Benevolent Association

Assistance in deserving cases

The Barristers’ Benevolent Association of New South Wales was established to set up a scheme whereby financial assistance may be provided to persons who are (or have been) members of the New South Wales Bar and who have practised predominantly in NSW. There are no fixed circumstances in which such assistance may be provided save for it being directed to “necessitous and deserving cases”. It provides a fund for those who are suffering from hardship either in the short term or long term. The funding is an important part of the collegiate life of the Bar and how we look after each other.

Who qualifies for assistance?

Section 2 of the Barristers Benevolent Association's rules and regulations sets out who is eligible to receive assistance.  Applications may be made to the Benevolent Association and ought to include the basis on which the application is made together with any supporting documentation. Grants of assistance may extend to:  

  • the member’s spouse (including surviving spouse) 
  • partner in a defacto relationship (both opposite and same sex relationships) (including surviving defacto partner) 
  • children (including adopted children and children of any aforementioned spouse or partner) and 
  • any such other persons that may be determined by the Committee of Management to be dependants.  

Applications are confidential. Applications are assessed on a case by case basis by the Committee of Management of the Benevolent Association, whose decisions are final and conclusive. The committee is comprised of the Bar Council Executive.

Case study one 

I was in my first few years at the Bar when I felt a crushing pain in my chest. I was to begin a two week trial the following Monday, and wanted to dismiss the pain as an expression of anxiety, or indigestion. Luckily, my partner persuaded me to call an ambulance. I had suffered a major heart attack. I received great care, but I was unable to work for a significant period of time, and a substantial tax bill was due. A concerned colleague contacted the NSW Bar Association’s Benevolent Fund on my behalf. The Fund provided an unsecured loan which gave me the breathing space I needed to concentrate on my recovery, and the time I need to return to good health.

Case study two 

My 8 year old son suffered a catastrophic accident which left him requiring full time care. As a result, I had to stop work to care for him full-time over several years. As a result, our family went into substantial debt, and were under significant stress. After several years, I wanted to return to practice but did not have the resources to fund my return. I contacted the NSW Bar Association’s Benevolent Fund. The Fund agreed to make a short-term contribute to the cost of accommodation in Chambers, which was enough to allow me to re-establish myself in practice.

make a donation

In order to ensure that the Fund is maintained and available for our colleagues in need, it must receive the support of those at the bar who are able to do so.  Donations may now be made to the Benevolent Association using your credit card.


For more information about the Benevolent Association, or to request assistance, please contact: 

Greg Tolhurst
Selborne Chambers
B / 174 Phillip Street
Sydney NSW 2000
DX 1204 Sydney
Telephone: +61 2 9232 4055

Practising at the bar is unquestionably stressful. The Bar Association supports the health and wellbeing of its members through a variety of services and benefits and the work of the Wellbeing Committee.