The Attorney-General's Department (AGD) plays an important role in promoting justice, protecting rights and holding people to account according to the law. To foster an efficient and fair justice system, AGD provides support to a number of courts, tribunals, independent bodies and positions.
The Equal Opportunity Tribunal hears and makes decisions about complaints arising from discrimination and harassment that are unlawful.
The Industrial Relations Court of South Australia is constituted under the Fair Work Act 1994 . It was first established by the now repealed Industrial Arbitration Act 1912 and replaced the former Court of Industrial Appeals.
The Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal hears cases of unprofessional or unsatisfactory conduct by legal practitioners.
The Police Disciplinary Tribunal hears charges of misconduct against members of the police force.
The Protective Security Officers Disciplinary Tribunal hears and determines cases of breach of discipline by protective security officers.
The South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT) is a state tribunal that helps people in South Australia to resolve issues within specific areas of law, either through agreement at a conference, conciliation or mediation, or through a decision of the tribunal at hearing.
The South Australian Employment Tribunal (SAET) is the dispute resolution forum for South Australia’s Return to Work scheme. SAET provides timely, fair and independent resolution of workers compensation matters and helps injured workers return to meaningful employment.
The ERD Court is a specialist integrated court with jurisdiction to hear and determine matters, including appeals under legislation addressing development, environmental management and the conservation and management of natural resources.
Information about other South Australian courts can be found on the Courts Administration Authority’s website.
The Courts Administration Authority is constituted by the Courts Administration Act 1993 and is independent of government. The authority is a means for the judiciary to control the provision of the administrative facilities and services required by state courts to carry out their judicial functions.
Forensic Science SA provides independent, objective and expert scientific opinions and evidence to the justice system and community of South Australia, and undertakes a comprehensive range of forensic case work.
The Independent Gambling Authority is the senior regulator for commercial forms of gambling.
The Office of Parliamentary Counsel provides a specialist legislative drafting, information and publication service for the government and Parliament.
The Office of the Public Advocate provides services to promote and protect the rights of people with a reduced mental capacity or a medical illness.
The Guardianship and Administration Act 1993 establishes the Public Advocate to provide advocacy, guardianship, information, investigation, education and dispute resolution services.
The Advance Care Directives Act 2013 and Consent to Medical Treatment and Palliative Care Act 1995 authorise the Public Advocate to assist with dispute resolution in relation to advance care directives and consent to medical treatment.
The Office of the Public Trustee is well known in South Australia for will preparation, estate administration and investment services. It acts as executor and trustee of deceased estates, manager of protected estates, and as litigation guardian where necessary. It also provides taxation and public education services.
The SA Law Reform Institute, based at the Adelaide Law School, is formed by an agreement between the Attorney-General of South Australia, the University of Adelaide and the Law Society of South Australia.
The Commissioner for Consumer and Business Services encompasses the roles of Commissioner for Consumer Affairs, Commissioner for Corporate Affairs, Commissioner for Prices and the Liquor and Gambling Commissioner.
The portfolio includes promoting and protecting consumer and business rights, regulating business, product safety, occupational licensing, gambling regulation, charities, residential tenancies and the recording of significant life events in South Australia through births, deaths and marriages. Under the leadership of the commissioner, Consumer and Business Services ensures that laws affecting consumers, traders and businesses are fairly and effectively administered by performing the following key functions:
- legislative administration and compliance
- registration and licensing services
- dispute resolution.
The Commissioner for Equal Opportunity has statutory powers under the Equal Opportunity Act 1984, which is designed to eliminate unlawful discrimination.
The Equal Opportunity Commission provides information about equal opportunity, education and training on equal opportunity laws, and assesses and resolves complaints.
The Commissioner for Victims’ Rights assists victims dealing with the criminal justice system and government agencies. The commissioner can provide information, advice and support to people who are harmed and their families and friends, to assist in dealing with the physical, emotional and financial impact of crime.
The Director of Public Prosecutions is a statutory officer, independent of AGD, who initiates and conducts criminal prosecutions in the Magistrates, District and Supreme Courts of South Australia.
The Director of Public Prosecutions also initiates and conducts appeals in the Full Court of South Australia and the High Court of Australia. Their objective is to provide the people of South Australia with an independent and effective criminal prosecution service that is timely, efficient and just. This service is essential to the rule of law in our community.
The Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Act 2012 created two offices: the Office for Public Integrity (OPI) and the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption (ICAC). Both offices are responsible to the commissioner for the performance of their functions.
ICAC and OPI are designed to safeguard and enhance confidence in the integrity of public administration in South Australia.
The Legal Profession Conduct Commissioner helps to regulate the standards of South Australia’s legal profession by dealing fairly and efficiently with complaints about lawyers, and investigating any suspected misconduct by lawyers.
The Police Ombudsman is an independent statutory officer who oversees investigations of complaints about members of SAPOL. This includes complaints made by members of the public or referred by the Office for Public Integrity or the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption. Where misconduct is found, the Police Ombudsman makes recommendations of disciplinary measures.
Under the Freedom of Information Act, the Police Ombudsman is responsible for undertaking external reviews requested by people who are dissatisfied with the results of their application to SAPOL.
The Police Ombudsman also audits the records of SAPOL and reports the findings to the Attorney-General, as required by the Telecommunications (Interception) Act 2012, Listening and Surveillance Devices Act 1972 and Criminal Law (Forensic Procedures) Act 2007.
The Ombudsman is an independent officer whose primary role is to ensure that administrative decision-making by state and local government is lawful, fair and reasonable. The Ombudsman has comprehensive power to investigate complaints against state and local government agencies under the Ombudsman Act 1972. In addition, the Ombudsman:
- investigates misconduct and maladministration in public administration on referral by the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption
- reviews agencies’ determinations about the release of information under the Freedom of Information Act 1991
- receives information confidentially from people who wish to disclose improper or illegal action by officers in agencies under the Whistleblowers Protection Act 1993
- investigates alleged breaches of service standards by the Return to Work Corporation, self-insured employers and claims agents under the Return to Work Act 2014, and reviews decisions about providing workers access to their claims files
- provides agencies with support and advice in relation to the application and implementation of the Information Sharing Guidelines.
The Solicitor-General is a statutory officer appointed by the Governor under the Solicitor General Act 1972. The Solicitor-General is the second law officer of the state, after the Attorney-General.
On the instructions of the Attorney-General, the Solicitor-General advises the Attorney-General and the state. The Solicitor-General also appears as counsel on behalf of the state, including on behalf of the Crown Solicitor and Director of Public Prosecutions, in civil proceedings as required.
AGD also supports a number of councils, boards and committees.