Briefing Victoria Legal Aid Chambers

Briefing Victoria Legal Aid Chambers

Our Chambers advocates provide high quality representation for clients with a grant of legal assistance in criminal law, civil law, child protection and family law. They appear in all Victorian courts and tribunals, the Federal Court, the Family Court and the High Court of Australia.

Chambers advocates can be briefed to appear for clients by Victoria Legal Aid lawyers and private practitioners on our panels.

To engage the services of our advocates, contact Victoria Legal Aid Chambers on:

Phone: (03) 9269 0300
Email: advocates_clerk@vla.vic.gov.au

Chief Counsel

Tim Marsh

Practice and briefing coordination

Shannon Dellamarta, Associate Director, Chambers

Jo von Seht-Nater, Briefing Manager, Chambers

Senior public defenders

David Gibson

John McLoughlin (Appeals)

Julia Munster

Rebekah Sleeth

Helen Spowart

Jarrod Williams

James Fitzgerald

Public defenders

Zoe Broughton

Danielle Lamovie

Selena McCrickard

Anthony Pyne

Associate public defenders

Camille Woodward

Cindy McGrath

Darcy Dempsey

Jarrod Van Arkadie

Michael Reardon

Senior Advocate, Family and Children's Law

Robyn Hamilton

Advocate, Family and Children's Law

Matthew Strong

Associate Advocate, Family and Children's Law

Marika Ruzyla

Senior Advocate, Civil law

Louise Martin

Associate Advocate, Ci​vil Law

Jessie Taylor

Chief Counsel

Profile photo of Tim Marsh
Tim Marsh

Admitted to the legal profession: 2000

Signed Victorian Bar Roll: 2003

Available to be briefed in:

  • Supreme Court and County Court trials and pleas
  • Complex contested committals
  • judicial review proceedings
  • Court of Appeal
  • High Court
  • crimes mental impairment specialist
  • matters involving the Serious Sex Offenders (Detention and Supervision) Act 2009 and Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006

Professional memberships and accreditation:

  • Mental Health Review Board – 2008
  • Australian and New Zealand Association of Psychiatry, Psychology and the Law (ANZAPPL)

Other information:

  • member of the Victorian Law Reform Commission Steering Committee for the reference into the Crimes (Mental Impairment and Unfitness to be Tried) Act 1997
  • member of the County Court working group that addresses procedural and practical issues in mental impairment and unfitness cases
  • Trial Counsel Development Program – Leading Counsel participant

Practice and briefing Coordination

Associate Director, Chambers

Profile photo of Shannon Dellamarta
Shannon Dellamarta

Admitted to the legal profession: 2003

Professional memberships and accreditation:

  • accredited criminal law specialist

Other information:

  • responsible for Victoria Legal Aid's briefing practices and the Trial Counsel Development Program

Briefing Manager, Chambers

Profile photo of Jo von Seht-nater
Jo von Seht-Nater

Jo is responsible for the daily operational requirements of Chambers, overseeing briefing and work allocation to our advocates. Prior to joining Chambers, Jo managed an out-of-home care provider's Royal Commissions Response, in relation to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

 

Senior public defenders

David Gibson
David Gibson

Admitted to the legal profession: 1985

Signed Victorian Bar Roll: 2009

Available to be briefed in:

  • Supreme Court and County Court trials, pleas, appeals and bail applications
  • Contested committals
  • judicial review proceedings
  • Court of Appeal
  • matters involving the Crimes (Mental Impairment and Unfitness to be Tried) Act 1997 and Serious Sex Offenders (Detention and Supervision) Act 2009
  • complex Children’s Court matters (Criminal Division)

Other information:

  • member of the Child Witness Service Advisory Board, which provides advice and guidance to the Child Witness Service that supports child witnesses in the criminal justice system

John McLoughlin
John McLoughlin (Appeals)

Admitted to the Legal Profession: 1987

Available to be briefed in:

