Criminal law is, by its very nature, a highly complex and high-stakes area of law all around Australia. This is especially true in Australia’s most populated city; Sydney, New South Wales. As you might expect, criminal law in Sydney is a highly competitive field, and there are hundreds of competent and experienced criminal defence lawyers operating around Sydney.

Because of the high population of criminal lawyers in Sydney, the best practitioners are those who stand head and shoulders above their peers. A mix of experience, results for past clients, dogged dedication to their craft, and a range of other factors all inform an analysis of the best criminal lawyers in Sydney.

If you are seeking the services of the best criminal defence lawyers in Sydney, then you need to think carefully about your decision. There’s a range of leading practitioners with very subtle differences in approach to criminal law that makes them more or less appropriate for different kinds of cases.

Here are 10 top rated criminal lawyers in Sydney:

  1. Joseph Correy from the Australian Criminal Law Group
  2. William Vahl from North Shore Criminal Law
  3. Zemarai Khatiz from Oxford Lawyers
  4. Sarieh Afraz from Maksisi Lawyers
  5. Paul Hardin from Harin Law
  6. Avinash Singh from Astor Legal
  7. Yvette Holt from Lamont Law
  8. Tom Warr from Criminal Barristers Sydney
  9. Rayan Dabliz from NGM Defence Lawyers
  10. Julie Nguyen from Gregory Goold Solicitors

1. Joseph Correy

Joseph Correy - best criminal lawyer
Joseph Correy

Phone: (02) 8815 8167

Joseph Correy is a highly experienced criminal lawyer and the managing partner of Australian Criminal Law Group, one of Sydney’s most distinguished criminal law firms. He is recognised as one of Sydney’s best criminal lawyers, with a record in securing acquittals and lenient sentences for clients charged with serious criminal charges such as murder, sex offences, and drug importation.

Joseph founded Australian Criminal Law Group in 2014 and has put together one of the strongest criminal law teams in Sydney. Other criminal lawyers who he has recruited include 2017 NSW Australian of the Year Deng Adut, specialist drug lawyer Joseph Harb, and Steven Mercael, who Joseph describes as one of the best young lawyers he has ever seen.

Joseph understands that being accused of any crime is intensely traumatising, and he believes strongly in acting as a bulwark against wrongful convictions and overzealous policing that seeks to secure a conviction by any means. His belief in the innocence of clients has seen him play a pivotal role in the rebuilding of their lives and reputations.

Joseph’s team at Australian Criminal Law Group share his passion and beliefs with the firm’s criminal lawyers having received awards for their contributions to clients and community, including the prestigious Law Society President’s Medal, Human Rights Medal, Pride of Australia Medal, WSU Community Award, UOW Young Alumni Award, and Young Global Leaders Award. Australian Criminal Law Group were also nominated as Champions of the West.

Joseph has a deep-rooted sense of justice tracing back to his upbringing. Raised in Redfern, during the eighties and early nineties, he became a criminal lawyer to hold the police force accountable for their actions. Joseph is passionate about helping Indigenous clients fight for justice in the criminal system, in which they are unfairly targeted, and his practice includes many clients from his own community.

Joseph has a deep understanding and experience of the law, and the size of his practice is a testament to his work ethic. His style of criminal defence involves dismantling the testimony of witnesses and identifying technicalities that other lawyers simply miss. Joseph has won many cases that were considered unwinnable, and prosecutors in Sydney know they will not have an easy time when his name appears for the defence.

Joseph routinely appears in the Local, District and Supreme Court, as well as the Court of Criminal Appeals. He regularly secures acquittal or the imposition of lenient sentencing, and he offers free initial consultations to prospective clients.

2. William Vahl 

William Vahl - best criminal lawyer
William Vahl

Phone: (02) 9955 2298

William Vahl is an accredited criminal law specialist and the principal practitioner at North Shore Criminal Law. William has spent over 20 years actively practising criminal law and is the solicitor on the North Shore of Sydney. He is an Accredited Criminal Law Specialist.

Having spent over two decades practising criminal law, William has a wellspring of experience to draw on when it comes to any matter his client is facing. Over the years, William has been on the frontline of criminal law in Sydney, taking on cases in the Local, District, and Supreme Court.

