Criminal Trial Preferred Barrister List

Criminal Trial Preferred Barrister List

The private Bar plays an instrumental role in providing quality representation to the thousands of people whose defence is funded by Victoria Legal Aid each year.

Barrister quality is fundamental. It ensures high quality representation and well run trials that benefit our clients, the courts and the community.

Victoria Legal Aid is responsible for providing legal aid in the most effective, efficient and economic manner. This includes ensuring quality advocacy for legally aided clients.

The Criminal Trial Preferred Barrister List will provide more oversight regarding the quality of barristers appearing in criminal trials.

Who is on the list

The Criminal Trial Preferred Barrister List contains members from the Victorian Bar and public defenders from Victoria Legal Aid Chambers. 

Find out who is on the Criminal Trial Preferred Barristers List.

Transitional arrangements: barristers already briefed for trials who are not on the list

From 31 July 2015 practitioners will only be permitted to brief barristers on the Criminal Trial Preferred Barrister List unless a Victoria Legal Aid exception is granted.

Practitioners will be permitted to retain barristers who are not on the list and are briefed to appear at a trial commencing between 31 July and 30 September 2015 without obtaining a Victoria Legal Aid exception.

If a practitioner has already briefed a barrister who is not on the list for a trial after 30 September 2015, they will be required to:

  • re-brief a preferred barrister on the list; or
  • obtain a Victoria Legal Aid exception to retain the barrister who is not on the list.

For the purpose of these transitional arrangements, a trial does not include final directions hearings.

About the list

On 31 July 2015 we released the Criminal Trial Preferred Barrister List. Only barristers on the list are able to represent legally aided accused in criminal trials, unless an exception is granted in advance.

The list only relates to criminal trials. It does not include committals, appeals to either the County Court or Court of Appeal, or plea hearings in the County and Supreme courts.

Read more about the Criminal Trial Preferred Barrister List and why it has been established.

How to apply

Applications for list membership will be via expressions of interest to ensure strong representation of capable and interested barristers.

Expressions of interest can be made at any time. These applications will be considered at the next available Preferred Barrister List Selection Committee meeting.

See Expressions of interest to apply now.

Entry requirements and assessment guidelines

To become a member of the Criminal Trial Preferred Barrister List barristers are required to:

  • have expertise in criminal trial advocacy, and practice professionally and appropriately
  • hold an Indictable Crime Certificate or have applied for one
  • have a current practising certificate
  • disclose any misconduct or complaints.

See Entry requirements and assessment guidelines for further information.

Exceptions to briefing barristers on the list

Indictable Crime Panel members will only be permitted to brief preferred barristers for standard trials, unless they apply for an exception in advance. Barristers themselves are not permitted to apply for an exception to appear in a standard trial.

Exceptions to briefing preferred barristers will not be granted for major trials, being trials that are likely to last more than 15 days.

See Exceptions to briefing preferred barristers for standard criminal trials to find out how to apply.