  • Court of Appeal
  • Supreme Court pleas
  • High Court
  • County Court pleas
  • administrative law (judicial review)
  • matters involving the Crimes (Mental Impairment and Unfitness to be Tried) Act 1997 and Serious Sex Offenders (Detention and Supervision) Act 2009

Julia Munster
Julia Munster

Admitted to the legal profession: 1993

Available to be briefed in:

  • County Court trials, pleas, appeals and bail applications
  • Supreme Court bail applications
  • matters involving the Crimes (Mental Impairment and Unfitness to be Tried) Act 1997 and Serious Sex Offenders (Detention and Supervision) Act 2009
  • Contested committals
  • Court of Appeal
  • judicial review proceedings
  • appear as junior in Supreme Court trials, appeals and pleas
  • complex Children's Court matters (criminal division)

Professional memberships and accreditation:

  • accredited criminal law specialist

Photo of Rebekah Sleeth
Rebekah Sleeth

Admitted to the legal profession: 2005

Signed Victorian Bar Roll: 2006

Available to be briefed in:

  • Supreme Court and County Court trials, pleas, appeals and bail applications
  • Court of Appeal
  • contested committals
  • Judicial Review proceedings
  • matters involving the Crimes (Mental Impairment and Unfitness to be Tried) Act 1997
  • matters involving the Serious Sex Offender (Detention and Supervision Act) 2009
  • coronial inquests
  • Australian Crime Commission matters

Helen Spowart
Helen Spowart

Admitted to the legal profession: 2003

Available to be briefed in:

  • Supreme Court and County Court trials, pleas, appeals and bail applications
  • matters involving the Crimes (Mental Impairment and Unfitness to be Tried) Act 1997 and Serious Sex Offenders (Detention and Supervision) Act 2009
  • contested committals
  • Court of Appeal
  • High Court
  • judicial review proceedings

Professional memberships and accreditation:

  • accredited criminal law specialist

Other information:

  • Australian Advocacy Institute – accredited instructor
  • Monash University, Trial Practice and Advocacy – lecturer
  • LIV Criminal Law Advisory Committee – Chairperson from 2011–2013
  • Trial Counsel Development Program – Leading Counsel participant

Jarrod Williams
Jarrod Williams

Admitted to the legal profession: 1998

Signed Victorian Bar Roll: 2003

Available to be briefed in:

  • Supreme Court and County Court trials, pleas, appeals and bail applications
  • contested committals
  • judicial review proceedings
  • Court of Appeal
  • High Court
  • matters involving the Crimes (Mental Impairment and Unfitness to be Tried) Act 1997
  • administrative law

Professional memberships and accreditation:

  • Victorian Bar Pro Bono committee and Equality and Diversity Committee

Other information:

  • Trial Counsel Development Program – Leading Counsel participant
  • Australian Advocacy Institute – accredited instructor
  • Victorian Bar Readers’ Course – teacher
  • author on chapter on bail in the Lawyers Practice Manual Victoria

Other information:

  • Reserved Legal Officer, Royal Australian Air Force – 2002 to present

James Fitzgerald
James Fitzgerald

Admitted to the legal profession: Queensland in 1995 and Victoria in 1998.

Available to be briefed in:

  • Supreme and County Court trials, pleas, appeals and bail applications
  • Court of Appeal
  • contested committals
  • Judicial Review proceedings
  • cases involving the Crimes (Mental Impairment and Fitness to be Tried) Act, Serious Sex Offender (Detention and Supervision Act)
  • coronial inquests
  • Australian Crime Commission matters

Other information:

James has practised in both Queensland and in Victoria and has been involved in regional circuit court matters for a number of years. He has developed a great reputation as a fair and conscientious barrister who strives for the best results for his clients.

