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Crown Solicitor’s Office

The Crown Solicitor is responsible for providing high quality legal services to the Government of South Australia. 


The Crown Solicitor’s Office (CSO):

  • provides legal advice to Cabinet, ministers and government agencies
  • represents the Government of South Australia before courts and tribunals
  • drafts legal documents for the government
  • provides conveyancing and other property related services
  • investigates on behalf of government
  • resolves native title claim issues through negotiated agreements.

CSO has a direct role in the delivery of the state’s broader objectives and does not have any other clients.  

Corporate vision

To be the best provider of legal services to government.

Staff

Most CSO lawyers work within the head office at 45 Pirie Street, Adelaide. However, some staff work as outposted lawyers in groups of up to 5, in client agencies in and around the city of Adelaide.

To view current employment opportunities, visit the CSO employment page.

Management  structures

The Crown Executive Group is responsible for setting the strategic direction of CSO. This group is chaired by the Crown Solicitor, Judy Hughes, and comprises the Crown Advocate, assistant crown solicitors from each of the sections and the manager, Business Services.

Heading up each section is an assistant crown solicitor and, within each section, executive solicitors manage groups of lawyers.


Areas of practice

CSO restructure

On 19 October 2015, CSO implemented a new organisational structure. The restructure involved the creation of a number of new legal sections and the abolishment of some of the existing ones.

Previous structure

CSO previously consisted of seven main legal sections:

  • Administrative and Environment
  • Advising
  • Civil Litigation
  • Commercial
  • Crown Counsel
  • Native Title
  • Outposted Lawyers.

New structure

The new structure now consists of the following legal sections:

  • Civil Litigation
  • Commercial, Environment and Native Title
  • Crown Counsel
  • Outposted Lawyers
  • Public Law.

The Business Services section provides financial, information technology, systems, human resources, and business improvement support to the office.

See the downloads section below for the CSO organisational chart, detailed information on each section and client handbook. 


Efficiency and value for money

In addition to demonstrating efficiency, effectiveness and accountability, CSO does not exist to make a profit and so delivers substantial cost savings to government. Government also values the independence of CSO's advice.


Contact the Crown Solicitor’s Office

GPO Box 464, Adelaide SA  5001
Level 9, 45 Pirie Street,
Adelaide, SA  5000

Phone: 8207 1720
Email: CSO-BusinessServices [at] sa.gov.au


Frequently asked questions

What is the Crown Solicitor's Office?

The Crown Solicitor's Office is the Government of South Australia's legal service. The office is sometimes called Crown law or by its acronym 'CSO'. It is part of the Attorney-General's Department and falls within the justice portfolio.

How many staff does the CSO have?

CSO has approximately 185 lawyers and 60 support staff.

What sort of legal work does CSO do?

CSO undertakes a wide range of work across the full spectrum of government operations. For example, its work ranges from constitutional law, native title, employment law, large property, commercial, and infrastructure matters, through to major litigation.

Can a member of the South Australian public get advice from CSO?

No, CSO is not a general public legal advisory service. For general legal enquiries, telephone advice or referral to a solicitor who may be able to assist you contact:

Is CSO the same as a large private law firm?

CSO is similar in many respects to a large private law firm, however there are some differences. CSO only has one client: the Government of South Australia. The government has many agencies and divisions but fundamentally all of the CSO's work is undertaken on behalf of the state government.

Another difference between CSO and a private law firm is that CSO is not required to make a profit. CSO is required to cover its operating costs within a budget, and act in an efficient, effective and accountable manner.

Does CSO have monopoly of government work?

No, but there are limitations on the way that government agencies can engage private law firms to ensure accountability and appropriate expenditure of funds. This is done mainly to appropriately manage the total amount of government expenditure on the provision of legal services. Generally, government agencies use CSO unless they have been exempted by the Crown Solicitor or by Cabinet.

What is the outposted lawyer program?

Approximately forty CSO staff are lawyers outposted to other state government agencies. This means that they operate as Crown Solicitor staff but work within legal units located in client agencies. As outposted lawyers, CSO staff work within an agency for varying periods, typically 1 to 3 years. Depending on the size of the agency, our outposted lawyers may work in workgroups of up to 5 lawyers. Our outposted lawyers work closely with their particular client group so they can gain a good understanding of the client's business needs. Outposted lawyers work with management at a high level in government where their expertise can be utilised.


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