Some of the cases in which William has secured acquittals for his clients include weapons and firearms offences, common assaults, drunk-driving, as well as drug possession and supply. He is also an expert with complex fraud prosecutions and white-collar crime.

William is able to engineer a robust legal defence for his clients by engaging the expertise of criminal law barristers, psychiatrists, psychologists and other types of forensic experts. William’s ability and dedication has earned him the sincere and undying gratitude of many past clients.

3. Zemarai Khatiz

Zemarai Khatiz - best criminal lawyer
Zemarai Khatiz

Phone: (02) 8677 9674

Zemarai Khatiz is a passionate and highly experienced criminal defence lawyer. He is the director and principal lawyers at Oxford Lawyers, located in Parramatta, Sydney. Zemarai is also an Accredited Criminal Law Specialist listed by the Law Society of New South Wales.

Zemarai specialised in a wide range of both criminal offences and traffic offences, providing a robust and high-quality service to all of his clients. He always stands by his clients and gives 100% of his effort to this case, no matter how minor or serious the charge is.

He is available for emergency police station attendance 24-7 and gives free consultations to new clients. He is considered one of the best criminal lawyers in Parramatta, and in Sydney more broadly.

4. Sarieh Afraz

Sarieh Afraz - best criminal lawyer
Sarieh Afraz

Phone: (02) 9252 9753

Sarieh Afraz is one of the solicitors practising at Maksisi Lawyers and is one of the best criminal lawyers in Sydney. Sarieh is known for having a down-to-earth approach to criminal law, backed up by diligent preparation that ensures no stone is left unturned in her client’s defence.

She has an impressive history of achieving outstanding results for her clients in the realm of criminal law, including highly complex criminal cases. She can be founding acting in a defence capacity for a range of cases both major and minor, including everything from traffic offences to assaults, drug possession, and AVO’s in both Local Court and District Court.

Sarieh gives expert counsel to her clients, no matter what the circumstances of the case are. Many people facing criminal convictions in Sydney have been grateful to have Sarieh on their side.

5. Paul Hardin

Paul Hardin - best criminal lawyer
Paul Hardin

Phone: (02) 8251 0025

Paul Hardin has been a criminal lawyer for over 25 years and has become known as one of the most experienced and hard-working defence solicitors in Sydney. He got involved in criminal defence from a young age, starting out as a work experience student who continued to pursue his interest during school holidays until admitted as a lawyer in 1991.

Paul has represented clients in a wide range of complex criminal affairs. He has been the chief defence solicitor in a range of large-scale drug importation cases, and famously represented the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club where he successfully had the anti-bikie Act declared to be invalid.

He is also noted as the solicitor who secured an acquittal in a high profile murder trial involving the ‘Bra Boys’, which became the subject of a documentary movie. His name has been attached to a variety of successful legal defences, and his reputation precedes him in any courtroom he enters.

Paul has also represented clients in the High Court of Australia, acting for individuals outside of New South Wales. He is one of the most renowned criminal lawyers in Australia, let alone Sydney.

6. Avinash Singh

Avinash Singh
Avinash Singh


Phone: (02) 7804 2823

Avinash Singh is the principal lawyer at Astor Legal, one of the leading criminal law firms operating in Sydney. He’s a well-known and widely respected criminal law practitioner, having memorably represented elite sportspeople including NRL players and Olympians in Australia.

With a storied legal career working with some of Australia’s most recognised barristers, Avinash has a wealth of experience and expertise to draw on for the benefit of his clients. Learning directly from Senior and Queens Counsel, Avinash has the ability to process and analyse large volumes of material in order to develop intricate and effective strategies for every case he takes on.

Over his career, Avinash has earned a reputation for his meticulous attention to detail and determination as an advocate. He has earned the respect of judges and magistrates due to his punctual, polite, and professional approach with every case.

Avinash is recognised as an Accredited Specialist in Criminal Law by the Law Society, something that less than six per cent of Australian lawyers are honoured with. This places Avinash in the ranks of Australia’s most effective criminal lawyers, and anyone who hires him will undoubtedly be happy to have him in their corner when facing criminal prosecution of any kind.

7. Yvette Holt

Yvette Holt - best criminal lawyer
Yvette Holt

Phone: 1300 365 075

Yvette Holt is one of the best criminal lawyers in Sydney and practises at Lamont Law. She is admitted to the Supreme Court of New South Wales, as well as the High Court of Australia.

