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Government lawyers face new scrutiny

Government lawyers face new scrutiny

Queensland's top judge has urged the state's government lawyers to maintain a professional obligation to efficiency and expertise in the face of a changing and increasingly complex area of practice.

QUEENSLAND'S top judge has urged the state’s government lawyers to maintain a professional obligation to efficiency and expertise in the face of a changing and increasingly complex area of practice. 

The Hon Paul de Jersey, Chief Justice of Queensland, spoke yesterday about the high standards expected of government lawyers, despite the idiosyncratically difficult area in which they work. 

De Jersey said expectations on government lawyers have increased with the increasing sophistication and intricacy of government legal work in recent decades. 

The law relating to government contracts, constitutional law, administrative law “which continually engages governments”, and laws around freedom of information are among those fraught with difficulties and challenges, the Chief Justice said. 

De Jersey said the complex landscape confronting government lawyers was at least in part due to the fact that much of their advice relates to a huge economy, “and issues of broad ramification, beyond the interests of A and B”. 

“The current economic climate will no doubt add to that complexity,” de Jersey said, “where for example the injection of taxpayer funds into public corporations necessitates a variety of safeguards to ensure the assistance does not amount simply to a gift.”

The judge was speaking at the Queensland Law Society Government Lawyers conference in Brisbane yesterday. 

See Chief Justice de Jersey’s full speech here.


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