Crown Solicitor’s Office: Legal support review dispute update - Public Service Association

Crown Solicitor’s Office: Legal support review dispute update

The PSA attended the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) on 19 December 2022 for a report back to Commissioner O’Sullivan regarding the current consultation dispute proceedings.

The PSA filed a dispute notification with the IRC due to the failure of the Crown Solicitor’s Office (CSO) to consult with the PSA and therefore breached Clause 65 of the Crown Employees (Public Service Conditions of Employment) Reviewed Award 2009 (‘the Award’) in respect of the major organisational changes and restructuring of the CSO arising from the Legal Support Review.

We informed Commissioner O’Sullivan that the parties have exchanged correspondence and appear to be making some progress. The PSA proposed that, in view of the impending Christmas closedown, the parties should meet informally in the New Year for consultation meetings. We requested a further IRC listing for report back at the end of January 2023 or early February 2023.

The CSO requested clarification as to the subject matter of the consultation and also updated the Commissioner that the CSO had advertised an expression of interest for the role of Assistant Crown Solicitor – Commercial Strategy with a closing date on 29 January 2023. The CSO maintain that proceeding with recruitment action whilst the current dispute notification is on foot, is not a breach of Clause 9.11 of the Award (the ‘status quo’ provision).

The PSA advised Commissioner O’Sullivan that the CSO correspondence indicated the creation of new roles in the restructure (a Business Development role to support the ACS, Commercial Strategy, and a Special Counsel role) were matters which the PSA and our members should be provided with further information by way of proper consultation. Further that although the stated aim of the multi-year Legal Support Review was to ‘better understand the challenges faced by legal support staff in their roles, what works well, and to hear ways that the CSO could help enhance support for legal practice groups’, that the PSA had not been given detail as to recommendations made and that we would like to have more details in relation to those matters.

Disappointingly, the CSO contended that it is not required to consult in respect of the creation of new roles. The PSA reiterated member concerns regarding the trickle-down effect upon legal support and solicitors arising from the creation of new Executive/Management level roles.

Next steps

The PSA has now written to the CSO requesting further information and a meeting timetable in order for genuine consultation to proceed.

The matter has been listed for further Report Back before Commissioner O’Sullivan on Monday 30 January 2023.

Should any members wish to provide feedback or concerns in respect of the restructure please contact your PSA Industrial Officer or delegates as below.


Your PSA Industrial Officer

Dean Allen

Your PSA Delegates

Louise Coory
Sophie Roden

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