The VGSO assist regulators to enforce and prosecute offences under Victorian law. We help in house prosecutors and enforcement teams to assess conduct, determine appropriate enforcement action and set a robust, effective regulatory posture.
We draft charges and briefs of evidence, provide prospects and sufficiency advice and manage civil disciplinary proceedings and summary or indictable criminal proceedings from start to finish.
We provide clients with advice about the nature of regulatory breaches and help regulators leverage their statutory powers to achieve their statutory and public interest goals.
When our clients decide to take disciplinary action, we provide advice on powers and procedural compliance, assist with drafting and compiling all relevant documentation, and can appear as counsel (or brief counsel) in relevant proceedings.
We can also provide representation if one of our client's decisions is brought under review at VCAT, in the Supreme Court or other jurisdiction in which review proceedings are commenced.
We support government departments and agencies with the conduct of investigations, including gathering relevant, admissible and compelling evidence to subsequently prove the commission of an offence or breach.
We advise our government clients about investigation and search and seizure powers, witness interviews and the rules of evidence.
We also have experience in assisting clients to obtain search warrants and surveillance device warrants to assist in their investigations.
We assist government departments and agencies to prepare and to prosecute summary and indictable criminal offences. This includes advising on the prospect of success, preparing briefs of evidence and preparing and filing all necessary court documents, such as charge sheets.
We represent our government department or agency clients from first mention and interlocutory hearings, to contested hearings and appeals at all venues across the state.
For example we have assisted:
- Victorian Electoral Commission - prosecuting offences relating to failure to vote and electoral matters
- PrimeSafe - prosecuting offences relating to production, storage and sale of meat products
- Department of Education and Training - prosecuting offences relating to unlicensed childcare providers
- Aboriginal Victoria - prosecuting offences relating to the destruction or harm to sacred aboriginal artefacts
- Victorian Fisheries Authority - prosecuting offences under the in relation to breaches of license conditions and overfishing.
Our team undertakes a significant amount of work for internal use by government agencies and departments, including drafting or settling compliance and enforcement policies, developing procedure manuals and creating precedent documents.
These template documents can include:
- warrant scripts and checklists
- warrant execution logs
- property seizure records or receipts
- crime scene logs
- exhibit movement logs
- investigation and interview plans
- evidence matrices.
In addition to traditional legal work, our team also regularly conduct comprehensive training sessions for our clients, which include government investigators and authorised inspectors. These sessions are on a number of key legal topics such as regulator powers and duties, prosecution tips and relevant changes in legislation.
For example, we have recently provided professional development training series to bodies such as, the Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission (IBAC) and the Legal Services Board (LSB).
Government agencies and departments, regularly seek our advice in relation to questions of statutory interpretation under their enabling legislation, the extent or scope of regulatory powers or duties, and the effect of proposed legislative reforms.
Reviewed 09 June 2021