Alison O'Brien PSM

Assistant Victorian Government Solicitor
LLB (Hons), BSc
Area of law:
Administrative decision making and review, Civil litigation and dispute resolution (including personal injury), Constitutional law and parliament, Royal commissions and inquiries, Public sector governance and integrity, Interpretation and development of legislation

Alison is Assistant Victorian Government Solicitor, Public Law & Planning. In that role Alison leads a group of lawyers responsible for providing a wide range of legal services to the Government and the public sector. These include services relating to:

  • the development, application and interpretation of legislation (including in administrative decision-making)
  • judicial review of administrative decisions
  • planning, environment and heritage
  • human rights and anti-discrimination law
  • State and federal constitutional law
  • public sector governance and integrity
  • integrity body (including parliamentary) inquiries.

These services are provided across the full spectrum of advisory and litigious contexts.

Alison's clients value her considerable experience and her practical understanding of Government. In particular, they appreciate her and her group's willingness to provide quick, comprehensive and context-sensitive advice, often in what are novel legal situations. This can include providing urgent oral advice, participating in multi-disciplinary teams, responding to challenges to critical government decision-making and providing in-depth analysis to support significant reforms. Her team regularly present seminars and participate on roundtables on subjects which are tailored to public sector practitioners. They understand that government law, and its operating environment, is different.

Alison has substantial experience across all areas of public law. This includes:

  • representing State parties in public law litigation, particularly in the High Court
  • providing advice on complex and sensitive intergovernmental and constitutional issues
  • providing advice on the establishment of, and responses to, public inquiries
  • providing advice on responses to emergency situations
  • advising on novel and difficult questions of law and legislative development.

Alison has a deep understanding of public sector governance and decision-making processes having provided advice across government for over 20 years and chaired or participated in a number of whole-of-government steering committees responding to major litigation, public inquiries or other emerging issues.

Alison was a part-time Commissioner with the Victorian Law Reform Commission for eight years ending in 2021 and is on the Victorian Legal Admissions Committee. Her contribution to the State was recognised by the award of the Public Service Medal in 2019 for outstanding public service to the provision of legal services to the Victorian public sector, particularly in the areas of constitutional and public law. This is in addition to being awarded The Law Institute of Victoria's "Government Lawyer of the Year" award in 2011 and being named in Best Lawyers Public Law and Government Practice, Australia.

Phone: 03 8684 0416
Mobile: 0409 385 343