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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.

Senior Executive

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

Before this, Brendan was the Deputy Secretary of the NSW Department of Justice. He 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.

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

Monique HitterMonique Hitter BSW Dip Law - Deputy Chief Executive Officer

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.

Helen JessopHelen Jessop - Executive Director Business and Corporate Services

Following roles in both Transport for NSW and TAFE NSW, focused on improved services to NSW communities, Helen joined Legal Aid in November 2020. Helen’s international career across Government and the private sector leverages her 22 years as a qualified accountant with her experience gained leading Corporate Services Functions.

Alexandra ColqhounAlexandra Colquhoun - Acting Director, Family Law

Annmarie Lumsden, Director, Criminal LawAnnmarie Lumsden BA LLB Dip Bus EMPA, Accredited Specialist (Criminal Law) - 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.

Director, Civil Meredith OsborneMeredith Osborne BA (Hons) LLB - Director, Civil Law

Meredith commenced as Director, Civil Law in November 2018.

Jocelyn Flanagan, Director, GrantsJocelyn Flanagan BA LLB - Director, Grants

Jocelyn commenced as Director, Grants in April 2018.

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.

Jane Cipants, Director Client ServiceJane Cipants BSW M Social Policy 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.

Michelle Jones, Director Human ResourcesMichelle Jones - Director, Human Resources

Michelle commenced as Director, Human Resources in December 2019.

Key legislation governing our work

Our organisation is established under the Legal Aid Commission Act 1979 (NSW). This Act establishes Legal Aid NSW as an independent statutory body with a mandate to provide effective, efficient and economical legal services that are available and accessible to disadvantaged people in NSW.

The Government Sector Employment Act 2013 (NSW) provides a framework for employment and workforce management. We have complied with the Act and introduced a performance planning and staff development system.

The health and safety of people in our workplace are managed in accordance with section 19 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW).

Our financial statements are prepared in accordance with the Public Finance and Audit Act 1983 (NSW) and the Public Finance and Audit Regulation 2015 (NSW).