About Us

Brief History

An Independent Bar was first formed in the NT on 1 October 1974 when Michael Maurice (later QC, the Aboriginal Land Commissioner and a Judge of the Supreme Court of the NT) and Tom Pauling (later QC, the NT Solicitor General and the Administrator of the NT) left their respective legal firms and established Mallam Chambers in Mitchell Street, Darwin.

Soon after cyclone Tracey struck Darwin in December 1974, they were joined by Ian Barker QC (later the first NT Solicitor General).

The Northern Territory Bar Association was established in June 1980 at a meeting held in Darwin. The inaugural President was Michael Maurice.

Since then the Independent Bar has gone from strength to strength and its members now number more than 50 barristers.


Current NTBA Office Bearers

President: Duncan McConnel SC

Vice President: Mary Chalmers SC

Secretary: Mel Yates

Treasurer: Glenn Mohammed

Past NTBA Presidents

2017 – 2020 Miles Crawley SC

2016 – 2017 Wade Roper SC

2015 – 2016 Ben O’Loughlin

2013 – 2014 John Lawrence SC

2010 – 2012 Raelene Webb QC

2007 – 2009 Peter Barr QC

2005 – 2007 Jon Tippett QC

2000 – 2005 John Reeves QC

1997 – 2000 Colin McDonald QC

1993 – 1997 Trevor Riley QC

1991 – 1993 Graham Hiley QC

1987 – 1991 Dean Mildren QC

1980 – 1987 Tom Pauling QC

1980 – Michael Maurice QC


Bar Council

The Bar Council is comprised of the office bearers, representatives from the various established chambers and a representative of the special members e.g. the Solicitor General, the DPP and Crown Counsel.



There are currently 4 established chambers in Darwin.

William Forster Chambers – As the successor to the original chambers formed in the mid 70s, William Forster Chambers is the oldest chambers. It was named William Forster Chambers in 1988 after the first Chief Justice of the NT Supreme Court Sir William Forster. It is the largest set of chambers with 18 barristers. 

John Toohey Chambers – John Toohey Chambers was established by Pat McIntyre in 1997 adopting the name of a former Aboriginal Land Commissioner, NT Supreme Court judge, Federal Court judge and, ultimately, High Court judge.

Edmund Barton Chambers – Edmund Barton Chambers was established in 1998 by Pat Loftus. It has an association with other chambers of the same name in South Australia.

Murray Chambers  –  Murray Chambers was established in Darwin in 2018 and has an association with chambers of the same name in Adelaide and Perth, with a combined membership of 34 barristers. SA chambers is named after Sir George Murray who was Chief Justice of South Australia 1916 – 1942. WA chambers is named in honour of the Hon Michael Murray QC, a former Senior Judge of the Supreme Court of Western Australia . The founding NT members were Mary Chalmers, Georgia McMaster, Tamzin Lee, Raelene Webb QC and Kerry Clark.


Conduct rules

The NTBA has adopted a set of Conduct Rules which define the conduct expected of a person who is practising as a barrister in the NT. The Conduct Rules are amended from time to time to address current issues.

1. Advancing the good administration of justice
  • Maintain the present arrangements with the Supreme Court.
  • Support the establishment of a pro bono scheme by the Law Society
  • Promote the introduction of an individual docket system in the Supreme Court
  • Implement the recommendations of the Moynihan report for the Supreme Court.
  • Encourage the Magistrates Court to introduce more efficient and effective listing procedures and case flow management procedures
  • Introducing and monitoring appropriate technology to the court system
  • Introduction of a Suitors Fund
  • Adopt a policy on judicial independence and judicial appointments
  • Lobby for the appointment of a resident Federal Court/Family Court judge
  • Support the establishment of an administrative law jurisdiction in the Magistrates with an appeal to the Supreme Court.
  • Propose that the jurisdiction of the FMC should be maintained within acceptable limits.
  • Monitor major new legislation to ensure that it is consistent with fundamental principles.
2. Maintaining the highest standards of ethical and professional conduct for advocates in the NT
  • Collating and publishing the conduct rules
  • Have the Law Society agree to adopt ethical rulings made by the President
3. Promoting quality advocacy in courts, tribunals and other forums
  • Organise AAI course on appellate advocacy for barristers in 2002
  • Amendment to Legal Practitioner’s Act to provide for readers
  • Liaise with VBA to make use of its bar readers course.
  • Introduce a mentor scheme to provide and feed back for junior members
4. Promoting and representing the interests of the members of the NTBA.
  • Approach Law Society and present CLEs for the profession in conjunction with the Law Society including in Alice Springs
  • Establish a CLE committee in conjunction with the Law Society.
  • Update regularly
  • Achieve greater membership of relevant organisations
  • Continue publishing a regular column by the President and encourage contributions by members
  • Arrange a formal launch for the web site in February/March
  • Joint bar activities
  • Investigate establishing a Bar Net and sharing electronic library facilities through it
  • Co-ordinate the various chambers’ diary systems for greater efficiency
  • Liaise with government bodies – Dept of Justice, ADC, Ombudsman, AGS, DPP – NT and Cwth.
  • Liaise with local legal firms.
  • Liaise with other bodies like – insurers, banks, etc