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Complex criminal law barrister panel

The panel is currently closed.

About the panel

Barristers who are appointed to the panel will be eligible to be briefed in legally aided matters covered by the panel. These jurisdictions and matters constitute only a small percentage of grants of legal aid for criminal law matters. However because of their complexity they have the potential to incur considerable cost. The panel is an important initiative to improve the efficient and effective administration of legal aid in these matters.

The aim of the panel is to ensure the appointment of appropriately skilled and experienced barristers to be briefed in legally aided matters covered by the panel. This is reflected in the selection criteria for the panel.

Briefing a panel barrister in a complex criminal matter

Panel barristers are eligible to be briefed in the following legally aided matters:

  • All Supreme Court trials and pleas;
  • Matters where the maximum penalty is life imprisonment;
  • Manslaughter trials and pleas;
  • All terrorism matters;
  • Sexual Assault matters where there are multiple complainants and/or multiple defendants;
  • Matters where the trial is complex because of the nature of the charge or the defence or where significant case management is required (e.g.  sex slavery, fraud or money laundering charges where there are more than 30 counts and/or the total value is more than $500,000.00);
  • Those trials involving a number of expert witnesses and identified by the trial judge as requiring significant case management pursuant to s.141 Criminal Procedure Act 1986;
  • Where the trial length is estimated at 20 days or more; and
  • Where the brief of evidence is more than 5,000 pages.

Appointment to the panel does not confer an entitlement to work.

The policy requiring solicitors to instruct Public Defenders, if available, will continue to apply.

Panel barristers must be briefed in accordance with the Legal Aid NSW Grants Allocation Guidelines [as amended] unless there are exceptional circumstances.

The details of panel barristers will be included in the published list of barristers (Grants Online login required to access the list). Solicitors will select barristers from the published list for briefing in matters covered by the panel.

Consistent with the National Model Gender Equitable Briefing Policy, Legal Aid NSW requires solicitors to genuinely consider briefing female barristers.

In appropriate matters and with prior approval, Senior Counsel may be briefed in matters covered by the panel.

Fee rates

Barristers appointed to the panel will be paid at the complex criminal matters rate as applicable from time to time and in accordance with Legal Aid NSW policies. The complex criminal matters rate is currently $230 per hour for preparation and appearance in trials in both State and Commonwealth District and Supreme Court matters. Barristers are currently paid a day rate for trials.


If you have any enquiries about the panel, please contact the Professional Practices Branch by e-mail at panels@legalaid.nsw.gov.au or on 02 9219 5662.

If you have any enquiries about briefing a barrister in a complex criminal matter, please contact the Grants Crime Team at grants.crime@legalaid.nsw.gov.au or on 02 9219 5999.