Asset Confiscation Act applications

We provide legal advice and litigation support for the Asset Confiscation Office (ACO) in a variety of matters, including applications for the forfeiture of property to the State, registration of the Attorney-General's interest in forfeited land, enforcement of pecuniary penalty orders, and applications for property management warrants.

Our expert
Rodney McInnes

Attorney-General - intervening in cases

We provide advice to the Attorney-General on whether it may be appropriate, and in the public interest, for the Attorney to intervene in a particular proceeding, and we act for the Attorney in matters where a decision is made to intervene.

Our expert
David Ryan

Charitable Trusts

We provide advice to the Attorney-General on his obligations in relation to charitable trusts, and act on the Attorney-General's behalf in a wide range of matters, including proceedings relating to the validity, administration and enforcement of charitable trusts, and the approval of cy pres schemes under section 4 of the Charities Act 1978 (Vic).

Our experts
Stephen Lee
Rodney McInnes

Commercial litigation

We provide advice to various state bodies and act for the State of Victoria in complex commercial litigation in the Supreme Court of Victoria and on appeal, including privatisation matters and contractual disputes.

Our expert
Antonio Mazzone
 

Contempt of Court

Contempt of court is constituted by words or actions which interfere with the proper administration of justice, or which constitute a disregard for the authority of the court. Our Office, together with the Office of Public Prosecutions, prosecutes contempt of court on the instructions of the Attorney-General and by direction of the Supreme and County Courts. We have extensive experience in navigating the procedures for contempt proceedings.

Our experts
Stephen Lee
Alison O'Brien
David Ryan
Dianna Gleeson
Sally Robertson
Antonio Mazzone

Crimes (Mental Impairment and Unfitness to be Tried) Act 1997 Cases

The Crimes (Mental Impairment and Unfitness to be Tried) Act 1997 (Vic) allows supervision orders (both custodial and non-custodial) to be made in relation to persons who are found to be unfit to stand trial, or not guilty of a crime, by reason of mental impairment. We provide advice to the Attorney-General on applications to review, vary or revoke supervision orders made under the Act. In such matters, the Attorney-General is concerned to minimise the risk that the person subject to the supervision order poses to him/herself and to the community.

Our experts
Belinda Trevean
David Ryan
Dianna Gleeson
Sally Robertson
Stephen Lee

Defamation

A communication about a particular person is defamatory to that person if it is likely to cause ordinary, reasonable persons to think less of them. There are a number of common law and statutory defences to defamation, including justification, fair comment, honest opinion, privilege or triviality. VGSO provides advice to Ministers and public servants who may have been defamed, or who have had defamation claims brought against them.

Our experts
Dianna Gleeson
David Ryan
Stephen Lee
Jonathan Bayly
Anna English

Detinue - Police seizures

In certain circumstances, the police have powers both at common law and under various statutes to seize goods. We act on behalf of the State of Victoria or individual police members in relation to civil claims in detinue brought by alleged owners of goods who allege the wrongful detention of those goods by Victoria Police.  

Our experts
Stephen Lee
David Ryan
 

Detinue - Sheriff's seizures

The Sheriff of the Supreme Court of Victoria has powers to seize goods in certain circumstances under the warrant of seizure and sale. We act for the Sheriff in defending civil claims brought against him alleging illegal seizures, or the improper detention of goods seized, or challenges to Sheriff's sales.

Our experts
Rodney McInnes
Stephen Lee
 

Injunctions

An injunction may be sought when an order for damages may be insufficient to do justice in a proceeding. We provide advice to state bodies seeking an injunction to compel or restrain a person from taking a certain course of action, or to maintain the status quo in advance of a court proceeding.


Our experts
Stephen Lee
Antonio Mazzone
Dianna Gleeson
David Ryan
 

Inquests

VGSO has extensive experience in protecting the State’s interest in inquests, including police pursuits, deaths in custody, and police shootings. We also assist the State Coroner in conducting high profile public inquests. The knowledge gained from assisting the State Coroner allows a unique perspective that is unavailable in private practice.

