About the Bar Association

The New South Wales Bar Association is a professional association for practising barristers and associate members, such as clerks and judges. We are an Australian public company (ACN 000 033 652), limited by guarantee and governed by our Constitution

Our registered office and principal place of business is in Selborne Chambers, B/174 Phillip Street, Sydney, NSW 2000

We promote the public good in relation to justice and the provision of legal services. This is achieved by promoting and maintaining the highest standards of excellence among local practising barristers. In pursuit of this objective, the New South Wales Bar Association: 


The Bar Association has 3204 members, 2398 of whom hold a New South Wales barrister's practising certificate.  Among our non-practising members are 183 judges, 191 inter-state and overseas barristers, as well as 294 retired judges and barristers.

Life members

The Bar Council appoints life members for 'exceptional service to the Bar Association or to the profession of the law'. As at 24 March 2021 life membership has been awarded to  76 members of the association.

The Bar Council 

The Bar Council is our governing body, comprised of  21 barristers elected by the membership. The Bar Council, in turn, elects a president, two vice-presidents, a treasurer and the honorary secretary.

The Bar Council is the designated local regulatory authority for a range of functions under the Legal Profession Uniform Law. Those functions have been delegated.


The Bar Council is assisted by specialist committees comprised of barrister-volunteers, who offer their skills and expertise for the benefit of the public and the profession. Committees regularly advise and assist the Bar Council in matters of law reform and public affairs, including responding to matters of public policy and the administration of justice. This can involve providing expert commentary to ministers, members of parliament, government and parliamentary committees and law reform agencies. Learn more here.

Our Strategic Plan 2021-25

Our Strategic Plan for 2021-25 sets out our objectives for a time of disruption in the market for legal services.

Our Reconciliation Action Plan

Our Reconciliation Action Plan is available here.

Our history

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. The memorandum also noted that a library would be established, together with reading, meeting, and dining rooms, and power to undertake law reporting, printing, publishing and bookbinding.  Learn more about our history.

Annual reports

Our annual reports include highlights of the year, appointments, membership statistics, financial statements and reports from various departments, committees and working parties of the Bar Association.