Public defenders

Photo of Zoe Broughton
Zoe Broughton

Admitted to the legal profession: 2006

Signed Victorian Bar Roll: 2009

Available to be briefed in:

  • County Court trials, pleas, appeals and bail applications
  • cases involving the Serious Sex Offenders (Detention and Supervision) Act 2009
  • contested committals
  • appeals to the Court of Appeal
  • judicial review proceedings
  • appear as junior in Supreme Court trials, appeals and pleas
  • matters involving the Crimes (Mental Impairment and Unfitness to be Tried) Act 1997

Danielle Lamovie
Danielle Lamovie

Admitted to the legal profession: 1993

Available to be briefed in:

  • County Court pleas, appeals, breach proceedings and bail applications
  • complex Magistrates’ Court matters – contested committals, contests, pleas, bail applications
  • appear as junior in County Court trials
  • Supreme Court bail applications
  • matters involving the Serious Sex Offenders (Detention and Supervision) Act 2009
  • reviews and applications under the Crimes (Mental Impairment and Unfitness to be Tried) Act 1997
  • complex Children’s Court matters (Criminal Division)

Professional memberships and accreditation:

  • accredited criminal law specialist

Selena McCrickard
Selena McCrickard

Morwell office

Admitted to the legal profession: 1999

Signed Victorian Bar Roll: 2005

Available to be briefed in:

  • County Court pleas, appeals, breach proceedings and bail applications
  • complex Magistrates’ Court matters – contested committals, pleas and bail applications
  • judicial review proceedings
  • Court of Appeal
  • appear as junior in Supreme Court appeals and pleas
  • matters involving the Serious Sex Offenders (Detention and Supervision) Act 2009
  • complex Children’s Court matters (Criminal Division)

Professional memberships and accreditation:

  • accredited criminal law specialist

Other information:

  • Australian Advocacy Institute – accredited instructor
  • Monash University, Trial Practice and Advocacy – lecturer

Profile photo of Anthony Pyne
Anthony Pyne

Admitted to the legal profession: 2008

Available to be briefed in:

  • complex Magistrates’ Court matters – contested​ committals, contests, pleas, bail applications
  • County Court trials, pleas, appeals, breach proceedings and bail applications
  • complex Children's Court matters (Criminal Division)
  • Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal matters

Professional memberships and accreditation:

  • accredited criminal law specialist

Other information:

Anthony gained a wealth of experience at the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency appearing in the Supreme Court as both junior and lead counsel. In addition, he regularly appeared as sole counsel in contested committal hearings, contested summary hearings, bail applications and complex plea hearings in the Magistrates' Court.

Associate public defenders

Cindy McGrath

Admitted to the legal profession: 2003

Available to be briefed in:

  • County Court pleas, appeals, bail applications and breach proceedings
  • County Court trials (as junior)
  • complex Magistrates' Court matters - contested committals, contested hearings, pleas, bail applications
  • complex Children's Court matters (criminal division).

Darcy Dempsey

Darcy Dempsey

Admitted to the legal profession: 2007

Available to be briefed in:

  • complex Magistrates’ Court matters – contested committals, contested hearings, pleas, bail applications
  • County Court pleas, appeals, breach proceedings and bail applications.

 

Michael Reardon

Michael Reardon​​

Admitted to the legal profession: 2011

Available to be briefed in:

  • complex Magistrates’ Court matters – contested committals, contests, pleas, bail applications
  • County Court pleas and appeals
  • County Court trials (as junior)
  • complex Children's Court matters (Criminal Division)

 

Jarrod Van Arkadie

Jarrod Van Ark​adie

Admitted to the legal profession: 2013

Available to be briefed in:

  • complex Magistrates’ Court matters – contested committals, contested hearings, pleas, bail applications
  • County Court pleas, appeals, breach proceedings and bail applications
  • Complex Children's Court matters (Criminal Division)

Camille Woodward
Camille Woodward

Admitted to the legal profession: 1999

Available to be briefed in:

