Shirley Southgate

Executive Director

Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Laws with Honours
Executive Masters of Public Administration


Before Leo Cussen

After admission to the legal profession, Shirley practised at Legal Aid Western Australia, in community legal centres, and in general private practice. While at Legal Aid, Shirley was part of the small team that developed and delivered an accredited paralegal training course to Legal Aid and community legal centre staff across WA.

Shirley moved to Sydney in 2005 to take up the position of Principal Solicitor at Kingsford Legal Centre (KLC) – a community legal centre that is part of the Law Faculty of UNSW Australia and which runs the UNSW clinical legal education courses. Shirley had responsibility for the general legal practice of KLC, with her particular areas of practice being anti-discrimination law and employment law. Shirley also had responsibility for policy and law reform work. In January 2010, Shirley moved to the newly established Office of the Information Commissioner New South Wales as manager with responsibility for policy and good practice, review and compliance. This role combined public sector management with building experience in administrative law and regulatory law and practice.

With the announcement of the establishment of the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC) in 2012, Shirley moved to Melbourne to take up the position of Director Legal at the ACNC. This role combined government in-house legal work with public sector management, administrative law, regulatory law and practice, and charity law.



Shirley is a member of the Board of Directors of the VET Development Centre.

Shirley is a member of the Board of Directors of Women’s Legal Service Victoria (Chair 2016 -2018).

She has previously been a member of a number of committees, including Women’s Legal Services NSW, the South East Neighbourhood Centre, Human Rights WA and Tenants Advice Service WA. She has been a member of the NSW Editorial Committee of the Alternative Law Journal.

Shirley is a member of the Law Institute of Victoria.


Achievements/Special Interests

In 2007, Shirley was part of the Kingsford Legal Centre team to be awarded the 2007 UNSW Professional & Technical Recognition Award for Excellence in Enhancing the Student Experience.

Shirley has ongoing interests in professional ethics, administrative law and leadership and management.