Commissioners

  • Liana Buchanan

    Liana Buchanan, Principal Commissioner for Children and Young People, Victoria

    Liana Buchanan is Victoria's Principal Commissioner for Children and Young People. She was formerly the Executive Officer of the Federation of Community Legal Centres and was also responsible for the monitoring and review of the Victorian corrections system as Director, Office of Correctional Services Review from 2009-2013.  Ms Buchanan has worked as a community lawyer and in a range of law reform and legal policy roles, including at the Women’s Legal Service (SA), the Equal Opportunity Commission, the Victorian Law Reform Commission and as senior adviser to the Secretary, Department of Justice.  She was appointed to the Victorian Law Reform Commission in February 2015. 

  • Bruce Gardner

    Bruce Gardner PSM

    Bruce Gardner PSM has 36 years’ experience in the Crown Solicitor’s Office and the Office of Public Prosecutions. Since 1994, Mr Gardner has held a range of policy-related positions, including Senior Legal Advisor to the Director of Public Prosecutions. Mr Gardner has served on numerous committees and working groups addressing criminal law reform issues. He was appointed as a Commissioner in April 2012, and in the same year received an Australian Public Service Medal for outstanding public service to criminal law reform. 

  • Ian Hardingham

    Dr Ian Hardingham, QC

    Ian Hardingham QC is a leading barrister in a number of areas, including succession, property and equity law. Appointed Queens Counsel in 1997, Dr Hardingham has led a distinguished career at the bar, appearing and advising in many significant cases. As well as authoring and contributing to a number of important texts, Dr Hardingham has contributed to several law reform projects, and was central to the Victorian Parliamentary Law Reform Committee’s 1994 review of the law of wills. He joined the Commission in June 2012 as the specialist Commissioner to the review on succession laws, and was reappointed to the Commission in September 2013.

  • Bernadette McSherry

    Professor Bernadette McSherry

    Bernadette McSherry is the Foundation Director of the Melbourne Social Equity Institute at the University of Melbourne and an Adjunct Professor of Law at Melbourne Law School and the Faculty of Law, Monash University. She is an internationally recognised legal academic in the fields of criminal law and mental health law and is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia as well as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law. She served as a Legal Member of the Victorian Mental Health Tribunal for 18 years until mid 2018. She was appointed to the Commission in June 2018.

  • Dan Nicholson

    Dan Nicholson, Executive Director, Criminal Law, Victoria Legal Aid

    Dan Nicholson is the Executive Director, Criminal Law at Victoria Legal Aid. He is responsible for the delivery of legally aided criminal law services across the state, a range of projects to improve the operation of the criminal law system, as well as leading Victoria’s largest criminal law practice. He is also the Executive Director for the Western Suburbs including VLA’s Sunshine office. Dan has worked with VLA since 2012 in a range of roles including Executive Director for Civil Justice, Access and Equity and Associate Director, Access and Equity. In these roles he led VLA’s programs in areas including mental health and disability advocacy, migration law, tenancy, discrimination and social security, and was responsible for VLA’s Legal Help telephone advice service and funding to community legal centres. Prior to joining Victoria Legal Aid, Dan managed the Human Rights Unit at the Victorian Department of Justice, was Associate to Justice Maxwell, President of the Court of Appeal and worked at Fitzroy Legal Service.  He has also worked on a range of Human Rights issues and lived in Cambodia and Timor-Leste. He is an RMIT JD Program Advisory Board member. Dan was appointed to the Victorian Law Reform Commission in September 2018. 

  • Alison O'Brien

    Alison P K O'Brien, Assistant Victorian Government Solicitor, Government and Public Law

    Alison PK O'Brien has 22 years' experience working in government, including 20 years with the Victorian Government Solicitor's Office where she is the Assistant Victorian Government Solicitor, Government and Public Law. She provides advice to the state government on constitutional and other public law matters, including legislative development, and has been involved in cases which have developed critical areas of the law. In 2011 Ms O'Brien was awarded the Law Institute of Victoria Government Lawyer of the Year Award. She has been a member of the Victorian Legal Admissions Committee since 2015. She was appointed to the Commission in September 2013.

  • Gemma varley

    Gemma Varley, PSM

    Gemma Varley was Chief Parliamentary Counsel for Victoria from 2008 until 2016.  She was Second Deputy Chief Parliamentary Counsel from 2004 until 2008 and has more than 37 years experience as a legislative drafter in the Office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel.  Mrs Varley is in private practice as a consulting legislative drafter. In 2017 she was awarded a Public Service Medal for outstanding public service through the drafting of legislation in Victoria. She was appointed to the Commission in August 2016.

  • Frank Vincent

    The Hon. Frank Vincent, AO QC

    The Hon. Frank Vincent AO QC served 16 years as a judge of the Supreme Court of Victoria followed by a further eight years as a judge of the Court of Appeal. He was Deputy Chair and then Chair of the Victorian Adult Parole Board, a position he occupied for 17 years. He has served as a consultant to the Australian Law Reform Commission and Chairman of the Victorian Criminal Bar Association, and since his retirement he has been appointed by successive Attorneys General to conduct inquiries into matters of public importance. From 2001 to 2009 he was the Chancellor of Victoria University. He conducted a review of the legislative framework for witness protection in Victoria, and was Senior Legal Advisor to the recent State Parliamentary Committee Inquiry into the sexual and physical abuse of children in non-government organisations. In 2018 he conducted a review of court suppression orders and the Open Courts Act 2013. He was appointed to the Commission in July 2012.

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