Our experts
Belinda Trevean
David Ryan
Gabrielle McManus
Sally Graham
Stephen Lee
Antonio Mazzone

 

Interpleader proceedings for Sheriff

We act on behalf of the Sheriff to commence interpleader proceedings when he has one or more competing claims for property seized by him under a warrant of seizure and sale directing him to seize property belonging to a judgment debtor. The court then determines who has better title to the goods seized in the interpleader proceedings.

Our experts
Monika Pekevska
Rodney McInnes
Stephen Lee

Judicial Review under Order 56 of the Supreme Court Rules

VGSO often acts in judicial review proceedings under Order 56 of the Supreme Court Rules. We act for courts or tribunals whose decisions are reviewed; for the police in defending judicial review proceedings commenced by a person convicted of criminal charges in the Magistrates Court; and for Ministers and other departmental officers where plaintiffs seek judicial review of their decisions.

Our experts
Stephen Lee
David Ryan
Antonio Mazzone

Letters of request - obtaining evidence for a foreign tribunal pursuant to Order 81

The Evidence Act 1958 confers authority upon the Supreme Court of Victoria to obtain evidence from a witness in its jurisdiction in relation to any civil or commercial matters pending before a foreign tribunal. Order 81 of the Supreme Court (General Civil Procedure) Rules 2005 provides that, with the consent of the Attorney-General, we may apply for an order for the examination of a witness. We provide advice to the Attorney-General regarding the application and, if consent is given by the Attorney, we commence proceedings for the examination.

Our experts
Stephen Lee
David Ryan

Personal Injuries — claims by prisoners

We act for the State in relation to personal injuries claims brought by prisoners in government operated prisons. Personal injuries claims by prisoners are a subset of general personal injury litigation, and are typically subject to the same principles. The most common forms of claims brought by prisoners are those for personal injuries caused by slipping, workshop injuries and  assaults.

Our experts
Stephen Lee
Antonio Mazzone
Belinda Trevean
Rodney McInnes

Personal Injuries — claims by wards of State

We provide advice to and act on behalf of the Department of Human Services in ward of State claims. These claims are typically brought by former wards of State who allege that they suffered physical and/or sexual abuse during their wardship, leading to long-term psychological harm. The State's vicarious liability is alleged to arise either because the abuse was perpetrated by a State employee, or it was perpetrated by a non-State employee in circumstances where the State was or should have been aware of it.

Our experts
Stephen Lee
Belinda Trevean
Dave Ryan
Paula Cumbo
Leah Bloch
Huong Nguyen

Personal Injuries — asbestos-related claims

We act on behalf of the State in asbestos-related claims made against Victorian departments or agencies. Examples of claims include those arising from asbestos exposure in government buildings (eg public housing and schools); claims by contractors and sub-contractors exposed to asbestos while working on the construction of government properties; and claims by persons in close personal contact with those who worked on government properties and were thereby exposed to asbestos.

Our experts
Stephen Lee
Rodney McInnes
Jonathan Bayly

Police civil claims

We act on behalf of the State of Victoria in defending civil claims alleging assault, false imprisonment, negligence, misfeasance in public office or malicious prosecution against police officers.

Civil claims against police officers are generally brought within the framework of section 123 of the Police Regulation Act 1958 (Vic), which provides that a member of the police force is not personally liable for anything necessarily or reasonably done or omitted to be done in good faith in the course of his/her duty as a police officer. Rather, liability in such circumstances attaches to the State.

Our experts
Stephen Lee
David Ryan
Belinda Trevean
Sally Graham
Sally Robertson
Paula Cumbo
Anna English
Leah Bloch
Huong Nguyen

 

Public interest immunity

Evidence that is otherwise relevant and admissible may be excluded from court proceedings and administrative investigations, if it can be demonstrated that disclosure of the evidence would be contrary to the public interest. We act on behalf of Victoria Police and other state bodies seeking to invoke public interest immunity to exclude evidence from disclosure.

