Victoria Legal Aid

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 provides 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.

About the list

The Criminal Trial Preferred Barrister List was established on 31 July 2015. 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 (an exemption applies for Senior Counsel with a longstanding practice in criminal law)
  • 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 trials, unless they apply for an exception in advance. Barristers themselves are not permitted to apply for an exception to appear in a trial.

Exceptions to briefing preferred barristers may not be granted for major criminal trials, being trials that are likely to last more than 15 days, in exceptional circumstances.

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

Disclaimer: The material in this print-out relates to the law as it applies in the state of Victoria. It is intended as a general guide only. Readers should not act on the basis of any material in this print-out without getting legal advice about their own particular situations. Victoria Legal Aid disclaims any liability howsoever caused to any person in respect of any action taken in reliance on the contents of the publication.

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Reviewed 17 October 2022