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

Associate Director

Jessie Taylo​r

Public defenders

Senior public defenders

David Gibson

James Fitzgerald

John McLoughlin (Appeals)

Julia Munster

Naomi Smith

Public defenders

Amy Brennan

Darcy Dempsey

Danielle Lamovie

Erin Ramsay

Jarrod Van Arkadie

Associate public defenders

Angie Wong

David Swan

Eleanor Millar

Michael Reardon

Family and Children's law

Senior In-house Counsel, Family and Children's law

Robyn Hamilton

In-house Counsel, Family and Children's Law

Matthew Strong

Associate In-house Counsel, Family Law

Eric Myles

Civil Law

Public Defender, Civil Law

Sheeana Dhanji

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.

Associate Director

Photo of Jessica Taylor
Jessie Taylor

Jessie Taylor BA(Hons) LLB(Hons) MSc(HA) signed the Bar Roll in 2011, after completing an Associateship with His Honour Justice Bromberg in the Federal Court, and a stint as a duty lawyer at VLA Dandenong. She returned to VLA in 2016 to work in Chambers as a Public Defender (Civil Justice), moving into the role of Associate Director (VLA Chambers) in October 2018.

Alongside working at VLA, Jessie sits on the board of Donkey Wheel, and was the President of Liberty Victoria from 2016–18. She has previously sat on the board of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, and she is a sessional lecturer in the Faculty of Law at Monash University.

Jessie is the author of the report Behind Australian Doors: Examining the Conditions of Detention of Asylum Seekers in Indonesia. She is co-writer and producer of the films We Will Be Remembered For This (2007) and Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (2011).

Senior public defenders

David Gibson
David Gibson

Admitted to the legal profession: 1985

Signed Victorian Bar Roll: 2009

Available to be briefed in:

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

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
  • Judicial Review proceedings
  • matters involving the Crimes (Mental Impairment and Fitness to be Tried) Act 1997 and Serious Sex Offender (Detention and Supervision) Act 2009
  • contested committals
  • 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.

John McLoughlin
John McLoughlin (Appeals)

Admitted to the Legal Profession: 1987

Available to be briefed in:

  • High Court
  • Court of Appeal
  • Supreme Court pleas
  • 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:

  • Supreme and County Court trials, pleas, appeals and bail applications
  • Court of Appeal
  • Judicial Review proceedings
  • matters involving the Crimes (Mental Impairment and Unfitness to be Tried) Act 1997 and Serious Sex Offenders (Detention and Supervision) Act 2009
  • contested committals
  • complex Children's Court matters (criminal division).

Professional memberships and accreditation:

  • accredited criminal law specialist.

Senior Public Defender Naomi Smith
Naomi Smith

Admitted to the Legal Profession: 2004

Signed Victorian Bar Roll: 2008

Available to be briefed in:

  • County Court trials, pleas, appeals and bail applications
  • Supreme Court pleas 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
  • appear as junior in Supreme Court trials
  • complex Children's Court matters (criminal division).

Other information:

  • accredited criminal law specialist
  • accredited advocacy instructor with the Australian Advocacy Institute
  • instructor with the Leo Cussen Centre for Law.

Public defenders

Amy Brennan
Amy Brennan

Admitted to the legal profession: 2005

Signed Victorian Bar Roll: 2008

Available to be briefed in:

  • County Court trials, pleas, appeals and bail applications
  • Supreme Court pleas 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
  • appear as junior in Supreme Court trials
  • complex Children's Court matters (criminal division).

Professional memberships and accreditation:

  • Equality and Diversity Committee, Victorian Bar
  • French Australian Lawyers Society.

Other information:

  • Author of Criminal Law chapter in Droit de l’Aust – a French publication on the laws of Australia.

Danielle Lamovie
Danielle Lamovie

Admitted to the legal profession: 1993

Available to be briefed in:

  • County Court trials, pleas, appeals and bail applications
  • Supreme Court pleas 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
  • appear as junior in Supreme Court trials
  • complex Children's Court matters (criminal division).

Professional memberships and accreditation:

  • accredited criminal law specialist.

Darcy Dempsey
Darcy Dempsey

Admitted to the legal profession: 2007

Available to be briefed in:

  • County Court trials, pleas, appeals, breach proceedings 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
  • complex Magistrates’ Court matters – contested committals, contests, pleas, bail applications
  • contested committals
  • complex Children’s Court matters (Criminal Division).

Profile photo of Erin Ramsay
Erin Ramsay

Admitted to the legal profession: 2006

Signed the Bar Roll: 2009

Areas available to be briefed in:

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

Recent research and publication:

  • Crime and Defence (a Foley’s List publication) – contributing author

Jarrod Van Arkadie
Jarrod Van Ark​adie

Admitted to the legal profession: 2013

Available to be briefed in:

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

Associate public defenders

Profile photo of Angie Wong
Angie Wong

Admitted to the legal profession: 2010

Year signed the Bar Roll: 2013

Areas to be briefed in:

  • County Court pleas, appeals, breach proceedings and bail applications
  • Supreme Court bail applications
  • County Court trials (as junior)
  • complex Magistrates’ Court matters – contested committals, contests, pleas, bail applications
  • matters under the Crimes (Mental Impairment and Unfitness to be Tried) Act 1997
  • complex Children’s Court matters (Criminal Division)
  • judicial review and administrative law
  • social security
  • mental health.

Other information:

Angie joined Chambers in 2018 from the Bar, where she practised in criminal and civil law. She previously worked as a civil solicitor at Victoria Legal Aid and prior to that as a criminal solicitor at the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency.

Associate Public Defender David Swan
David Swan

Admitted to the legal profession: 2014

Available to be briefed in:

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

Other information:

  • completed Reprieve Internship at Louisiana Capital Assistance Centre in 2012.

Associate Public Defender Bendigo Region Eleanor Millar
Eleanor Millar

Admitted to the legal profession: 2008

Available to be briefed in:

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

Michael Reardon
Michael Reardon​​

Admitted to the legal profession: 2011

Available to be briefed in:

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

Senior In-house Counsel, Family and Children's Law

Robyn Hamilton
Robyn Hamilton

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
  • 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.

In-house Consel, Family and Children's Law

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
  • Children's Court matters (Family Division) – interim and final hearings, conciliation conferences
  • contested intervention violence orders
  • 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 In-house Counsel, Family Law

Eric Myles, Associate Advocate, Family Law
Eric Myles​

Admitted to the Legal Profession: 2013

Available to be briefed in:

  • Federal Circuit Court of Australia trials, interim and final hearings, contraventions and mentions
  • Children's Court matters (Family Division) – interim hearings, conciliation conferences, mentions
  • contested intervention violence orders
  • Family Dispute Resolution Service conferences
  • VCAT case planning decision review matters.

Public Defender, Civil

Sheeana Dhanji profile image
Sheeana Dhanji

Admitted to legal profession: 2010

Available to be briefed in:

  • reviews and applications involving the Crimes (Mental Impairment and Unfitness to be Tried) Act 1997 and Serious Sex Offenders (Detention and Supervision) Act 2009
  • VCAT – residential tenancies, review and regulation, and guardianship and administration lists
  • Commonwealth entitlements
  • judicial review and administrative law
  • mental health
  • infringements
  • suppression orders.

Other information:

Sheeana joined VLA Chambers from the County Court of Victoria, where she was the Senior Researcher to the Civil Division’s Judges. She advised on matters of policy, procedure, risk, and substantive law in commercial, common law, and criminal applications and trials. Prior to that, she practised as a commercial litigator.

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