Australian Government Solicitor


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Employment and industrial relations law  

‘As a client using AGS over an extended period with significant employee issues, the service was cost effective, accurate, prompt and tailored. Contrracting arrangements, invoicing and payment processing from the client end was straight forward and did not require significant resources.’

‘AGS has demonstrated a thorough understanding of the department’s activities and the broader Australian Government context.’ – CLIENT REFERENCE 2012

  Podcasts Arrow

Stuart RobertsonWHS concerns for construction projects – Stuart Robertson, Senior Lawyer at AGS.


Paul BarkerEmployer obligations for worker fatigue from 1 January  Paul Barker, Senior Executive Lawyer at AGS. + transcript


Stuart RobertsonNew OHS risks in procurement if WHS laws passed – Stuart Robertson, Senior Lawyer at AGS. + transcript


Bianca WellingtonNew occupational health and safety duties for Commonwealth officers coming soon – Bianca Wellington, Counsel at AGS.+ transcript


‘I consider AGS to provide the highest quality and best value legal service to the Department.’ – CLIENT REFERENCE 2012

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Legal briefing 92 Dealing with unsatisfactory performance in the Australian Public Service (2 December 2009)


Legal briefing 91 The Fair Work Act 2009: A primer. (8 October 2009)


Fact sheet 19 Work Health & Safety – HR Managers (October 2012)


Fact sheet 17 Work Health & Safety – Officer's duty (November 2011)


‘I have found the lawyers at the AGS to be excellent practitioners who are knowledgeable about their areas of expertise, focussed on the needs and interests of their clients, insightful, easy to work with and flexible in how a client would like to work with the AGS.’ – CLIENT REFERENCE 2012

New Work Health and Safety Act implications

Behind the Qantas dispute

Employment and industrial relations law

AGS's employment practice comprises 22 lawyers from our 3 practice groups. Our national employment and industrial law team consists of employment law specialists across Australia.

We appear for clients in a wide range of courts and tribunals including the Federal Court and Federal Circuit Court, the Fair Work Commission, and the Australian Human Rights Commission.

Many of AGS’s competitors specialise in private sector employment law and the courts and commissions most often used in that context. However, AGS's employment litigators specialise in public sector employment law litigation, with AGS having acted in most of the seminal cases in this field.

AGS’s knowledge of the relevant public sector cases and law is intimate and most often based on our own lawyers’ direct experience. With their expert knowledge of the public sector, and with exceptional proficiency in the relevant federal courts, commissions and tribunals, AGS lawyers are able to readily assess the most efficient method of conducting litigation to ensure that each matter is conducted economically, whilst the Commonwealth’s interests remain protected at all times. AGS employment litigators are experts in ADR, implementing ADR to resolve the vast majority of the employment law litigation in which AGS acts very early in the dispute.

AGS’s lawyers have specialist expertise in the factors which are unique to advising on employment in the public sector and in unusual cases, eg involving statutory office holders. Specialising in public sector employment law requires each lawyer to expertly advise on administrative law requirements in government decision-making, noting that the decisions that are subject to challenge by employees are almost without exception made under either legislation or under an instrument made under legislation.

AGS lawyers are not just experts in the fundamental applicable legislation (Public Service Act 1999 and Fair Work Act 2009), but also in specific legislation affecting individual agencies which do not employ under the Public Service Act 1999. In addition, AGS understands the broader suite of legislation affecting the Commonwealth family and how each unique set of legislation applying to an agency impacts resolving employment disputes.

This specialist expertise means that AGS public sector employment lawyers can confidently handle, not just unfair dismissal, adverse action, discrimination, contract, negligence, defamation and negligent misstatement disputes, but also disputes unique to the public sector, including wrongful dismissal claims based on breach of statutory requirements and claims of misfeasance in public office.

We also have unparalleled access to other Commonwealth specialists in the broader AGS team in areas which regularly cut across employment disputes, including in the areas of workers’ compensation, superannuation, information access, law enforcement, constitutional law, civil penalties, national security, international law (affecting some discrimination claims) and tax.

AGS can confidently and efficiently advise on resolving any dispute affecting a public sector employer.

  Richard Harding Fiona Dempsey Catherine Mann
  Richard Harding
Special Counsel Dispute Resolution
T 02 9581 7671
Fiona Dempsey
A/g Senior Executive Lawyer
T 07 3360 5737
Catherine Mann
Senior Lawyer
T 02 6253 7402
  Thena Kyprianou    
  Kim Bennett
Special Counsel Dispute Resolution
T 02 6253 7404

  Craig Rawson Senior Executive Lawyer 03 9242 1248
  Virginia Masters Senior Executive Lawyer 03 9242 1201
  Rodger Prince Senior Executive Lawyer 08 8205 4231
  Paul Barker Senior Executive Lawyer 03 9242 1257
  Susan Akhurst Counsel 02 6253 7472
  Paul Vermeesch Deputy Chief Solicitor Dispute Resolution 02 6253 7428