AGS differs significantly from private sector law firms in that it operates within a unique legislative and accountability framework. We are accountable for our performance to the Attorney-General to the Parliament and the Australian community.
AGS’s legislative framework has 3 main elements:
- The Judiciary Act 1903
- The Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act)
- The Judiciary Amendment Bill 2015
Our role and purpose
- To support the Attorney-General in the role of First Law Officer of the Commonwealth by:
- providing high-quality legal services to the Government, Cabinet and Commonwealth agencies
- ensuring that we maintain:
- the ability, through our focus on government, to meet the general legal service needs of agencies at competitive prices
- a whole-of-government approach
- the corporate memory of Commonwealth legal practice and advice given by AGS on the Constitution and the law applicable to the Commonwealth and its agencies
- the ability to meet the unique legal services needs of the Commonwealth in providing legal services to government, including in the areas of work reserved for government providers.
- To succeed as a competitive legal services provider in a contestable market by:
- providing excellent client-focused service
- maintaining and promoting our respected brand and unique identity
- being better informed and more dependable than our competitors
- providing value for money legal services.
The Australian Government Solicitor is Michael Kingston. The AGS Management Committee is an internal governance committees that advises and assists the AGS in managing AGS. See our organisation chart.
AGS and client funds
Like most legal practices, AGS handles client and third party funds (trust monies) on a daily basis. AGS has strict controls in place in relation to its handling of client and third party funds. These include controls relating to the receipt, holding and payment of trust monies and which provide for the complete separation of trust monies from AGS’s own monies.
AGS does not pay interest to clients on monies held in bank accounts on behalf of clients or third parties unless exceptional circumstances apply (for example a court order that requires the payment of interest), or the amount is significant and AGS has agreed to pay interest. AGS does not charge clients for handling trust monies or seek reimbursement for bank fees incurred in relation to trust monies. Any interest earned by AGS on trust monies is retained by AGS and later returned to the Commonwealth in the form of dividends or competitive neutrality payments.