Ethos Summer 2019

Page 30


The evolution of a trusted advisor The ACT Government Solicitor (ACTGS) hosted the Government Law Committee’s Winter Drinks on 12 September 2019. The guest speaker was the ACT’s first Solicitor-General, and longest serving Crown Solicitor, Peter Garrisson AM SC. He provided an overview of the ACTGS’ 30-year journey meeting the changing demands of an increasingly complex Territory.

Government, lawyers and trust Today we are celebrating the role that government lawyers have in the provision of legal services. It is fitting that the ACT Government Solicitor (ACTGS) hold such an event in 2019, given it is our 30th year of supporting the Territory government. Until self-government, legal services for the ACT Administration were provided by the Deputy Crown Solicitor within the Australian Government Solicitor’s Office. Following commencement of self-government, the ACTGS was established by the Government


Solicitor Act 1989. Michael Peedom AO, the Deputy Crown Solicitor, became the first Chief Solicitor.

starters and those who joined the office in its early years — lawyers such as John Henry, Derek Kettle, Russell Bayliss, and Sky Sim.

Many of you may remember Michael as the President of the former ACT Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

Today ACTGS comprises around 120 people, and approximately 80 of these are government lawyers. Our mission — to protect the interests of the Territory — has remained the same.

Very few staff of the Australian Government Solicitor ventured to the Territory frontier at that time, with most of the then 25 staff either coming from the former Territories Branch of the ACT Administration Department, or being recruited very quickly. We have been fortunate to have retained the expertise and corporate memory of many of those early

Our people and the culture of the organisation are the keys to holding the capability necessary to address the full spectrum of government legal services required by the Territory. This spectrum spans state and municipal government functions and their attendant issues.

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