Paul Vale Criminal Law is a leading specialist criminal law firm in Melbourne. With over 40 years of experience, our lawyers are legal experts in all criminal and traffic law matters. When experience and dedication is combined with our specialised knowledge, we are in the best position to attain successful results for our clients.

Our team of lawyers are multilingual.

Our dedicated solicitors are knowledgeable and experienced.

Our vast experience enables us to advise you on the best course of action to be taken in your matter.

Our commitment to you ensures that your voice is heard.

A significant number of criminal solicitors and barristers currently practising in Victoria received their legal training at Paul Vale Criminal Law.


We offer Victoria’s only reliable 24 hours legal service. Call (03) 9870 1959

Legal service available in Chinese (Mandarin).

Our Team


Chen Yang

Principal Solicitor

Chen Yang has been the Principal Partner and Solicitor Advocate of Paul Vale Criminal Law since 2012. Apart from appearing daily in Magistrates, County and Supreme Courts, Chen is also one of the only experienced criminal lawyers in Melbourne who speaks fluent Chinese (Mandarin).

Chen specialises in all areas of Criminal and Traffic law matters including: Driving and Licence offences, Family Violence matters, Intervention Order applications, Drug offences (Possession, Trafficking, Cultivation and Importation), Property offences, Sex offences, Murder/Manslaughter. Chen Yang also possesses significant experience in Criminal Appellate matters in the County, Supreme and High Court.

By combining his extensive legal knowledge, court experience and compassion, Chen continues to obtain true justice for his clients in the form of remarkable results.


Michael Cunningham

Senior Solicitor

Michael Cunningham was admitted to practice as a solicitor in 2007 and has worked extensively in all aspects of Criminal Law since then. He continues to appear regularly in the Magistrates’, County and Supreme Courts where he uses his advocacy skills to achieve outstanding results for his clients.

Michael has personally appeared and successfully advocated for his clients in a wide variety of hearings, including contested summary criminal charges, indictable criminal charges, contested Intervention Order applications, summary jurisdiction applications, appeals against sentence, contested bail applications, and contested committal hearings.

Michael has also had considerable experience in high profile and complex criminal matters, including murder trials, and applications for leave/special leave to appeal at both the Court of Appeal and High Court levels.

His drive to fearlessly advance his clients’ best interests while remaining open, approachable and compassionate allows Michael to build and maintain strong rapport with his clients and help guide them through the often difficult and stressful legal process.

Josh Hickey

Josh Hickey

Managing Solicitor

Josh originally joined Paul Vale Criminal Law in 2012 as a law clerk whilst completing his law degree and practical legal training. In 2014 Josh was admitted to practice as a solicitor and remained at the firm, developing a busy summary and indictable crime practice.

Prior to his return to Paul Vale Criminal Law, Josh worked at Victoria Legal Aid for five years. Whilst predominantly undertaking criminal and intervention order matters, he also gained experience in Family Law, Child Protection and general Civil Law matters. Most recently he held the roles of Senior Lawyer and Deputy Managing Lawyer at the Broadmeadows office, where he appeared in court daily.

In 2022 Josh was certified by the Law Institute of Victoria as an Accredited Specialist in Criminal Law.

Josh appears regularly in the Magistrates Court and County Court and has significant experience ranging from driving matters to serious sexual offences. Josh will appear in complex plea hearings, contested bail applications and County Court appeals. Josh will apply a rigorous approach to all facets of your case ensuring you receive high quality legal representation and the best possible outcome.

Nicolas McNamara

Nicolas McNamara


Having completed his Law Degree at Monash University in 2022 Nicolas was admitted to practice in 2023 by the Victorian Supreme Court.

Before being admitted Nicolas previously worked at Paul Vale Criminal Law as a Paralegal and Legal Assistant. During his studies, having always held a passion in assisting others achieve justice, Nicolas spent time volunteering at a range of legal agencies most notably Social Security Rights Victoria and The Northern Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency in the Northern Territory.

Nicolas has gained considerable experience in both a Criminal Law and Intervention Order context. He will appear in plea hearings, contest mentions, bail applications, most other Magistrates’ Court hearings and will instruct in superior court matters.

Nicolas works tirelessly in advocating for his clients to achieve the best possible outcome. He maintains a compassionate and supportive relationship with his clients by always remaining approachable and understanding throughout the duration of the legal process.

John Badgery

John Badgery


Having completed his legal studies in Melbourne John was admitted to practice in 2022 by the Queensland Supreme Court. Before joining Paul Vale Criminal Law in early 2024 John worked for the Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service where he practiced energetically in the Magistrates’ Court at Cairns and across the Cape.

John’s considerable experience with in-court advocacy in a high caseload environment sees matters dealt with competently and efficiently, delivering great results for clients. He appears in plea hearings, summary trials, bail applications, and all other Magistrates’ Court hearings. He is a diligent instructor in County and Supreme Court matters.

John appreciates that the right of the accused to a fair trial is of paramount importance and works industriously to ensure his clients are afforded procedural fairness.

Paul Vale


Paul Vale has been a leading Criminal Law solicitor in Melbourne for more than 40 years. He was an Accredited Criminal Specialist (one of only 125 in Victoria).

Paul possesses vast experience and expertise in all areas of Criminal and Traffic law and regularly conducts Appeals in the Court of Appeals and High Court of Australia. Paul’s wealth of knowledge in case law, legislation and court craft will ensure that meticulous service and advice is provided so that you have the highest probability of obtaining the best result.