The Bar Association

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  • Promote the public good in relation to legal matters viewed in the broadest context
  • Promote collegiality and mutual assistance amongst its members
  • Represent the interests of its members to government, the media and the community
  • Promote fair and honourable practice among barristers
  • Maintain and impose standards of professional conduct and participate in the discipline of members when required

Senior counsel appointments

Before 1993 such barristers were known as a QC or queen's counsel. In New South Wales, QCs were appointed by the governor of the state, acting upon advice from the attorney general and others. In 1992, the New South Wales Government announced that no further appointments would be made and the Bar Association established its own equivalent rank of senior counsel (SC). SCs are appointed after an exhaustive process of consultation with members of the profession and the judiciary. The principles governing the selection and appointment of those to be designated as senior counsel by the president of the Bar Association are contained in the Senior Counsel Selection Protocol and the Guide to the Practical Aspects of appointing silks (2016 edition).

Apply for senior counsel

Bar Council

Each year barristers elect  21 members of the Bar Council.

The Council of the New South Wales Bar Association is the designated local regulatory authority for a range of functions under the Uniform Law. Those functions have been delegated. A register of the delegations is available  here .

Committees and other appointments

Many barristers volunteer for service on the Bar Association's  committees, court liaison committees, government working parties and statutory authorities, providing their skills and expertise for the public benefit. Our committees regularly advise and assist the Bar Council in the preparation of submissions regarding draft legislation and current issues in the administration of justice. Such expert commentaries are sought by governments and opposition political parties, as well as parliamentary committees and law reform agencies.


The  Constitution of the New South Wales Bar Association  (ACN 000 033 652) under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth). Incorporates amendments to 11 November 2011.


On 22 October 1936 the New South Wales Bar Association was incorporated and the first meeting of the Council of the New South Wales Bar Association took place. The Memorandum and Articles of Association noted that the Bar Association would make suggestions on legislation, court rules, procedure and business. For information about the history of the NSW Bar, including past presidents, visit the  Bar History page.


Bar Association  resources are made available to the media, policymakers, parliamentarians and members of the legal profession and include:

  • Annual reports
  • Bar News, InBrief
  • Media releases
  • Bar Association submissions
  • Law Council submissions
  • Policy papers
  • Statistics