Crown Solicitor's Office

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Long-serving NSW Crown Solicitor retires 

 

(Above) Ian Knight, Crown Solicitor receiving an award from the Secretary, Department of Justice, in acknowledgement of 20 years as the Crown Solicitor.

 

Ian Knight retired as Crown Solicitor on 20 February 2015 after 20 years as Crown Solicitor for New South Wales, serving under 13 Premiers and 15 Attorneys General.

He joined the Crown Solicitor's Office (CSO) as a legal clerk in 1970 and has spent all but three years of a 45 year career advancing from its most junior legal role to its most senior.

Knight grew up in Merrylands and attended Hurlstone Agricultural High School. He studied Arts-Law at the University of Sydney and, whilst studying, worked at the CSO as an articled clerk.

 

By 1981 Knight was appointed Assistant Crown Solicitor, Advising and Constitutional Law. Ten years later he accepted the post of Ombudsman in the Northern Territory and delegate of the Commonwealth Ombudsman. Knight was appointed to succeed Hugh King Roberts in 1994, returning from Darwin to take up the role.

He played a key role in commercialising the CSO and in 1996 initiated a major restructure of the Office introducing nine specialist practice teams which replaced the four branches that had operated since the 1940s.

Knight’s role was of national significance, ranging from helping to secure compensation for asbestos victims to great struggles over the foreign affairs and industrial relations powers, the constitutional settlement between the Commonwealth and States concerning Australia’s off shore areas and the severing of residual constitutional links with the United Kingdom under the Australia Acts of 1986.

In addition, he served as a member of the NSW Legal Aid Review Committee, the State’s Officer to the Special Committee of Solicitors General and a member of the Australian Delegation to the UN law of the Sea Conference.

Recent years have thrown up ceaseless challenges, ranging from the pressures of untied legal work relating to ICAC, Royal Commissions, inquests and coronial inquiries, freedom of information, privacy, legislation relating to criminal organisations and offenders and the powers of the NSW Parliament in relation to the Government.

Throughout this time Knight has displayed great concern for the health of his staff.  He has sought to offer flexible family friendly work arrangements and a better work-life balance.  

His leadership helped define the current CSO and he will be ever appreciated and missed by those who have worked with him.

 

The Crown Solicitor for NSW, Ian Knight, hosted the annual conference of Australasian Crown Law Officers in Sydney on November 13 and 14, 2014. The hosting of this conference rotates among the jurisdictions and the next conference will be hosted by Queensland in 2015.

At each conference Crown Law Officers report on significant legal and non-legal developments affecting their offices in the past year and discuss particular topics of interest to all jurisdictions.

NSW Crown Solicitor, Ian Knight, gave a presentation on developments in NSW in relation to the Crown as Model Litigant.

Particular topics for discussion this year included organisational structures for delivering legal services, project management approaches to legal work, development of lawyers from entry until selection of a speciality and models for the establishment and maintenance of client relations.

NSW Assistant Crown Solicitor, Richard Kelly, gave a presentation on the experience of the NSW Crown Solicitor’s Office with electronic tender panel management systems and NSW Special Counsel, Paolo Buchberger, gave an update on constitutional cases heard or to be heard by the High Court.

Australasian Crown Law offices are not all structured in the same way and do not all have the same commercial or competitive operating model. The annual conference which has been held over many years is a valuable source of information and support for Crown Law Officers in dealing with issues which confront them providing legal services in a public sector context.

 

Ian Knight celebrates 20 years as NSW Crown Solicitor

Ian Knight celebrated 20 years as the NSW Crown Solicitor on 14 November 2014. Attendees of the Australasian Crown Solicitors' Conference joined CSO staff in celebrating Ian's milestone anniversary.

Photo of Ian Knight at his 20th anniversary as Crown Solicitor 

Ian Knight celebrated 20 years as the NSW Crown Solicitor on 14 Nov 2014

Deputy Crown Solicitor, Peter Anet retires

The NSW Crown Solicitor, Mr Ian V Knight, joined with staff of the Crown Solicitor’s Office (CSO) on 4 November to farewell long-serving Deputy Crown Solicitor Peter Anet.

Peter retired on 7 November after an impressive career with the CSO.

Starting as a solicitor in the then Conveyancing Branch of the CSO in 1980, Peter has been Deputy Crown Solicitor since 1996 and has lead the Constitutional and Native Title practice group.

“He is exceptional, he is a one off”, said Crown Solicitor Ian Knight. “At the same time he is a mentor to others around. Peter is always available to listen to an argument, to tease it out, test it and put forward any contrary proposition."

 “I am going to miss him as a professional colleague and as a friend. Not only does he provide intellectual firepower for the legal work of my office, he serves on our Executive Committee which formulates policy.

“He has bought nothing but glory on the CSO and the State of NSW.”

 

Department of Police and Justice renamed from 1 July 2014

The Department of Police and Justice has been renamed the Department of Justice.

The CSO remains an Executive Agency related to the renamed Department of Justice.

Department of Attorney General and Justice renamed from 23 April 2014

The Attorney General and Justice Cluster has been renamed the Police and Justice Cluster, with the Minister for Police and Emergency Services as the senior co-ordinating Minister. The Department of Attorney General and Justice has been renamed the Department of Police and Justice.

The CSO remains an Executive Agency related to the renamed Department of Police and Justice.

The Crown Solicitor as agency head for the CSO remains responsible to the Attorney General.

NSW Crown Solicitor's Office becomes an Executive Agency from 24 February 2014

I advise that as from 24 February 2014 the Crown Solicitor's Office (CSO) will be a Public Service Executive Agency related to the Department of Attorney General and Justice with the Crown Solicitor as Head of the agency under Schedule 1 of the Government Sector Employment Act 2013.

As a result, the CSO will cease to be part of the Department of Attorney General and Justice on 24 February 2014 but will remain within the Justice Cluster.

From that date you should continue to retain me as your solicitor and contact the CSO in the same manner as you do now.

This will be an exciting new chapter in the history of the CSO and our staff are examining the things the CSO can do as an Executive Agency to improve even further the standard of the legal services delivered by the Crown Solicitor to you.

The CSO will keep you informed of developments as we review how we will do business as an Executive Agency.

I invite you to make any suggestions you might now have as to how we should do business as an Executive Agency so as to benefit our clients.

Such suggestions will also be welcome as we progress the transition of the CSO to an Executive Agency.

Ian V Knight   

Crown Solicitor

 

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