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

Associate public defenders

Angie Wong

Camille Woodward

Eleanor Millar

Jarrod Van Arkadie

Michael Reardon

Family and Children's law

Senior Advocate, Family and Children's law

Robyn Hamilton

Advocate, Family and Children's Law

Matthew Strong

Family Law

Associate Advocate, Family Law

Eric Myles

Civil Law

Associate public defender, Civil Law

Gemma Cafarella

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 2016-2018. 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:

  • 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.

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.

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.

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, breach proceedings and bail applications
  • complex Magistrates’ Court matters – contested​ committals, summary contests
  • matters involving the Crimes (Mental Impairment and Unfitness to be Tried) Act 1997
  • cases involving the Serious Sex Offenders (Detention and Supervision) Act 2009
  • 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 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.

Darcy Dempsey
Darcy Dempsey

Admitted to the legal profession: 2007

Available to be briefed in:

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

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 and appeals
  • Appeals to the Court of Appeal
  • Proceedings under the Serious Sex Offenders (Detention and Supervision) Act 2009
  • Proceedings under the Crimes (Mental Impairment and Unfitness to be Tried) Act 1997
  • Judicial review proceedings
  • contested committals.

Recent research and publication:

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

Associate Public Defender Bendigo Region Eleanor Millar
Eleanor Millar

Admitted to the legal profession: 2008

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).

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 and County Court)
  • complex Magistrates’ Court matters – contested committals, contested hearings, pleas, bail applications
  • CMIA reviews
  • Court of Appeal matters
  • 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
  • complex Magistrates’ Court matters – contested committals, contests, pleas, bail applications
  • County Court trials (as junior)
  • Supreme Court 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.

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.
  • 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).

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).

Senior Advocate, 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 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.

Advocate, 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
  • 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 Law

Eric Myles, Associate Advocate, Family Law
Eric Myles​

Admitted to the Legal Profession: 2013

Available to be briefed in:

  • Children's Court matters (Family Division) – interim hearings, conciliation conferences, mentions
  • contested intervention violence orders
  • Federal Circuit Court of Australia mentions
  • FDRS conferences
  • VCAT case planning decision review matters.

Associate public defender, Civil

Profile photo of Gemma Cafarella
Gemma Cafarella

Admitted to the legal profession: 2013

Available to be briefed in:

  • VCAT – residential tenancies, review and regulation, and guardianship and administration lists
  • mental health
  • social security
  • infringements
  • Coroners Court
  • suppression orders
  • judicial review and administrative law.

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