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Vol 23 No 5 May/June 2018

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Public Sentinels: A Comparative Study of Australian Solicitors-General

Edited by: Gabrielle Appleby, Patrick Keyzer, John M. Williams

ISBN13: 9781409454250
Published: February 2014
Publisher: Routledge
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Hardback
Price: £115.00

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In recent years, controversy has surrounded the role of top government lawyers in the United States and the United Kingdom. Allegations of bad lawyering and bad ethics in public office over the 'torture memos' in the United States and the political pressure placed on the Attorney-General in the United Kingdom to approve the legality of the Iraq war, have seen these relatively obscure group of government lawyers thrust into the public debate. Unlike its Anglo-American contemporaries, Australia's chief legal adviser, the Solicitor-General, has remained largely out of the public eye.

This collection provides a rare and overdue insight into a fundamental public institution in all Australian jurisdictions. It provides a historical, theoretical, practical and comparative perspective of this little known, but vitally important, office at a time when the transparency and accountability of government has taken on an increased significance. Of interest to anyone interested in the integrity of government, the book will be particularly useful to government, political parties and the academy. It will also be a valuable reference work to those working towards a redefinition of the role of top government legal advisors.

Other Jurisdictions , Australia
Foreword, P.A. Keane
Preface, Gabrielle Appleby, Patrick Keyzer and John M. Williams
Introduction: Public Sentinels, Gabrielle Appleby and John M. Williams

Part I The Australian Solicitor-General: Aspects of the history of the Solicitor-General in Australia, Keith Mason
The Parliament, the Executive and the Solicitor-General, Anthony Mason
The courts, the Executive and the Solicitor-General, M.G. Hinton
The role of Solicitors-General in advising the holders of vice-regal office, M. Sexton
Attorneys-General, Solicitors-General and the 'public interest' in Australian constitutional cases: a case for citizen input into the development of constitutional policy, Patrick Keyzer.

Part II The Solicitor-General in Context: The first modern law officer in Australia, Fiona Hanlon
The challenge of providing legal services to government, Gabrielle Appleby.

Part III Comparative Perspectives: The role of Solicitor-General in contemporary New Zealand, David Collins
The law officers of the Crown and the rule of law in the United Kingdom, Klearchos A. Kyriakides
The advisory function of the Attorney General in the United States, Harold H. Bruff
Solicitors General in the United States, H.W. Perry Jr
Government lawyers and the elusive concept of public interest: a Canadian perspective, M. Deborah MacNair