Best Criminal Barristers in Sydney 2024

Sydney’s top-rated criminal barristers; defending felonies, federal crimes, drug charges, fraud, financial, white collar, & criminal.

Criminal barristers usually cannot take instructions directly from clients. They rely on solicitors or law firms to act as a go-between.

Criminal lawyers manage the overall legal strategy for your case. This includes tasks like gathering evidence, negotiating with prosecutors, and instructing the barrister on what arguments to present in court.

Criminal barristers are courtroom specialists. They are briefed by the lawyer to represent you in court hearings and trials, leveraging their expertise in legal arguments and presentation.

Criminal barristers in Australia work with clients indirectly, through a criminal lawyer or law firm.


Sydney's Best Criminal Barristers.

Winston Terracini

Winston Terracini is one of Australia’s most senior top criminal defence barristers specialising in criminal cases that money can buy. Arguably, he is world renowned for his un-matched articulated skills in cross examining any kind of prosecution witness to breaking point in complex jury trials. His specialty is in winning very serious criminal cases including murder and manslaughter charges.

Learn more about Winston Terracini

Richard C Kenzie

Richard is a leading Senior Counsel specialising in employment and constitutional law. He has been in practice at the NSW Bar since 1973 having obtained Masters Degrees from Harvard law School and Melbourne University Law School. He has been a Queens Counsel since 1984. His practice covers all areas of Public and Administrative Employment law before Superior Courts throughout Australia.

Learn more about Richard C Kenzie

Margaret Cunneen

Margaret Cunneen SC was a Crown Prosecutor and Deputy Senior Crown Prosecutor for many years and, before that, in the 1980’s, was an Industrial Officer at the Public Service Board of NSW. Earlier in her career she held positions in the Attorney General’s Ministerial Office and in the Parliamentary Counsel’s Office of NSW. Margaret has extensive experience in all aspects of criminal law, having appeared in hundreds of criminal trials and appeals over 30 years. Margaret was the Commissioner of the NSW Special Commission of Inquiry into the investigation of child sexual abuse allegations in the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle, and handed her Report to the Governor on 30 May 2014.

Learn more about Margaret Cunneen

Anthony Bellanto

Anthony Bellanto is amongst the most experienced top criminal defence barristers in Australia who has been specialising in complex criminal cases since 1976 when admitted as a barrister. Having successfully secured not guilty verdicts in countless jury trials over the years, he is one of the most sought after barristers in Australia who has successfully represented many high profile clients.

Learn more about Anthony Bellanto

What do you need to know before hiring a criminal barristers in Sydney?

Hiring a criminal barrister can be a crucial decision, especially if you’re facing serious charges.

Here are some key factors to consider:

Understanding your criminal case:

  • Severity of Charges: The seriousness of the charges you face will impact the level of representation you need. More serious charges may warrant a barrister with extensive experience.
  • Legal Process: Familiarise yourself with the basic stages of a criminal case, from arraignment to potential trial. This will help you ask informed questions about the barrister’s approach.

Criminal Barrister Expertise:

  • Specialisation: Criminal law covers a broad range. Ideally, you want a barrister with a proven track record in cases similar to yours (e.g., drug offences, violent crimes).
  • Experience: Find out how long the barrister has practised criminal law and the types of courts they typically appear in.

Communication and Fees:

  • Consultation: Most barristers offer consultations where you can discuss your case and get a sense of their personality and communication style. It’s important to feel comfortable and confident with your barrister.
  • Costs: Criminal barristers can be expensive. Ask about their fees upfront and whether they offer payment plans.

For finding a criminal barrister, you can refer to the Law Society of your state or territory, or reach out to a criminal bar association (if applicable in your location).

Process of working with a Criminal Barrister and Lawyer

In Australia, unlike some other jurisdictions, criminal barristers don’t typically work directly with clients. Instead, the client goes through a criminal lawyer or law firm.

The criminal lawyer manages the overall case strategy, gathers evidence, and negotiates with prosecutors. They then act as a bridge between the client and the barrister. If the case requires court appearances, the lawyer will select a barrister with relevant expertise and provide them with a detailed brief outlining the case, evidence, and desired outcome.

The criminal barrister will then represent the client in court based on the brief, working collaboratively with the lawyer. Throughout the process, the client stays informed by consulting with their lawyer, who acts as a go-between, addressing any questions and keeping them updated on the case’s progress.

Criminal Law Guides