Go to top of page

Fees and charges

Crown Solicitor’s fees, charges and rates

The Crown Solicitor's Office (CSO) is responsible to the Attorney-General for providing legal services to the South Australian Government and all South Australian government agencies.

The Crown is a not-for-profit government agency that is partly funded by Treasury appropriation. The balance of our costs is funded by the fees we charge.

2020/21 rates for the Crown Solicitor's Office

    2019-20 rate Indexation rate 2020-21 rate
Legal staff $283 2.5% $290
Conveyancers $174 2.5% $178
Investigators $174 2.5% $178
Law clerks $174 2.5% $178
AHPRA $388 2.5% $398
Crown Advocate $455 2.5% $466
Crown Advocate (per day) $3,642 2.5% $3,733

Engaging private lawyers for legal advice

Treasurer's Instruction 10 (Engagement of Legal Practitioners) requires public authorities to seek the advice of the Crown Solicitor before engaging private legal practitioners. 

This ensures that:

  • the state government receives the most cost-effective legal advice available (CSO is usually substantially more cost-effective than the private sector)
  • crucial whole-of-government and public law issues, in which CSO holds unique knowledge and expertise, are taken into account.

Generally, CSO is appropriately resourced in all areas in which the state government requires legal services.

A private firm cannot be engaged without prior approval from the Crown Solicitor. 

Circumstances where private lawyers may be needed

In appropriate circumstances, the Crown Solicitor does grant approval to engage private lawyers under Treasurer's Instruction 10

This is usually where CSO lacks expertise in a specialist area or does not have capacity to do the work. 

Approval will not be given to use interstate lawyers unless the required expertise is not available in South Australia. 

2020/21 rates for private solicitor and counsel fees 

  2019-20 rate Indexation rate 2020-21 rate
Solicitor rates      
Law clerks $177 2.5% $181
Litigation <$1M $349 2.5% $358
Litigation >$1M $388 2.5% $398
Commercial <$200K $349 2.5% $358
Commercial >$200K $388 2.5% $398
Employment (inc W/C)  $349 2.5% $358
Counsel rates      
Senior counsel (per day)       $3,620 2.5% $3,711
Senior counsel (per hour) $455 2.5% $466
Junior counsel (per day) $2,528 Increase to daily rate to equal 8 x hourly rate  $2,591
Junior counsel (per hour) $316 2.5% $324

Reimbursement of private solicitor fees for public officials

In some cases, public officials may be able to seek reimbursement for the reasonable costs of private legal representation. This would only be where they need to obtain a lawyer for legal proceedings, or investigations by the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption (ICAC), that have arisen in connection to their official duties. 

An example may be where a public servant is required to participate in a significant way as a witness in a coronial inquest, or where a Minister or other senior public official is required to respond to or participate in an ICAC investigation.

It is often not appropriate for the CSO to provide legal representation in these circumstances, and public officials will need to privately engage their own lawyer. 

This type of reimbursement is considered an ex-gratia payment under Treasurer's Instruction 14 (Ex Gratia Payments). It is not an entitlement and must be approved by the Attorney-General, subject to the advice of the Crown Solicitor. 

Legal Bulletin 5 (PDF168KB) sets out the criteria for reimbursement and provides further guidance around the matters the Crown Solicitor will take into account when advising the Attorney-General about requests for reimbursement. 

Applying for reimbursement
Legal Bulletin 5 includes further information on the process for applying for reimbursement. 

Prior to engaging a private lawyer, a public official must first seek advice from the CSO to the effect that legal representation is reasonably required in the circumstances, and that the Crown Solicitor will not represent them in the relevant proceedings or investigation. 

A public official can seek this advice by emailing CSO-BusinessServices [at] sa.gov.au (subject: Legal%20Bulletin%205)

Referring to Legal Bulletin 5 in the subject of the email will ensure it is directed to the right person within the CSO to maintain confidentiality.

Claims will in general be determined only once the legal proceedings or investigation have concluded and no adverse findings have been made against the public official. 

Claimants should submit their claim for the Crown Solicitor's consideration to: CSO-BusinessServices [at] sa.gov.au (subject: Legal%20Bulletin%205)