Sydney Tilmouth KC


Sydney Tilmouth served as a Judge of the District Court, the Environment and Development Court and the Equal Opportunity Tribunal of South Australia from June 2005 until statutory retirement in February 2020. From July 2017 he has served as an auxiliary Judge of the Supreme Court of South Australia.

Between 1987 and 2005 he was the Barrister Founder and Head of Edmund Barton Chambers Adelaide, member of Empire Chambers Canberra and Edmund Barton Chambers Darwin.

He was also Director of Legal Services Commission of South Australia from 1984 to 1987, Chief Counsel of Legal Services Commission of South Australia from 1982 to 1984, Barrister & Solicitor (Partner and Founder) S.W. Tilmouth & Co from 1979 to 1982, Senior Solicitor of the Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement from 1977 to 1979, Barrister Bar Chambers, Adelaide from 1975 to 1977, and Solicitor (inaugural) of the Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement 1973 to 1974.

Sydney Tilmouth KC was admitted in 1973 and appointed Queens Counsel in 1989.

Publications and Editorial Contacts

Author, Australian Criminal Trial Directions, LexisNexis, 1995 onwards (subscription work).
Co-editor, Criminal Law Advocacy, Wakefield Press, 1986.
Co author, Advocacy in Practice (2nd ed), (formerly Cross Examination Practice and Procedure), Butterworths, 1998.  
Co author, The Right Direction, Butterworths, 1989.
Contributor in Blank and Selby (Eds), Appellate Practice, Federation Press, 2008.  
Contributor in Gray, Hinton and Caruso (Eds), Essays in Advocacy, Adelaide University Press, 2012.

Awards & Recognition

2010 recipient of The Australasian Institute of Judicial Administration (AIJA) Award for Excellence for work at the 'Nunga' Court (SA) and in particular for work in relation to Aboriginal Sentencing Conferences.

Speaking Engagements

  • 'The Wrong Direction', A case study of successful criminal appeals in Australia; a paper to be delivered at the Criminal Lawyers Association of the Northern Territory Bali conference on 24 June 2013 and to be published.
  • 'Courtroom Advocacy – Reflections of a Trial Judge', paper delivered on 17 February 2012 at a Law Society of South Australia Forum in Adelaide, published in (2012) 36 Australian Bar Review 31.
  • 'Citizenship as a Constitutional Concept: Singh v The Commonwealth of  Australia and Rasul v Bush, President of the United States', (2005) 26 Aust Bar Rev 19; a paper delivered at the University of New South Wales Centre of Public Law 2005 Constitutional Law Conference.
  • 'Legal Aid in Australia'; a paper delivered at the 28th Australian Legal Convention, September 1993.
  • 'Headlines, Headnotes & Hardship', Journalism and Justice in S.A., Journalism and Justice Conference, Brisbane 1991.
  • 'Can You Credit It? - the Role of Demeanour in the Evaluation of Witness Evidence'; a paper given at the South Australian Magistrate's Conference, 1990.


  • Member, combined District and Supreme Court Committee preparing and revising Judges Bench Book, 2005-2015
  • Faculty member of the Australian Advocacy Institute, teaching experience throughout Australia, and in the United States, Bangladesh, and Singapore.
  • Moderator of Advocacy Committee, Law Society of South Australia.
  • Chair Bar Readers Course SA Bar Association.
Areas of expertise
Appellate specialist
Common Law
Administrative Law
Criminal Law (prosecuting and defending)
Constitutional Law
Immigration Law
Commercial Law
Academic Qualifications
Bachelor of Laws
Bachelor of Arts