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Judge Advocates General


Commodore James Renwick CSC SC.

Commodore Renwick was appointed as Deputy Judge Advocate General- Navy from 30 July 2021.

Commodore Renwick holds the degrees of Bachelor of Laws and Doctor of Juridical Studies from the University of Sydney. In 2007/8 he was a Fulbright Professional Scholar at the School of Advanced International Studies, The Johns Hopkins University, Washington DC. He is an Honorary Professor at the Australian National University and a Visiting Military Fellow at ADFA. He was a Principal Legal Officer in the Northern Territory Department of Law and the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department and the Office of the Australian Government Solicitor. He came to the NSW Bar in 1996 and took silk in 2011. He was a member of the NSW Bar Council and of its committees. From 2017-2020 he was the 3rd Independent National Security Legislation Monitor.

After a period in the Army Reserve (Sydney University Regiment), he was commissioned as a Naval Officer in 1996 joining the NSW Naval Legal Panel. He prosecuted and defended in disciplinary trials, was counsel assisting or representing in a series of inquiries including HMAS Westralia, F111 Reseal/Deseal, Sea King, HMAS Sydney II and the Special Forces Inquiry, appeared as counsel in major cases including Haskins v Commonwealth and Lane v Morrison, and developed an interest in national security law where he practiced and taught. He was a member of the Law Council of Australia’s Military Justice Committee.

He was Head of the NSW Naval Legal Panel and a s 154 Reviewer for many years. In 2013 he deployed on active service to Afghanistan on OP SLIPPER as legal adviser to the Detainee Audit Team.

He received the Conspicuous Service Cross in 2019. Along with the rest of the Inquiry team, he received a CDF Group commendation for his work in the IGADF Special Forces Inquiry.

He is married to Sarah. They have two adult sons. His interests include gardening, bushwalking, swimming, and history.

DJAG - Army

Brigadier His Honour Judge Paul E. Smith

Brigadier His Honour Judge Paul E. Smith was appointed as Deputy Judge Advocate General- Army on 21 March 2019.

Brigadier Smith holds a Bachelor of Laws from Queensland University of Technology, a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the Queensland University of Technology (formerly QIT) and a Graduate Diploma in Advanced Military Law from The University of Melbourne. He was admitted as a solicitor in Queensland in 1985. He practiced as a solicitor in Brisbane until 1990. From 1990 he practiced as a barrister in Brisbane until his appointment to the District Court of Queensland in 2013. He was the central District Court Judge in Rockhampton from 2013 until 2014 and then was appointed Judge Administrator of the District Court in Brisbane in 2014.

Brigadier Smith joined the Army Reserve in 1980 and graduated from the Queensland University Regiment as a Second Lieutenant in 1984 winning the CSR Sword of Honour. He served as a Platoon Commander and then Regimental Signals Officer until 1988 in the 9th Battalion Royal Queensland Regiment. He transferred from the Royal Australian Infantry to the Australian Army Legal Corps in 1993 serving at Headquarters 6th Brigade, Headquarters 7th Brigade, Headquarters 16th Brigade, 1st Training Group (later 1st Regional Training Centre) and Headquarters 1st Division. He prosecuted and defended in many military trials and also appeared in a number of Military Boards of Inquiry. He was promoted to the rank of Colonel in 2014 and posted to the Office of the Judge Advocate General performing duties under section 154 of the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 (Cth) reviewing Courts-Martial and Defence Force Magistrate Trials. In 2018 he also completed an Inquiry into the death of a serviceman as an Assistant Inspector-General (ADF). From 1999 until 2002 he was President of the Queensland University Regiment Association.

He is married to Lisa. They have two adult daughters. His interests include snow skiing, swimming, cycling, walking and reading.

DJAG - Air Force

Air Commodore His Honour Judge GB Lerve.

Air Commodore Lerve was born in the small town of Urana in rural New South Wales. He grew up in the slightly larger town of Cootamundra, also in rural NSW.

He was admitted to legal practice in 1981 and commenced work as a barrister in NSW in 1986. Following four years in private practice and after a year at the National Crime Authority, he was appointed as a Crown Prosecutor in 1990. In his fifteen years as a Crown Prosecutor, he appeared in hundreds of criminal trials, including murder trials in the NSW Supreme Court.

In 2005, Air Commodore Lerve was appointed as a Magistrate with the NSW Local Court. He primarily worked in rural and regional areas, on the Moree/Inverell Circuit, in Albury and in Wagga Wagga. He also sat in the Parramatta Local Court and the NSW Children’s Court.

In 2011, he became an Acting Judge of the District Court of New South Wales and presided in Dubbo. In 2012, he was sworn in as a permanent judge of the NSW District Court and continued to sit as Dubbo’s first full time judge until 2017. He then transferred to become the first full time judge in Wagga Wagga in May 2017. Air Commodore Lerve was commissioned as a Squadron Leader in the Royal Australian Air Force Specialist Reserve in June 1991. During his early RAAF career, he appeared in numerous courts martial and Defence Force magistrate trials as both prosecutor and defending officer. In 2005, he was appointed as a Reviewing Officer pursuant to section 154 of the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982, requiring him to review convictions and punishments imposed by courts martial and Defence Force magistrates.

Air Commodore Lerve was appointed as Deputy Judge Advocate General–Air Force with effect 5 June 2017.