Yvette has a depth of experience when It comes to criminal law litigation and court procedure, giving her clients an immense sigh of relief as she expertly handles everything on their behalf. She graduated with first-class honours for Master of Law from Cambridge University, as well as with first-class honours from the University of Sydney.

Her academic and legal career has spanned over 20 years, and she has worked on a variety of special Royal Commissions and other Commissions of Inquiry. Yvette has a friendly and comfortable approach with all her clients but is a fierce advocate when it comes to defending them in the courtroom.

8. Tom Warr

Tom Warr - best criminal lawyer
Tom Warr

Phone: (02) 9224 5600

Tom Warr is the principal at Criminal Barristers Sydney and one of the best criminal lawyers operating in Sydney. He provides expert legal representation to his clients for all types of criminal offences, working to the highest possible standard.

Tom is a highly dedicated legal advocate and commits himself to get the absolute best possible result for all of his clients. Since 2002, Tom has been exclusively dedicated to criminal law and since then has appeared daily in all matter of courtroom affairs from bail applications to appeals and sentence proceedings.

He is also commonly seen defending clients during jury trials all throughout New South Wales and has secured an acquittal for clients in serious matters ranging from complex fraud to drug trafficking and violent crimes. Those who are facing criminal charges, or those who just have questions about criminal law needing an expert opinion, turn to Tom on a regular basis for his professionalism. He offers certainty as to costs with all his clients, offering a fixed fee service for all traffic and criminal law matters his clients come to him with.

9. Rayan Dabliz

Rayan Dabliz - best criminal lawyer
Rayan Dabliz

Phone: (02) 9633 4966

Rayan Dabliz is practising solicitor at Nyman, Gibson, Miralis (NGM) Defence Lawyers and Advisors. She is a highly experienced criminal lawyer in Sydney who routinely appears in Local Court, District Court, Supreme Court, the Court of Criminal Appeal, as well as Children’s Court representing juvenile clients. She works with all complex and generalised criminal law matters, representing her clients and giving invaluable counsel and instruction on how to handle complex cases to get the best possible result.

Rayan has represented a variety of clients in cases pertaining to serious issues like the complex white collar and corporate crime, as well as issues of drug possession, sexual offences, assault, and traffic matters. She has a divisive and pragmatic approach, with no hesitation when it comes to dismantling the prosecution’s case and helping innocent people get the just outcome they deserve.

Rayan uses her impressive interpersonal skillset to find the best outcomes for her clients, performing effective negotiations with NSWDPP, CDPP, and other government agencies. Her sincere passion and commitment to getting the best outcome for her clients make them feel confident in their choice to choose her as their representative.

Previously, Rayan has worked for Legal Aid New South Wales and on a variety of crime panels for Legal Aid.

10. Julie Nguyen

Julie Nguyen - best criminal lawyer
Julie Nguyen

Phone: (02) 9264 6611

Julie Nguyen is a diligent, thorough, and highly experienced criminal defence lawyer who works at Gregory Goold Solicitors in Sydney. She has a great deal of experience working in the Local Court, District, Court, Supreme Court, And the Court of Criminal Appeal in New South Wales.

Julie is known for her strong work ethic and masterful attention to detail, having counselled and represented many clients for a wide array of criminal matters. These criminal matters include everything from AVO’s and bail applications for minor crimes, to full-fledged defence for a serious matter involving assault and drug supply.

Julie is also experienced with working alongside Junior and Senior Counsel for a variety of complicated Commonwealth and State-level trials. Julie’s primary interest and expertise rest with NSW and Australian Crime Commission cases that are related to the recovering of the alleged proceeds of crime.

Julie is committed to securing the best possible result for all of her clients, no matter the complexity of the case they are facing. She has worked alongside and in defence of many different types of clients, including those in police custody, as well as in the capacity of Legal Aid assignments.

Who will you choose?

All of the criminal lawyers in Sydney that are listed above are highly experienced and capable professionals. All of them are dedicated practitioners with a sincere passion for their craft. These experts have earned the gratitude of thousands of individuals who’ve counted on them to secure an acquittal or lenient sentencing in their criminal matter.

If you have any suggestions or alterations for this list, don’t hesitate to get in contact with the editorial team.