About the Crown Solicitor's Office

The Attorney-General's Department

About the Crown Solicitor's Office

The Crown Solicitor is responsible for the provision of high quality legal services to the Government of South Australia. The Crown Solicitor’s Office:

  • 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.

The Crown Solicitor’s Office is located in Adelaide, with some solicitors out-posted to other agencies and authorities within the metropolitan area.

Primary role

To provide legal services and advice to SA Government and to have a direct role in delivery of SA Government's broader objectives. The Crown Solicitor's Office acts for SA Government only and does not have any private or other clients.

Corporate vision

To be the best provider of legal services to government.

Staff

There's approximately 250 staff working in the CSO, comprising 190 lawyers and 60 support staff.

Most CSO lawyers work within Head Office, 45 Pirie Street, however there are some that work as outposted lawyers, located in groups of up to five, in client agencies in and around the city of Adelaide.

Management structures

The Crown Executive Group is responsible for setting the strategic direction of the CSO. This Group is chaired by the Crown Solicitor, Michael Evans QC, and comprises of 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 or the Deputy Crown Solicitor and, within each section, Executive Solicitors manage groups of lawyers.

Areas of practice

CSO Restructure

On 19 October 2015, the 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. The CSO previously consisted of seven main legal sections:

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

The new structure now consists of the following legal sections:

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

The organisational chart is available here: CSO organisational chart 

The work of each section is described in more detail here (PDF 2.20MB). The Business Services Section provides financial, information technology, systems, human resources, and business improvement support to the office. More information about the Crown Solicitor's Office can be found in the Crown Solicitor's Office client handbook (PDF 816KB).

Efficiency and value for money

In addition to demonstrating efficiency, effectiveness and accountability, the 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.

Common questions

What is the Crown Solicitor's Office?

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

How many staff does the CSO have?

The CSO has approximately 190 lawyers and 60 support staff.

What sort of legal work does the CSO do?

The CSO undertakes a wide range of work across the full spectrum of government operations. For example, it's 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 the CSO?

No, the 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 the CSO the same as a large private law firm?

The CSO is similar in many respects to a large private law firm. There are however some differences. The CSO only has one client, that is 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 SA Government. Another difference between the CSO and a private law firm is that the CSO is not required to make a profit. The CSO is required to cover its operating costs within a budget, and act in an efficient, effective and accountable manner.

Does the CSO have monopoly of government work?

No, but there are limitations on the way which government agencies are able to 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 the 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 one to three years. Depending on the size of the agency, our outposted lawyers may work in workgroups of up to five lawyers. Our outposted lawyers work closely with their particular client group so they are able to gain a good understanding of the clients business needs. Outposted lawyers work with management at a high level in government where their expertise can be utilised.

Last updated: 
Wednesday, 15 February 2017
Printer-friendly versionSend by email
Law Handbook online button
Law Handbook online button
Button for Find a Justice of the Peace
Button for Find a Justice of the Peace