Criminal Law 

The Criminal Law Committee monitors all matters related to criminal law, represents the Law Society and its members on policy and practice issues arising from it, and upholds the rule of law having regard to:

  • The interests of people charged with criminal offences
  • The rights of people in custody
  • The interests of intellectually disabled, mentally ill and other cognitively impaired people as they are affected by the criminal law
  • The rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

Our priorities include:

  • Developing and commenting on law reform and legal policy proposals (including preparing submissions, and liaising with government and other stakeholders in this process)
  • Educating the legal profession about changes to the law, and providing guidance on practice and other issues
  • Exchanging information about issues arising in legal practice (such as recent case law) that may indicate a legal policy issue or concern

Learn more about committees
Current committee members
How to join a committee


Email appearances in the Local Court of NSW during COVID-19 lockdown - template
The Chief Magistrate has approved this template as a standard email for appearances during the current lockdown. Practitioners are asked to keep their emails to 1-2 paragraphs, and note that where practitioners fail to provide the email to the Registry by 3.00pm the day prior to listing, the matter will be marked as no appearance and dealt with accordingly.

ADVO reforms

ALS COVID-19 Generic Sentence Submissions

Appearances of legal representatives in Local Court in NSW

Corrective services NSW – Information for legal practitioners

Domestic violence – where to refer clients

Early appropriate guilty pleas

Evidence of silence alert

Guidelines for contact with the complainant in apprehended domestic violence matters

Legal Aid NSW

NSW District Court 

NSW Local Court

NSW Police Prosecutors email contacts (for solicitors only)

Power to demand that a young person subject to bail conditions be brought to the door

Representation principles for children’s lawyers 4th edition

Resumption of defended hearings in the Local Court of NSW – information for solicitors’

Special sitting arrangements during the Local Court Annual Conference Wednesday 2 June to 4 June 2021

Supreme Court of NSW

Viewing of sensitive evidence in criminal cases: The ODPP has recently implemented a new process, a Secure Timeboxed Viewer (STV), which enables secure access for legal practitioners to view sensitive evidence through a portal from a personal computer or device. The STV obviates the need for legal practitioners to attend police stations or DPP offices to view sensitive evidence such as JIRT proceedings. Please view the External User Guide, which explains how the STV works and the steps users need to take to obtain access.

Appointed Lawyer Scheme under the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Act 1979

The Department of Home Affairs is seeking expressions of interest from suitable criminal defence lawyers willing to represent subjects under the appointed lawyer provisions set out in Division 3 of Part III of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Act 1979. Please review the EOI form and privacy notice for further information.

Recent policy submissions

Letter to Department of Communities and Justice - Review of sentencing practices for historical offences - 15 July 2021

Letter to Law Council of Australia - Draft National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children - 13 July 2021

Letter to Select Committee - Inquiry into the coronial jurisdiction in NSW - 25 June 2021

Letter to Law Council of Australia - Family Law Amendment (Federal Family Violence Orders) Bill 2021 - 11 June 2021

Letter to Law Council of Australia - Stage 2 of the Review of the Model Defamation Provisions - 19 May 2021

Letter to Joint Select Committee - Inquiry into coercive control in domestic relationships - question taken on notice – 5 March 2021

Letter to Department of Communities and Justice – Exposure draft of the Crimes Legislation (Offences Against Pregnant Women) Bill 2020 – 29 January 2021

Letter to Joint Select Committee on Coercive Control – Discussion Paper – 27 January 2021

Letter to Portfolio Committee No. 5 - Firearms & Weapons Legislation Amend. (Criminal Use) Bill 2020 – QTON - 18 Jan 2021

Letter to Standing Committee on Law and Justice – Inquiry into the Mandatory Disease Testing Bill 2020 – 8 December 2020

Letter to Attorney General of NSW - Drug Supply Prohibition Order Pilot Scheme Bill 2020 - 5 November 2020

Letter to Legislative Assembly Committee – Inquiry into assaults on members of the NSW Police Force questions taken on notice – 19 October 2020

Letter to NSW Sentencing Council – Assaults on emergency services workers – 30 September 2020

Letter to Attorney General of NSW - Review of the high risk offender legislation in NSW - 16 September 2020

Letter to Select Committee - Inquiry into the High Level of First Nations People in Custody and Oversight and Review of Deaths in Custody - 7 September 2020

Joint letter to the Minister for Health - ATSI mental health - 4 September 2020

Letter to the Dept of Communities and Justice - Administrative Review of the Bail Act 2013 - 6 August 2020

Letter to Portfolio Committee No. 5 – Legal Affairs - Inquiry into the provisions of the Firearms and Weapons Legislation (Criminal Use) Bill 2020 - 30 July 2020

Letter to Attorney General - the Child Protection (Offenders Registration) Act 2000 - Operation Tusket - 30 June 2020

Letter to LCA - Review of Law Council’s Policy Statement on a Commonwealth Criminal Cases Review Commission - 26 June 2020

Letter to Attorney General of NSW - Mental Health and Cognitive Impairment Forensic Provisions Bill 2020 - 15 June 2020

Letter to Dept of Communities and Justice - Statutory review of the Crimes (Serious Crime Prevention Orders) Act 2016 - 19 May 2020

Letter to LCA - Council of Attorneys-General Age of Criminal Responsibility Working Group Review -14 February 2020

Visit the Criminal Law policy submissions archive

2021 Committee list

A. Lumsden (Chair), M. Mantaj (Dep Chair), M. Allen, C. Bell, A. Bilias, P. Blake, V. Chan, P. Coady, E. Conditsis, D. Elston, D. Giddy, S. Hedberg (YL Rep), I. Hogan, R. Hoyles, J. Hunter, L. Kaban, H. Ketley, R. Leary, P. Musgrave, R. Ogden, J. Pheils, J. Sanders, T. Spohr, J. Styles, J. Sutton, J. Wong.

How to join a committee
Law Society Committees have powers, authorities and tasks delegated by the Council. Consisting of dedicated volunteers, each committee focuses on a particular area of law, pooling together specialist skills and experience in order to scrutinise legislation, court decisions and other government policies.
There are three broad categories of committees:

  • Regulatory committees – perform statutory duties under the Legal Profession Uniform Law (NSW)
  • Liaison committees – linked to other professions or organisations
  • Policy committees

By drawing on the insights of committees, the Law Society can meet its statutory duties and act as a major player in law reform and policy debates.

See the Law Society Committee webpage