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Head Defence Legal

Head Defence Legal provides legal support to Ministers, the Secretary and the Chief of the Defence Force, and Defence senior leaders more broadly, by managing and leading the Defence Legal Division, an integrated national in-house legal service staffed by ADF and APS personnel. The Defence Legal Division forms part of the Chief Operating Officer Group.

Mr Mark Cunliffe PSM is the current Head Defence Legal. He commenced in this position in July 2004.

Mark was born in Sydney, educated in Sydney and Canberra and has an Arts/Law degree from the Australian National University. He worked as a journalist and as a solicitor in private legal practice, before joining the Australian Public Service in 1978. He has worked in the Department of Social Security, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Transport and Regional Development, Australian Electoral Commission and the UK Home Office (on an exchange arrangement from PM&C). He also spent a year as a judge’s associate.

Mark was awarded a Public Service Medal in the 2009 Australia Day Honours List.

Mark is married to Hilary Penfold; they have three (adult) children: a daughter and two sons.


Head Defence Legal
Department of Defence
PO Box 7911 
Fax: (02) 6266 3093