Areas of Practice

Criminal Law - trial and appellate
Mental Health Law
Administrative Law

Contact Details

‘8 Petrie Terrace’
#2 Jacksons Building, 8 Petrie Terrace, Brisbane Q 4000, Australia

P: +(617) 3369 4055
M: 0411 472 773
F: +(617) 3369 7098

Education & Admissions

1988 Bachelor of Laws (First Class Honours), University of Queensland
1987 Bachelor of Commerce, University of Queensland
1990 Admitted as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Queensland
1991 Admitted as a Barrister of the Supreme Court of Queensland
2013 Appointed Queen's Counsel

Practice History

1990 Solicitor, Feez Ruthning (now Allens)
1990 - 1991 Legal Officer, Commission of Inquiry into the Care and Treatment of Patients at the Psychiatric Ward of the Townsville General Hospital
1991 - 1999 Clerk, Crown Prosecutor (1992), Senior Crown Prosecutor (1996), Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions
1999 - 2003 Lecturer (Evidence), University of Queensland; Tutor (Ethics) University of Queensland
2002 - 2009 Counsel, Legal Aid Queensland
2010 Private Practice

Other Professional contributions

Author, Carter’s Criminal Law of Queensland – from 1996 onwards
Author, Criminal Law News Queensland – from 1996 onwards
Executive Consultant, Queensland Law Reform Commission
Part time member of the Law Reform Commission - December 2010 until December 2013
Member of the South Pacific Region Education Committee, Bar Association of Queensland
Member of the Bar Practice Course Management Committee

Other Professional contributions

Soraya Ryan holds a Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws (with First Class Honours) from the University of Queensland.  She was awarded prizes in criminal law, mining law and evidence.

She was the associate to the Honourable Justice G N Williams of the Supreme Court of Queensland.  She worked briefly at a commercial law firm and then, for a year, as a legal officer at the Ward 10B Inquiry (formally, the Inquiry into the Care and Treatment of Patients in the Psychiatric Unit of the Townsville General Hospital).

At the end of the Inquiry, she joined the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.  In 1992, she was appointed a Crown Prosecutor and conducted criminal trials, sentences and other applications on behalf of the State.

In 1999, after eight years as a prosecutor, she was asked to take on the role of Course Coordinator and Lecturer in Evidence at the University of Queensland (UQ).  She was also a tutor in ethics.  She remained on the teaching staff at UQ until 2002, when she was offered a contract to write a mentoring program for legal staff at Legal Aid Queensland and to prepare a response, on behalf of Legal Aid Queensland, to the CMC’s inquiry into the prosecution of child sex offences.

In 2003, she accepted a position as Counsel at Legal Aid Queensland and appeared in trials, appeals and other applications on behalf of persons charged with criminal offences.

In 2008, at the request of the Chairperson of the Queensland Law Reform Commission, she was seconded to the Commission as an Executive Legal Consultant to assist in the Commission’s review of the excuse of accident and the defences of provocation.  (The Commission’s review is at

Ms Ryan resigned from Legal Aid Queensland at the end of 2009 and began practice at the private bar in January 2010.  In November 2013, she was appointed Queen’s Counsel.

Ms Ryan is often briefed in matters (for trial or appeal) in which the defendant is particularly vulnerable or difficult, or in matters which are sensitive, novel or complex.  She has appeared for young persons charged with murder, for defendants charged with the homicide of infants or children, for defendants suffering from mental illness, and for non-English speaking defendants.

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation