Tied Work Guidelines

On 16 December 1996, the Queensland State Government approved that the operations of Crown Law move to a user-pays model from 1 January 1997. At that time, the new principles and categories of tied work were also approved.

What this meant for all State Government departments and agencies was that any legal matters that fell into these categories were to be undertaken by Crown Law and not an external legal provider unless specifically exempted by the government 'to ensure the continuing protection of the Attorney-General’s role as the first law officer and legal adviser to Cabinet'.

Cabinet approved the following set of principles to be used in defining the categories of legal work that should be tied to Crown Law.

The public interest principles serving as the basis for determining the categories of tied work are:

  1. The recognition of the proper role of the Attorney-General as first law officer and as chief legal adviser
    to Cabinet and the Executive Government.
  2. Ensuring that in respect of certain types of legal work, either a consistent or a whole-of-government approach is taken in the public interest.
  3. The protection of the public revenue, given the magnitude of the financial implications that may flow from the manner in which the legal work is undertaken on behalf of the Crown.
  4. The political or policy sensitivity of the legal issues involved.
  5. The potential effect on intergovernmental activities or relations, i.e. State/Commonwealth, State/State or State/foreign government.
  6. Where a legal issue has implications for government beyond the agency directly involved, the need to ensure a whole-of-government approach is adopted.
  7. The need to avoid actual and potential conflicts of interest.

The categories that are outlined in the Principles and Categories of Tied Legal Work document have been developed after considerable deliberation and consultation with clients. Adherence by agencies to the direction that any legal work that falls into the categories described will ensure the continuing protection of the Attorney-General’s role.

A copy of the full guidelines can be found on the Department of Justice and Attorney-General's website.


Where there is any doubt as to whether a matter needs to be referred to the Crown Solicitor, an agency must not engage another legal service provider (barrister or solicitor) without first consulting Crown Law.

If you have a query about this document or its application, please contact Crown Law's Executive Director, Holly De Bortoli on 3031 5697.

This publication was produced prior to the current government.