John Agius SC

1976, Bachelor of Laws (UNSW)

1976, Bachelor of Jurisprudence (UNSW)

Called to the bar 1977

Appointed Senior Counsel 1995

A highly esteemed Senior Counsel and Head of Chambers, John maintains an expansive general law practice, largely comprising of public law, administrative law, common law, criminal law and work, health and safety matters. He also possesses a wealth of experience as Senior Counsel assisting commissions of inquiry and complex coronial inquests.

A significant part of John’s criminal practice involves judge only and jury appellate work for the State Government where indictable offences such as murder, terrorism related matters, fraud, insider trading, sexual assault, child sexual assault and extradition charges are alleged. He has also defended a significant number of these offences in New South Wales and elsewhere in the Commonwealth. The diversity of John’s practice is evidenced by his broad client base, which is comprised of government clients (Federal and State) and government-related bodies, institutional clients, and private individual clients.

The jurisdictions in which he appears includes the High Court of Australia (appeals and special leave applications), the New South Wales Court of Criminal Appeal and Courts of Appeal in NSW and interstate. He also been appointed to assist in a number of Federal and State Inquiries and Royal Commissions.

Possessing strong leadership skills, John delivers significant value through his strategic input, practical and collaborative approach. Given the size and complexity of matters in which he is regularly briefed, John has considerable experience commissioning staff and managing multi-disciplinary teams, constituting investigative lawyers, barristers, accountants, auditors, and analysts in Commissions of Inquiry. He also has extensive experience managing the drafting of significant reports, as well as the executive side of Inquiries, including liaising with agencies at a high level. One of his matters, for example, required him to travel to the United Nations to negotiate and discuss pertinent issues. Such matters are typically document-intensive, requiring John and his team to also manage information technology systems effectively.

With extensive cross-jurisdictional litigation experience, John’s superior advocacy and cross-examination skills, coupled with his ability to traverse complex legal and factual issues at the outset of a matter in order to achieve early resolution, is one of his many key strengths. John has also conducted matters as a Mediator.

Practice Areas

Administrative and Public Law
Building and Construction
Criminal Law
Employment and Industrial Relations
Human Rights and Discrimination
Inquests and Commissions of Inquiry
Medical Negligence
Professional Negligence


1979-Present, Senior Counsel and Barrister, Wardell Chambers

1977-1979, Legal Officer in the NSW Office of the Clerk of the Peace, later the Solicitor for Public Prosecutions, NSW

Professional Appointments and Memberships

Member, NSW Bar Association


1998, Appointed Queens Counsel in Western Australia

1995, Appointed Senior Counsel in NSW

1979, Called NSW Bar

1977, Admitted as a solicitor of the NSW Supreme Court