Australian Government Solicitor


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Torts and defamation law  

Torts and defamation law

AGS advises Commonwealth agencies on causes of action under statute as well as the general law covering torts. Our lawyers deal with tort claims arising in common law, from personal injury litigation, negligent advice and misrepresentation, and defamation to false imprisonment, misfeasance and general negligence. Our tort practice comprises some 50 lawyers nationally.

Examples of our work include:

  • helping agencies deal with claims in tort arising from difficulties and changes in the administration of government programs, such as the Home Insulation and Green Loans program
  • advising on claims arising from alleged negligent misrepresentation – for example, claims against the Commonwealth by former and current public servants
  • advising on negligence including in the context of personal injury and wrongful detention – for example, managing claims for the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) and Comcover arising in the context of immigration detention, including in offshore processing centres, including managing contribution claims against third-party contractors, where the Commonwealth may be exposed to liability
  • assisting agencies, including Comcover, on claims for misfeasance in public office against both ministers and Commonwealth officers, having regard to the particular issues arising in the context of Appendix E to the Legal Services Directions, and the Parliamentary Entitlements Regulations 1997 (Cth)
  • assisting agencies with claims in negligence involving national security considerations, or regulatory functions
  • advising agencies with law enforcement functions in relation to potential or actual tort claims in the context of their functions
  • assisting agencies where claims are made alleging interferences with reputation
  • advising on legal risk and management of potential liability in tort, including the impact of legislation and operation of indemnities (contractual and statutory) on potential and actual tort-based claims
  • advising on legal risk and management of Commonwealth potential liability in tort, in the broader context of potential liability of state and local government
  • assisting ministers and agencies with remedial strategies for statements that have been the subject of complaint and threats of proceedings by others.

We have been able to produce outcomes that have avoided protracted litigation or indeed any litigation at all.

  Marianne Peterswald Senior Executive Lawyer 02 6253 7260
  Louise Rafferty Senior Executive Lawyer 02 6253 7005
  Damian Page Deputy General Counsel 02 6253 7053
  Leo Hardiman Deputy General Counsel 02 6253 7074
  Guy Aitken QC Chief General Counsel 02 6253 7084
  Christopher Behrens Senior Executive Lawyer 02 6253 7543
  Thy Huynh Senior Executive Lawyer 02 6253 7420
  Zita Rowling Senior Executive Lawyer 02 6253 7426
  Paul Vermeesch Special Counsel Dispute Resolution 02 6253 7428
  Kim Bennett Special Counsel Dispute Resolution 02 6253 7404