  • complex Magistrates’ Court matters – contested committals, contests, pleas, bail applications
  • County Court pleas, appeals, breach proceedings and bail applications
  • complex Children's Court matters (Criminal Division)
  • Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal matters

Other information:

  • Accredited criminal law specialist

Robyn Hamilton
Robyn Hamilton

Admitted to the legal profession: 1999

Available to be briefed in:

  • independent children's lawyer trials and hearings
  • Family Court hearings – trials, interim and final hearings
  • Federal Circuit Court of Australia
  • complex Children's Court matters (Family Division)
  • Supreme Court and County Court appeals

Professional memberships and accreditation:

  • accredited children’s law specialist

Other information:

  • member of Victorian Law Institute's Children Committee, Youth Issues Committee and Children's Law Advisory Committee

Profile photo of Matthew Strong
Matthew Strong

Admitted to the legal profession: 1999

Available to be briefed in:

  • independent children's lawyer trials and hearings
  • Family Court and Federal Circuit Court of Australia trials, interim and final hearings, contraventions and mentions 
  • contested intervention violence orders
  • Children's Court matters (Family Division) – interim and final hearings, conciliation conferences
  • Family Dispute Resolution Service conferences

Other information:

Matthew joined VLA Chambers in 2015 from the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency in Darwin practising as a senior solicitor/advocate in family law and child protection.

Associate Advocate, Family and Children's Law

Marika Ruzyla

Admitted to the legal profession: Victoria in 2009

Available to be briefed in:

  • Children's Court matters (Family Division) – mention hearings, conciliation conferences
  • child support matters – mention and interim hearings
  • Family Court and Federal Circuit Court of Australia mentions, interim and directions hearings
  • independent children's lawyer hearings and trials
  • contested intervention and family violence orders
  • Family Dispute Resolution Service conferences

Other information:

Marika started in Victoria Legal Aid in 2011 as a Family solicitor. She then became a Senior Lawyer and later, Acting Deputy Managing Lawyer in the Family Law department. Marika has also worked in the Northern Territory in the NT Legal Aid Commission in Darwin.

Senior Advocate, Civil law

Profile photo of Louise Martin
Louise Martin

Admitted to the legal profession: 2005

Areas available to be briefed in:

  • complex legal matters – Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006, immigration, mental health and disability matters, including cases involving the Crimes (Mental Impairment and Unfitness to be Tried) Act 1997, Commonwealth entitlements, equality and discrimination, and tenancy
  • Court of Appeal applications, Supreme Court judicial review proceedings
  • complex drafting – including High Court special leave applications and Court of Appeal and Supreme Court matters
  • complex legal advice – civil and criminal matters
  • complex Magistrates' Court matters – contests, pleas and infringements
  • coronial inquests

Other information:

Before joining the Bar in 2010, Louise graduated with distinction from the London School of Economics and Political Science, obtaining an LLM with a human rights specialisation. Louise has been the researcher to the former Solicitor-General of Victoria, Pamela Tate SC, and associate to the Honourable Justice Weinberg in the Federal Court and Court of Appeal.

Associate Advocate, Civil Law

Jessie Taylor profile photo
Jessie Taylor

Admitted to the legal profession: 2009

Areas available to be briefed in:

  • civil and human rights
  • mental health
  • discrimination
  • migration law
  • judicial review and administrative law
  • merits review
  • social security and veterans' entitlements
  • VOCAT
  • guardianship and administration
  • elder law and children's law including parens patriae
  • coronial inquests
  • Crimes (Mental Impairment & Unfitness to be Tried) Act
  • social inclusion group – infringements, working with children checks and tenancy

Other information:

Jessie first joined Victoria Legal Aid as a Duty Lawyer in 2011 before joining the Victorian Bar. She returned to Victoria Legal Aid as an associate advocate in Chambers in 2016. Jessie has also worked as associate to Justice Bromberg in the Federal Court of Australia, and is the co-creator of We Will Be Remembered For This (2007) and Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (2011).