Public authorities must seek the advice of the Crown Solicitor before engaging private legal practitioners.
Treasurer's Instruction 10 (Engagement of Legal Practitioners) allows the Crown Solicitor to grant approval to engage private lawyers in appropriate circumstances.
This is usually where CSO does not have capacity to do the work or lacks expertise in a specialist area. Approval will only be given for interstate lawyers if the required expertise is not available in South Australia.
A private firm cannot be engaged without approval from the Crown Solicitor.
In some cases, the CSO outsources work to private legal firms or practitioners listed on a pre-qualification register.
Legal Bulletin 1 (PDF 72KB) explains how this process works in conjunction with Treasurer's Instruction 10.
Nominating for the register
Private legal firms and practitioners can nominate to be included on the pre-qualification register to receive work from the CSO.
Firms and practitioners will need to nominate their areas of expertise.
Current terms of engagement
New terms of engagement (effective 1 February 2021)
Inclusion on the register does not guarantee work from the CSO.
Private solicitors and counsel are generally only allowed to charge public authorities according to a fee structure.
|2019-20 rate||Indexation rate||2020-21 rate|
|Employment (inc W/C)||$349||2.5%||$358|
|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|
Public officials can be reimbursed for the reasonable costs related to private lawyers.
This would only be where they need to obtain a lawyer for legal proceedings, or investigations by the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption (ICAC), in connection to their official duties.
For example, where a public servant is required as a significant witness in a coronial inquest or where a senior public official is required to respond to an ICAC investigation.
It is often not appropriate for the CSO to provide legal representation in these circumstances.
Reimbursement falls under Treasurer's Instruction 14 (Ex-Gratia Payments). It must be approved by the Attorney-General, following advice from the Crown Solicitor.
Legal Bulletin 5 (PDF 168KB) sets out the criteria for reimbursement. It also provides guidance on what the Crown Solicitor considers when advising the Attorney-General.
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)
Phone: 8207 1720
Email: CSO-BusinessServices [at] sa.gov.au
GPO Box 464, Adelaide SA 5001
Level 15, 10 Franklin Street
Adelaide SA 5000