Australian Government

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At HWL Ebsworth we provide high quality, cost efficient legal services to the Australian Government, and to the commercial sector working with government. Our government lawyers possess vast experience, having provided legal services to many Australian government departments and agencies across a broad range of areas.

Many of our people have worked in government. Our team has a deep understanding of how government departments and agencies operate and the pressures they work under. We understand the issues involved in developing and implementing complex policy, making firm and defensible decisions, and providing strategic advice in a political framework. We are consistently commended by our government clients for the quality, performance, timeliness, accuracy and cost of our legal services.

In these times of increasing pressure on government to make substantial cost savings, HWL Ebsworth is the firm of choice. We offer government an unbeatable value proposition of legal expertise without the high charge-out rates which have become the norm among many of our competitors.

Among our Canberra-based Australian Government team, Richard Garnett, Lex Holcombe, George Marques, Angela Summersby, Michael Will, Stuart Imrie, Melanie McKean, Megan Knight, Michael Palfrey, Emeritus Professor Dennis Pearce AO, Alan Rose AO, Dr Gary A. Rumble and Anthony Reilly have all been listed among Australia's leading lawyers in the Best Lawyers® reports compiled annually by peer-review company Best Lawyers. They are named across categories that include government, public law, information technology, telecommunications, litigation, alternate dispute resolution, employee benefits, labour and employment and insurance.

Members of our Australian Government team have been named by Best Lawyers as 'Canberra Lawyer of the Year' in various categories, including Richard Garnett, Emeritus Professor Dennis Pearce AO, Michael Will, George Marques, Melanie McKean and Angela Summersby.

Our team has been recognised for commercial litigation in the ACT in Doyle’s Guide to the Australian Legal Profession 2015 and 2016.

Experience

Our relevant experience includes the following areas.

  • Acting on investigations, inquiries, reviews, litigation and alternative dispute resolution for the Australian Government, including due diligence and corporate governance reviews. In 2013 and 2014 Emeritus Professor Dennis Pearce AO (Special Counsel) was the Independent Investigator for Allegations of Workplace Bullying and Other Unreasonable Behaviour in the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and Melanie McKean (Partner) led the HWL Ebsworth team supporting the Investigator. In 2011 to 2012, Dr Gary A. Rumble (Special Counsel), Melanie McKean and Dennis Pearce led the Review of Allegations of Sexual and Other Abuse in Defence for report to the Minister of Defence and the Department of Defence.
  • Providing advice to many Australian government departments on all aspects of administrative law and public law including Freedom of Information; Ombudsman, judicial and merits review; privacy; Ministerial responsibilities; parliamentary procedures, (including appearing before parliamentary committees and parliamentary privilege); discrimination law; and issues of delegated authority including the drafting of relevant instruments.
  • Drafting, negotiating and advising on a broad range of procurements, contracts, outsourcing requirements, acquisitions and policy implementation, IP assignments and novations, and complex deeds of amendment or settlement. Our team is also experienced in advising government clients on procurement processes, probity, contract law issues, including on the enforceability of performance management mechanisms, remedies for effective performance including termination, the application of remedies such as accessing guarantees, suspension and step-in rights and the enforcement of obligations.
  • We have advised on all aspects of commercial, retail and industrial asset acquisition, disposal, leasing, development and management. We have vast experience advising on legislation (and associated regulations) that interact with property matters, such as the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (Cth), the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth), the Lands Acquisition Act 1989 (Cth) and the Public Works Committee Act 1969 (Cth).
  • We have advised on all aspects of industrial relations, employment, workers’ compensation and occupational health and safety matters. Our lawyers regularly advise on the Public Service Act 1999 (Cth) and regulations; APS Values, the APS Employment Principles and the Code of Conduct; Australian Public Service Commission determinations; the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth); the Australian Government Employment bargaining framework; individual and collective workplace agreements; industrial relations litigation and disputes involving unfair and wrongful dismissals; discrimination law and advice including representation in courts and tribunals; confidentiality and restraints of trade; and transmission of business, redundancy and redeployment issues

Commonwealth Government

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