THE New South Wales Director of Public Prosecutions, Nicholas Cowdery AM QC, has taken a new post at the University of New South Wales.
The University of NSW (UNSW) Faculty of Law has appointed Cowdery as a Visiting Professorial Fellow.
Cowdery was appointed as Director of Public Prosecutions for NSW in 1994. The Office is the largest prosecuting agency in the country. During his 16-year tenure, he superintended some of the nation’s most high-profile and controversial cases including Ivan Milat, Gordon Wood and most recently Keli Lane.
Professor David Dixon, Dean of Law at UNSW, said: “Cowdery was not only the most prestigious prosecutor in our state’s history, but he was also one of the best at taking a very public stance in calling for reform in criminal justice. UNSW is well-known for its strengths in criminal justice, and [he] is not only bringing distinguished and well-documented experience, but a dedicated passion to working with and mentoring our outstanding students so that they too can make their mark in society.”
Prior to his appointment as NSW DPP, Cowdery spent nearly 20 years in private practice at the Sydney Bar, largely in criminal law, both prosecuting and defending.
Cowdery himself said: “The UNSW law school really appeals to me because of the quality of its students and teaching staff and its proactive approach to the teaching of best practice and the promotion of human rights. It’s one of the premier schools for studying and promoting criminal law at not just the local level but on the international stage. I’ve been closely involved with [Dixon] and the program for a number of years and have always enjoyed my lectures and discussions with UNSW law students.
“I had an enjoyable career as the Director of Public Prosecutions and worked with and against some brilliant legal minds. I’ve gone about my business knowing that most of my decisions would make some people unhappy, but my independent approach to the office and to our work has always been directed to what was in the best interests of the state and the criminal justice system.”
Cowdery will be involved in teaching, writing and student mentoring. He is the third recent appointment to the criminal justice program, joining Professor Julie Stubbs and Professor Janet Chan.