Public law section

The Public Law Section holds about four seminars each year on topics of interest to public law practitioners and judicial officers. It also hosts the annual Spigelman Oration on a public law topic, which is followed by an annual dinner. Speakers at that event have included Justice Gageler, Chief Justice Allsop, Justice Bell, Chief Justice Bathurst, and the Commonwealth Attorney-General, the Hon Mark Dreyfus QC MP. Its objective is to maintain and further develop the high standard of public law expertise of members of the NSW Bar.

A number of the papers presented to the section have been published in a collection titled Key Issues in Judicial Review, Federation Press 2014, Neil Williams SC (ed), and in Key Issues in Public Law, Federation Press 2017, Neil Williams SC (ed), and in the Australian Bar Review.  Participation by judicial officers and senior practitioners in the activities of the section has been high, and discussion at seminars is generally vigorous and well-informed. Events are publicised in InBrief, on Counsels Chambers screens and to an email mailing list of section subscribers maintained by the secretary of the section.

The section was established by the NSW Bar at the instigation of David Jackson QC in the mid-1990s.  It operated as a separate Administrative Law Section, chaired from the outset and until his appointment to the Federal Court bench by Alan Robertson SC, and a Constitutional Law Section chaired originally by David Jackson QC, then by Stephen Gageler SC from 2002 until his appointment as Commonwealth Solicitor-General.  The two groups were then amalgamated. 

Neil Williams SC was the convenor of the Public Law section from 2011-2020. The current convenor is Stephen Lloyd SC. The secretary of the section is Matt Sherman, whose email address is