and RAMS Financial Group Pty Ltd, and is Chair of the Kambala Girls School Council.

Previously, she was Director and National President of the Migration Institute of Australia, a columnist for The Australian, a Sky News panellist and Associate Professor of the University of Western Australia.

She is currently General Manager of Deposits and Unsecured Lending in Westpac's Consumer Bank. She has been with Westpac Group for more than five years in a range of senior roles. Most recently she was Managing Director of RAMS, and prior to this, Director of Women's Markets, Inclusion and Diversity at Westpac.

Richard Funston, Acting CEO Legal Aid NSWBrendan Thomas, BA Chief Executive Officer

Appointed by the NSW Attorney General, Mr Thomas commenced in his role as Chief Executive Officer of Legal Aid NSW on 22 May 2017.

Before this, he was the Deputy Secretary of the NSW Department of Justice. Mr Thomas worked for the NSW 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.

He has worked in crime prevention and criminal justice for two decades. He has written widely on crime prevention and Aboriginal justice issues.

Representative Unions NSW – Vacant