The ACT Government Solicitor (ACTGS) provides legal services, including advice and representation to the ACT, its government agencies, ministers and office holders.
The ACTGS cannot provide legal services to the general public. The persons to whom the ACTGS can provide legal assistance are set out in Section 26 of the Law Officers Act 2011.
The Government Solicitor for the Australian Capital Territory is a body corporate established under the Law Officers Act 2011. That Act establishes the Government Solicitor and provides that the Solicitor-General may act personally in the name of the Government Solicitor for the ACT. The Solicitor-General may also authorise other appropriately qualified solicitors to act in the name of the Government Solicitor. The Solicitor-General for the ACT, appointed under Law Officers Act 2011, also performs the functions of the Chief Solicitor.
The ACT Government's policy is that its legal services are centralised through the ACTGS. Pursuant to the Law Officers (General) Legal Services Directions 2012 all legal services for ACT government agencies are to be provided by the ACTGS. Any outsourcing of legal services may only be undertaken by an agency in consultation with the ACTGS and with the agreement of the Solicitor-General. There were a number of reasons for this policy, including consistency and quality of advice on a whole of government basis, avoidance of the duplication of advice, cost and value for money, and ensuring that the interests of the Territory as a whole are protected.
The requirement for outsourcing of legal services will generally arise in one of three circumstances. First, if specialist advice is required in relation to a technical area of law in which the ACTGS does not have the relevant expertise. Secondly, if the particular matter is beyond the resources of the ACTGS and thirdly, in the event of a perceived conflict of interest on the part of the ACTGS, which is rare and generally only arises in relation to the representation of separate statutory authorities and office holders. Outsourcing is required so infrequently that the relevant procurement thresholds are rarely reached and thus not justifying the expense and effort in undertaking a procurement process to establish a panel. Accordingly the outsourcing occurs on a "one-off" basis in consultation with the relevant agency.
A small number of statutory authorities and corporations that are required to operate commercially are permitted to outsource legal services for commercial legal issues.
The ACTGS is an agency within the Justice and Community Safety Directorate.
If you are not an officer of an ACT Government agency and require legal assistance, you will need to contact a private solicitor. A public law body such as Legal Aid ACT or the ACT Law Society may also be able to direct you.
If you want a career in the legal profession that provides the diversity, flexibility and challenges that are most rewarding, contact us or visit the ACT Government jobs website for latest vacancies.