CDLA® are an award winning criminal defence law firm in Sydney who regularly appear in court.

We have decades of experience specialising in murder and manslaughter cases.

Our lawyers have represented some of Australia’s most high profile murder and manslaughter cases in history. We hold a strong focus on fighting hard to achieve justice and we consist of a passionate team of Australia’s top rated senior barristers and lawyers determined to maximise your chances at getting the best possible result.

The law and court process for murder and manslaughter charges in NSW are complex. Our experienced team will advise and guide you through the entire process, with a focus on attempting to get the charge withdrawn early.

Call now to benefit from our affordable fixed fees, free first consult, and track record of success over the years in:

  • Securing ‘not guilty’ verdicts in jury trials
  • Getting charges withdrawn early
  • Avoiding full-time custody

Some of our achievements:

Over 200 five-star online reviews


  • Amongst ‘the best criminal lawyers in Sydney’ 2021, by Bestinau.
  • Three Best Rated Criminal Lawyers’ 2021, by Three Best Rated


  • ‘Leading Specialist in Criminal Defence Law 2020’, by APAC Legal Awards
  • Global Awards 2020 Winner for ‘Criminal Defence Law Firm of the Year’
  • ACQ Law Awards Winner for ‘All Assaults Law Firm of the Year 2019, 2020’

Manslaughter NSW: Jail sentences for crimes in Australia

Manslaughter sentence in NSW carries a maximum of 25-years imprisonment, pursuant to section 24 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).

Murder sentence in NSW carries a maximum of life imprisonment. If the court decides not to impose a life sentence, it may impose a 20-year standard non-parole period of imprisonment. The offence of manslaughter on the other hand does not have a standard non-parole period.

The law sets out the maximum jail sentences for crimes in Australia, although the courts do not normally impose the maximum. The maximum jail sentences set by law are rarely imposed and usually reserved for the most serious hideous crimes by offenders who have a lengthy criminal record.

Manslaughter Sentence Australia

Manslaughter in Australia is one of the most serious of crimes, below murder. The maximum manslaughter sentence that can be imposed by a Court is up to twenty-five years in jail.

The Judicial Commission of NSW has recorded manslaughter sentences from 24 September 2018 to 31 December 2019 in NSW Higher Courts, recording a total of 38 cases. Of those 38 cases, 37 of the offenders received a full-time imprisonment sentence (97.4%), and one offender received a non-full-time imprisonment sentence, namely, a Community Correction Order (CCO).

The following diagram depicts the term of imprisonment imposed by the court upon each of those 37 cases:

Cases Term of Sentence
1 Up to 2 years jail
1 Up to 4 years and 6 months jail
1 Up to 5 years jail
5 Up to 6 years jail
2 Up to 7 years jail
7 Up to 8 years jail
4 Up to 9 years jail
3 Up to 10 years jail
4 11 – 12 years jail
3 13 – 14 years jail
5 15 – 16 years jail
1 Up to 17 years and 6 months jail

Negligent Manslaughter

Criminally negligent manslaughter occurs in the context where you owe a duty of care to a person, and that person dies as a result of your voluntary act or omission to act in accordance with that duty.

You can only be guilty of negligent manslaughter if you fail to discharge your duty of care to that person to such a level that you fell so far below the standard of care that a reasonable person would have exercised in those circumstances. In addition, where your act/omission had such a great risk of death or really serious bodily harm occurring, that only a criminal penalty is required.


Murder is when a person commits a voluntary act resulting in the death of another person in a situation the offender intends to cause death, or intends to cause really serious injury or permanent or serious disfigurement, or does that act being aware as to the probability of death. In contrast, manslaughter is when a person causes another to die as a result of an unintentional or dangerous conduct that results in the other person to die.

Voluntary manslaughter is a partial defence to a murder charge, and it is when a person dies as a result of your action(s) in circumstances of provocation, excessive self-defence or substantial impairment by abnormality of the mind.

Involuntary manslaughter is if you cause death to a person from an unlawful and dangerous act or criminal negligence.

Our clients benefit from the decades of experience and insight our CDLA team of lawyers possess, specialising in criminal law.

We are a high performing team who have achieved outstanding results in some of Australia’s most high profile murder cases in history.

Our CDLA lawyers will:

  • Provide accurate, practical and realistic advice and guidance at every stage.
  • Provide all realistic options in an easy to understand way, without complex legal jargon.
  • Conduct consultations and meetings as often as required with a strong focus on frequent communication throughout the case.
  • Work around the clock.
  • Focus on negotiations in attempts at getting the charge(s) withdrawn early.
  • Provide a comprehensive case analysis by looking closely into the prosecution evidence, pointing out every single deficiency in order to develop the best customised case strategy moving forward.
  • Highly competent and effective legal representation by our instructed senior counsel barristers and senior criminal defence lawyers in court.

At CDLA, we are passionate about getting justice for our clients, which is reflected in our awards achieved online reviews and high success over the years. Why you should choose CDLA?

  1. Decades of experience specialising only in criminal law. Our senior lawyers are highly respected by Judges and Magistrates who they often appear in-front of in court.
  2. Our senior lawyers in-court advocacy is second to none. We are highly effective advocates in the court room.
  3. Highly respected high performing team. We only work with the best senior counsel barristers (Queen’s Counsel) in the nation. Our clients benefit from our entire team working on their case.
  4. Proven track record of success in securing ‘not guilty’ verdicts in jury trials and getting charges dropped early countless times over the years.
  5. Award winning criminal defence lawyers in the nation. We have achieved numerous awards and recognitions for being amongst the top rated criminal defence lawyers in Australia. Our lawyers are also occasionally called upon to present seminars to the legal profession. We are a leading criminal defence law firm.
  6. Personalised service and 24/7 high level of communication. Our experienced team work around the clock with a great amount of dedication, focus and discipline in striving to achieve the best possible outcome. We are truly available 24/7 for our clients and provide a high level of frequent and reliable communication.
  7. Compassionate team. Our team of lawyers are non-judgemental. We’ve been doing this work our entire career and have represented people from all walks of life. We are a compassionate team of criminal defence lawyers who understand that you are going through an extremely difficult time. We are here to help and know how to maximise your chances at getting the best possible result.