The Role of the Modern Solicitor-General

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk


Invited to deliver an online seminar for the Australian Institute of Administrative Law, with Professor Gabrielle Appleby (UNSW) and Sandy Thompson KC (Barrister and Former QLD Solicitor-General)

"The Role of the Modern Solicitor-General"

Presenters: Dr Conor McCormick, Queens University Belfast, and Professor Gabrielle Appleby, University of New South Wales

Chair: Sandy Thompson KC, Barrister, former QLD Solicitor-General

The Solicitor-General is widely described as the “second law officer” of Anglo-Australian polities and has the role of advising the state and representing its interests in significant litigation. The United Kingdom’s arrangements now include Law Officers for England and Wales, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The occasion for this seminar is the availability of two authors, whose ground-breaking texts have recently thrown light on the roles of law officers of the Crown: and the generosity of Sandy Thompson KC, a former Queensland Solicitor-General, who has offered to facilitate their discussion.

Dr Conor McCormick is a Senior Lecturer at the Queen’s University Belfast whose work specialises in constitutional and administrative law, with a particular focus on the law and legal system of Northern Ireland. He has a strong interest in appellate courts, in the application and development of human rights law, and in the work of law officers like the Solicitor-General. He has recently published The Constitutional Legitimacy of Law Officers in the United Kingdom (2022, Hart Publishing), in which he investigates the constitutional role of the Solicitor-General.

Professor Gabrielle Appleby is a Professor at the Law Faculty of University of New South Wales (Sydney). She researches and teaches in public law, with her areas of expertise including the role, powers and accountability of the executive; parliamentary law and practice; the role of government lawyers; the integrity of the judicial branch and First Nations constitutional recognition. She is the Director of The Judiciary Project at the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law, the constitutional consultant to the Clerk of the Australian House of Representatives and a member of the Indigenous Law Centre. She has published The Role of the Solicitor-General: Negotiating Law, Politics and the Public Interest (Hart Publishing, 2016), which is widely seen as one of the critical texts examining the role of the Solicitor-General.

Sandy Thompson KC served as Solicitor-General for Queensland from 2019-2022. Prior to that, he had been a silk since 1998, with a diverse practice in the fields of commercial arbitration, corporations, mining, engineering and construction, contractual disputes, professional indemnity, trade practices and admiralty. He has appeared in the Privy Council in London on two occasions, in the High Court of Australia, the Federal Court of Australia, the Supreme Courts of New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia and the Northern Territory, and in a number significant complex commercial cases in the Supreme Court of Queensland and before arbitrators.
Period23 Feb 2023
Event titleThe Role of the Modern Solicitor-General
Event typeSeminar
LocationAustraliaShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational