Our expertise

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Community Law 

The Community Law Practice Group specialises in a wide range of areas of law and is part of the Civil Law Division. We offer the services of solicitor advocates, providing our clients with a cost effective advocacy service.  

For details regarding specific areas of law relating to government, see the Directory of Services.

What we can do for you

Our lawyers have extensive experience in conducting highly sensitive and complex matters for the State, providing practical and responsive legal advice and representation.  The matters handled by our practice group include:

Charitable Trusts

We provide advice and representation to agencies in matters concerning the general law relating to charitable trusts, the Charitable Trusts Act 1993, the Dormant Funds Act 1942 and the Charitable Fundraising Act 1991.  Our lawyers advise on whether the Attorney General should exercise his powers in relation to charitable trusts to order cy pres or administrative schemes and whether authorisation should be given for the commencement of charitable trust proceedings in the Supreme Court.  We represent the Attorney in Supreme Court proceedings in relation to alleged breaches of charitable trust and the construction of charitable gifts.

Discrimination

We defend complaints of non-employment-related discrimination made under State and federal law.  Our lawyers represent agencies in preparing responses to complaints and at conciliation and mediation, focusing on achieving an early resolution of complaints wherever possible, with a high rate of success.  We provide advice on anti-discrimination legislation, including on issues such as the interaction between those laws and an agency's governing legislation; whether a breach of anti-discrimination legislation has occurred or may occur upon implementation of a proposed policy; and the applicability of exemptions under the legislation to actions of various agencies.  We also represent agencies in the NCAT, in court proceedings and on appeal.

Public interest immunity

Our lawyers regularly provide advice and representation in claims of public interest immunity, for agencies all across the NSW Government.  We provide representation in all State and federal courts and tribunals and in interstate courts, appearing in criminal and civil proceedings of all types, to object to subpoenas and the giving of evidence.  Claims are brought to protect a broad range of highly sensitive and confidential government information, the disclosure of which would prejudice the proper functioning of government;  from Cabinet documents and high level governmental communications, to information vitally important to law enforcement, such as the use of informers, details of ongoing investigations and confidential investigative methodology.  Our lawyers also advise and represent agencies in responding to a wide range of compulsory processes outside court proceedings, such as statutory notices to produce. 

Guardianship

We advise and represent the Public Guardian, the NSW Trustee and Guardian, local health districts and other agencies in relation to matters concerning people under guardianship or requiring a guardian or who otherwise need to have their interests protected, for example, where the Guardianship Act 1987, the NSW Trustee and Guardianship Act 2009, the Mental Health Act 2007 and the Supreme Court's parens patriae jurisdiction apply.

Relator actions

While unusual, these matters involve a grant by the Attorney General of his fiat, where a person wishes to bring proceedings, but does not have the standing to do so.  The Attorney General may allow the person to bring the proceedings in his name if the matter involves issues which are in the public interest to be litigated.  We advise the Attorney General as to whether the Attorney's fiat is required and what is needed to obtain it.

We also run educational seminars for clients and conduct client training.

Contact

Clients requiring additional information on the work of our Practice Group should contact the Director, Anthea Tomlin on (02) 9224 5260. Clients who would like a copy of the Community Law Practice Group profile which details solicitors' background and experience and support staff contact details, should email csomarketing@cso.nsw.gov.au