Hannah Donaldson

image description

Criminal Law
Inquests & Commissions of Inquiry
Disciplinary and Regulatory proceedings


Admitted as a solicitor in 2017 (NSW)
Admitted as a barrister in 2023 (NSW)


Prior to being called to the Bar in 2023, Hannah appeared as Solicitor Advocate in coronial inquests and criminal proceedings in New South Wales and the Northern Territory. Most recently, Hannah was responsible for the setup and management of the inaugural Coronial Inquest Unit at the Aboriginal Legal Service and regularly appeared for next of kin in the Coroners Court. Hannah has also appeared in criminal proceedings including district court trials, sentences and appeals and local court hearings and applications. While working in the Northern Territory Hannah spent a large amount of time in remote communities at circuit courts including Arnhem Land and the Tiwi Islands. Hannah also represented respondents in ongoing detention applications and worked on the Royal Commission into the Detention and Protection of Children in the Northern Territory. Hannah has been a casual guest lecturer in Advanced Criminal Law at UNSW and has delivered CPDs on a range of evidence topics. She also served on the Law Society of NSW’s Indigenous Issues Committee.

Prior to practicing as a solicitor, Hannah was a Mergers and Acquisitions and Tax Advisor at PricewaterhouseCoopers and was a paralegal at Minter Ellison during her studies.

Professional background
Coronial and Trial Advocate, Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT): January 2022 – July 2023
Managing Solicitor and Senior Solicitor (Northern Region – Lismore), Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT): July 2019 – January 2022
Solicitor and Practice Manager at the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (Darwin and remote regions): May 2017 – July 2019

Select cases as solicitor advocate and solicitor

Coronial inquests Inquest into the death of Stanley Russell (police shooting)
Inquest into the death of Tyrone Adams (police pursuit)
Inquest into the death of Brandon Clark (drowning)
Inquest into the death of TG (death in Corrective Services custody)
Inquest into the death of RRC (death in Corrective Services custody)
Briefed to represent senior next of kin in the coronial inquest into the death of Jai Wright (death in a police operation – hearing January 2024).

Criminal trialsThe Queen v Arthur Kauri: Northern Territory Supreme Court – co counsel – calling evidence from and cross-examination of multiple non-English speaking witnesses.

Criminal sentencing The Queen v Stanley Charles Allen: Northern Territory Supreme Court – unprecedented finding of exceptional circumstances, departation from mandatory sentencing
The Queen v Nigel Willacy: NSW District Court – departation from Henry guideline judgment

High risk offender applicationsAttorney-General of the Northern Territory v GJM (No 1) [2020] NTSC 76

Royal CommissionsRoyal Commission into the Detention and Protection of Children in the Northern Territory (working for the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency who utilized a grant of leave to appear across all Terms of Reference)

<  >