Tied work

Tied work is non-contestable work which, pursuant to the Attorney-General's Legal Services Directions, AGS and other tied providers are required to perform. Tied work includes work associated with the Constitution, Cabinet, national security and public international law and is tied primarily to ensure a consistent approach across the whole of government.

Constitutional law

Exceptional levels of legal expertise and central coordination are required to advise on constitutional issues and to conduct the Australian Government's constitutional litigation. This work touches on core aspects of Australia's system of government, with often enduring implications for the Commonwealth and the nation.

Our team of talented lawyers is uniquely qualified to advise you in this critically important area of law.

We advise on the constitutional issues that arise in the wide range of activities undertaken by the Commonwealth and its agencies, including in the development of all Commonwealth legislation. We routinely advise on the level of constitutional and legislative risk attached to new policy proposals before they are sent to the Government for approval.

AGS is involved in every significant constitutional case in the High Court, working closely with the Solicitor-General and the Attorney-General's Department's (AGD's) Office of Constitutional Law. AGS directly runs most of the Commonwealth's constitutional litigation, and advises the Government on all submissions on constitutional law issues that are put to courts on behalf of Commonwealth agencies, to ensure they are of a high standard and consistent with the Commonwealth's constitutional policy interests.

Cabinet work

AGD and AGS are responsible for providing legal advice which is to be considered by Cabinet or relied on in preparing a Cabinet submission or memorandum, and legal advice on a legislative proposal to be considered for adoption by Government or on draft legislation for introduction into Parliament.

National security

We work closely with AGD and security, intelligence, defence and law enforcement agencies, advising on national security issues and assisting agencies to comply with their legal obligations in their operations and day-to-day activities. We also assist agencies to protect sensitive national security information from inappropriate disclosure. We have a national pool of security-cleared lawyers with experience in advising and assisting agencies on national security legal issues.

Our work includes assisting the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation and the Australian Federal Police with legal aspects of their support for prosecutions.

Public international law

Working in collaboration with AGD's Office of International Law, we regularly advise on the international law aspects of activities undertaken by the Commonwealth, the implications of international treaties, covenants and other agreements, and their application in Australia, how to give effect to treaty obligations through legislation, and all aspects of the operation of international law.

We can assist with the negotiation and drafting of international treaties, agreements and arrangements, and act for the Commonwealth in public international law disputes.

A number of our practitioners have experience working for, or appearing before, various international courts and tribunals. For example, AGS has worked extensively on the international trade law and investment law litigation arising out of the tobacco plain packaging measures in both the WTO and investor–state arbitration proceedings, and has provided assistance in numerous anti-dumping and countervailing duties cases.


McBride, Emily

National Manager Office of General Counsel and Director Canberra office

National Manager Office of General Counsel