Nicholas Cowdery

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Cowdery (left) in 2015

Nicholas Richard Cowdery AM, QC, (born 19 March 1946) was the Director of Public Prosecutions for the Australian state of New South Wales. He held the position from 1994 to 2011.[1] Cowdery also served as President of the International Association of Prosecutors from 1999 to 2005.

Early life and education[edit]

Cowdery attended Wollongong High School and completed his secondary schooling at the Sydney Grammar School. He graduated in Arts and Law at the University of Sydney where he was a resident of St. Paul's College, where he is now an Honorary Fellow.

Cowdery was awarded with an Honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Wollongong in 2011.


In 1971, he commenced practising as a public defender in Papua New Guinea after admission as a barrister in the same year. Cowdery entered private practice in 1975, where he stayed until 1994, concentrating on criminal law, common law, administrative law and some commercial law.

He was appointed Queen's Counsel in 1987, served as an Associate Judge of the District Court between 1988-1990. Cowdery was appointed the Director of Public Prosecutions for New South Wales in 1994, and ended his sixteen-year tenure in 2011. He has since written Getting Justice Wrong: myths, media and crime (Allen & Unwin, 2001. ISBN 1-86508-322-4).

He was elected President of the International Association of Prosecutors in 1999 and re-elected to a second three-year term in September 2002. He now holds a number of honorary academic positions including as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Sydney's Institute of Criminology; a Visiting Professorial Fellow at the University of New South Wales and the University of Wollongong's law faculties; and as an Adjunct Professor at Charles Sturt University. Cowdery is also a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law.

He is a member of the board of the Rule of Law Institute of Australia and is the Chairman of the Magna Carta Committee of the Rule of Law Institute, a body that celebrates the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta.


  1. ^ Richard Ackland (2011-18-03) John Hatzistergos Gets Rid of Cowdery Sydney Morning Herald (SMH). Retrieved 2011-03-27.

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Reg Blanch
Director of Public Prosecutions
1994 – 2011
Succeeded by
Lloyd Babb