LAQ mourning loss of former colleague

Legal Aid Queensland (LAQ) is mourning “wi​th incredibly heavy hearts” their former colleague and friend James Benjamin, who passed away at Easter, aged 46.

New District Court Judge Prskalo KC, a former LAQ lawyer, acknowledged his passing in her speech to the Banco Court on Wednesday.

Her Honour said: “I have also learnt from our people who have passed, as we all have, I cannot mention them all but in recent times our young, brave James Benjamin”.

In a social media post, LAQ said James began work as a lawyer with the organisation in July 2004 after working in private practice as a criminal lawyer.

“He worked in the criminal practice before moving across to the Youth Legal Aid team. In both areas he developed a reputation for being an excellent lawyer, hard worker and great fun to be around.

“In September 2007, he began working in Counsel (now known as the Public Defender Chambers) as a barrister where he honed his skills as an advocate even further. James was always approachable and generous with his time, and was a willing mentor to many younger lawyers.


“After leaving LAQ in 2015 to practise at the private bar his reputation as a trial and appellate barrister soared. He was very well liked and respected by the profession who briefed him, his colleagues at the bar (in particular his chamber mates at Halsbury Chambers) and judicial officers.

“Throughout his legal career he continued to defend the most vulnerable and disadvantaged. He did so fiercely and unapologetically. James was brave and authentic both in his advocacy but also as a person. 

“He was an incredibly decent human being and a dedicated husband, father, son, brother and friend. We consider ourselves honoured to have had the privilege of spending time with James both in and out of court over the years. He was a delight to know and will be very sadly missed. We have without a doubt lost one of the good ones. Our thoughts are with his wife Jo and their two boys.”

His funeral service is being held tomorrow, Friday, 12 April, at St Paul’s Presbyterian Church, Spring Hill at 10.30am. In lieu of flowers, James requested people consider donating to the Youth Advocacy Centre – a Brisbane-based, not-for-profit organisation that aims to increase access to justice.  

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