Our experts
Stephen Lee
Allison O'Brien
Belinda Trevean
David Ryan
Martin Pike

Section 138 matters (Accident Compensation Act recovery proceedings by the VWA)

Claims for contribution to damages for personal injury or death can be made by employers and self insurers against third parties under s 138 of the Accident Compensation Act 1985. We act for Departments and other state bodies from whom indemnity is sought in negligence claim by employers under s 138.

Our expert
Jonathan Bayly
 

Serious sex offenders applications

The Serious Sex Offenders (Detention and Supervision) Act 2009 (Vic) allows high risk sex offenders to be subject to post-sentence detention and supervision, through the issuing of Detention Orders and Supervision Orders respectively. Under the Act, the Secretary to the Department of Justice (the Secretary) is responsible for making applications for Supervision Orders. VGSO provides advice to and acts for the Secretary in relation to these applications.

Our experts
Antonio Mazzone
Michelle Jenkins
Monika Pekevska
Anna English
Paula Cumbo

Statutory interpretation

The task of interpreting and applying legislation is at the core of our work.  We are skilled in the techniques and principles of statutory interpretation and provide authoritative advice on the proper construction of laws made by or under Parliament, including statutes, regulations, by-laws, executive instruments and rules of court.


Our experts
Alison O'Brien
Dianna Gleeson
Rachel Amamoo
Martin Pike
Adrian Hoel
Sky Mykyta
Ully Merkel
Jonathan Bayly
Hannah Brown
Laura Vickers
 

Subpoenas

A subpoena is an order compelling a person to produce documents or give evidence in court. VGSO acts for Ministers and public servants who are served with subpoenas. We have in depth knowledge of the requirements for complying with subpoenas, and the grounds on which they can be set aside.

Our experts
Stephen Lee
David Ryan
Dianna Gleeson
Antonio Mazzone
Alison O'Brien

Transfer of Land Act claims

Section 110 of the Transfer of Land Act 1958 (Vic) provides that any person sustaining loss or  damage by reason of an amendment to the land titles register is entitled to be indemnified (subject to the defences listed in sub-section (3)). Typically, this section will come into play where a registration is alleged to have been made fraudulently, and the original owner has lost his/her interest in the land as a result of that registration. VGSO acts for the Registrar of Titles in defending claims for indemnity brought under s 110.

Our experts
Stephen Lee
David Ryan
Monika Pekevska
Leah Bloch

Vexatious litigant applications

A person can be declared a vexatious litigant by the Supreme Court under s 21(2) of the Supreme Court Act 1986 (Vic) if they have instituted vexatious legal proceedings habitually, persistently and without any reasonable ground. Under s 21(1) of the Act, the Attorney-General can apply to the Court for an order declaring a person to be a vexatious litigant. VGSO provides advice to and acts on behalf of the Attorney-General in relation to applications under s 21(1).

Our experts
Stephen Lee
David Ryan

 

Vexatious private prosecutions against public officials

It is in the interest of the State of Victoria that public officers be able to undertake their duties without the unjustifiable intrusion of criminal charges. In certain circumstances, we act on behalf of public officers charged with criminal offences alleged to have been committed in the course of their duties, including ministers, judges, magistrates, registrars and police officers. The VGSO must only act in the interests of the Crown in right of the State of Victoria, and will generally only act when the charges are frivolous or vexatious.

Our expert
Stephen Lee
 

Vicarious liability of the State of Victoria in tort

In certain circumstances, the State of Victoria may be held vicariously liable for the tortious acts or omissions of its employees, agents or independent contractors acting in the course and scope of their employment or engagement. We advise and act for state bodies as defendants in tort proceedings where the state is claimed to be vicariously liable.


Our experts
Stephen Lee
David Ryan
Belinda Trevean