Director of Public Prosecutions (New South Wales)

The New South Wales Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) is an independent prosecuting service and government agency within the portfolio of the Attorney General of New South Wales.[1] Of all prosecuting services in Australia, the ODPP has the largest caseload, staff, and budget.[2]

New South Wales Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions
Agency overview
Formed13 July 1987 (1987-07-13)
JurisdictionNew South Wales
Headquarters175 Liverpool Street, Sydney, Australia
Minister responsible
Agency executive
Parent AgencyNew South Wales Department of Attorney General and Justice
Key document

The current Director of Public Prosecutions is Lloyd Babb SC.[3]


The ODPP was established by the Director of Public Prosecutions Act 1986 (NSW) and began its operations on 13 July 1987.[1]


Ordinal Director Period Notes
1 Reg Blanch QC 1987  1994 [4][5]
2 Nicholas Cowdery AM, QC 1994  July 2011 [6]
3 Lloyd Babb SC July 2011  date [7]

Deputy Directors

Deputy Directors Period
Michael Alan Viney QC 1987  1990
Unknown 1990  1997
Martin Blackmore SC 1997  March 2002
Greg Smith SC April 2002  November 2006
David Frearson SC November 2007  2 March 2009
Donna Woodburne SC 4 June 2009  January 2011
Christopher Maxwell QC (acting) January 2011  February 2012
John Pickering SC February 2012  May 2016
Kara Shead SC May 2016  date
Deputy Director Period
Unknown 1987  1999
Roy Ellis November 1999  11 August 2003
Luigi Lamprati SC December 2003  October 2011
David Arnott SC (acting) October 2011  November 2011
Keith Alder November 2011  date


Within six months prior to March 2013, two lawyers from the ODPP have committed suicide involving incidents of workplace bullying.[8]


In general, it is for the prosecution, not the courts, to decide who is prosecuted and for what offences. It is the prosecution's sole discretion to shape its charges, and as a result, to influence what may follow in the trial.[9] The functions of the Director of Public Prosecutions, per the Director of Public Prosecutions Act 1986 (NSW) (i.e., the DPP Act), include:[10][11]

  • prosecution of all committal proceedings and some summary proceedings before the Local Courts;
  • prosecution of indictable offences in the District and Supreme Courts;
  • conduct of District Court, Court of Criminal Appeal and High Court appeals on behalf of the Crown; and,
  • conduct of related proceedings in the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal.

Furthermore, under the DPP Act, the Director has similar functions with regard to:[10]

  • finding a bill of indictment, or determining that no bill of indictment be found, in respect of an indictable offence, in circumstances where the person concerned has been committed for trial;
  • directing that no further proceeding be taken against a person who has been committed for trial or sentence; and,
  • finding a bill of indictment in respect of an indictable offence, in circumstances where the person concerned has not been committed for trial.

Section 21 of the DPP Act provides that the Director may appear in person or may be represented by a counsel or solicitor in any proceedings which are carried on by the Director.[10]

The functions of the Solicitor for Public Prosecutions are prescribed in section 23 of the DPP Act. These are:[10]

  • to act as solicitor for the Director in the exercise of the Director's functions; and,
  • to instruct the Crown Prosecutors and other counsel on behalf of the Director.

The functions of Crown Prosecutors are set out in section 5 of the Crown Prosecutors Act 1986. They include:[10][11]

  • to conduct, and appear as counsel in, proceedings on behalf of the Director;
  • to find a bill of indictment in respect of an indictable offence;
  • to advise the Director in respect of any matter referred for advice by the Director; and,
  • to carry out such other functions of counsel as the Director approves.


The ODPP consists of:[1]

  • the Director, two Deputy Directors, and their legal and administrative support staff;
  • the Crown Prosecutors and their administrative support staff;
  • the Solicitor for Public Prosecutions, the solicitors, witness assistance officers, and administrative support staff employed in the Solicitor for Public Prosecution's Office; and,
  • the Corporate Services Division.

The Director, Deputy Directors, the Crown Prosecutors, and the Solicitor for Public Prosecutions are statutorily appointed office holders under the DPP Act.[1]

The relationship between the Director, the Crown Prosecutors, and the Solicitor, is somewhat analogous to that which exists between client, counsel, and solicitor in the private sector. The Corporate Services Division provides financial, personnel, information technology, and property services to the other three groupings in the ODPP.[1]

The ODPP Head Office, where the Director, the two Deputy Directors, and their support staff are based, located at 175 Liverpool Street.[1] In Western Sydney, the ODPP has three offices, located at Parramatta, Penrith, and Campbelltown.[1] In regional New South Wales, the ODPP has six offices, located at Lismore, Newcastle, Gosford, Wagga Wagga, Dubbo and Wollongong.[1]

Each of the ODPP offices is staffed by Crown Prosecutors, solicitors, and administrative officers.[1] Each office conducts prosecutions in the relevant Local, District, and Supreme Courts.[1] Witness Assistance Service officers, who are generally social workers or psychologists, are also located in each Office.[1] The officers of this Service provide assistance, support, referral to support agencies, and information to civilian prosecution witnesses.[1]

See also


  1. "ANNUAL REPORT 2012/2013" (PDF). Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, NSW. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 January 2014. Retrieved 14 January 2014.
  2. Johns, Rowena (2001). "Prosecution reports: Independence and Accountability of the Director of Public Prosecutions: A Comparative Survey".
  3. Jacobsen, Geesche; Patty, Anna (25 June 2011). "DPP chief vows to be independent, opinionated". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  4. Whitbourn, Michaela (6 August 2014). "Retiring NSW District Court chief judge Reg Blanch takes aim at media-driven policy and 'unfair' mandatory sentences". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
  5. Crabb, Annabel (12 March 2003). "NSW judge candidate for international court". The Age. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
  6. "Controversial DPP Cowdery to quit his job for life". The Sydney Morning Herald. 14 April 2010. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
  7. AAP (24 June 2011). "Lloyd Babb SC confirmed as state's new DPP". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
  8. Alexander, Harriet (23 March 2013). "DPP warns lawyers: stop bullying one another or else". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  9. Maxwell v The Queen (1996) 184 CLR 501 Austlli
  10. Director of Public Prosecutions Act 1986 (NSW)
  11. Cowdery, Nicholas (August 2009). "The DPP's Decision to Prosecute" (PDF). Bar Practice Course. New South Wales Bar Association.
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