Criminal Law Noticeboard October 2021 - Summary Offences Queensland Author Spotlight James Benjamin
James Benjamin is a barrister based in Brisbane practicing primarily in criminal law with much experience in child protection including at an appellate level. He was called to the bar in 2006 and worked as in-house counsel at Legal Aid Queensland before moving to the private bar at the beginning of 2016.
James has a particular interest in the interaction that children have with the legal system. This includes the youth justice system, the child protection system and children appearing as witnesses. He contributes regularly to submissions on proposed legislation and policy initiatives relating to children’s participation in the criminal justice system.
Following the recent changes to the Youth Justice Act and the modification of the bail laws relating to children, Legal Insight has published an interview with James, Youth Justice Act Reforms: Tough on Crime or a War on Kids?, regarding the implications and potential issues that could arise as a result of those changes.
What brought you to the legal profession?
I was good at English in high school and didn’t know what else I wanted to do. After graduating, I was still at something of a loss until I stumbled into criminal law by accident and discovered I loved it. I knew very quickly that I really enjoyed the challenges of advocacy and that the bar was calling.
What are your professional interests?
I maintain a strong interest in all areas in which children come into contact with the legal system. I have represented the Bar Association of Queensland on the Childrens Court Committee and regularly contribute to the Association’s submissions on law reform and legislative amendments in these areas, but particularly the Youth Justice system.
What are your personal interests?
I enjoy music and coaching and volunteering with my local Junior AFL Club and having fun with my wife and two boys.
Why did you decide to write for Summary Offences Queensland?
My predecessor was a colleague in chambers and suggested me as her replacement. I realised it was a great opportunity to contribute to the publishing community and to make me keep up-to-date on legislative and caselaw developments.