Services Provided by the Chambers
Being the largest "law firm" in Fiji, the Office provides a diverse range of legal services to the State. Legal Officers from the Office are posted to various ministries and departments, whilst a "core group" headed by the Solicitor-General in the central office in Suva provides advise in diverse areas of law and administration. Due to the nature of clientele, its services are unique requiring a specialist skill in matters dealing with public law and administration.
The broad functions and services which the State Law Office provides include:
- Litigation – This requires the pursuance of the State's rights, obligations and responsibilities through the Courts whilst still seeking to resolve disputes through arbitration, mediation and other conciliatory mechanisms;
- Advising Government bodies and departments on the compliance with public law including administrative law and the application of bill of rights in the Constitution;
- Advising on corporate governance issues including trade practices and public sector management issues, the need and requirement for statutory compliance, ability to minimize exposure to liability, probity and transparency and State's policy on purchasing of goods and services;
- Assisting Government bodies and departments in implementing the Government's policies with a strategic direction in developing areas of law such as native title, indigenous issues, intellectual property, e-commerce, information technology, negligence of officers of State, etc.
- Assisting all Government departments including the Judiciary, Tribunals, Boards and Inquiries with the interpretation and clarification of their powers, duties and responsibilities and the manner the same is to be exercised pursuant to statutory enactments;
- Assisting the Government departments and bodies to understand better the international developments in relation to workplace ethics and particular areas such as sexual harassment, industrial disputes, grievance procedures, misconduct and other disciplinary offences under the Public Service Act and Code of Conduct;
- Assisting State officials by conducting lectures and providing information to avoid risk of liability or to reduce the risks by better management skills through ongoing programmes. Such programmes are only run upon request by departments and where necessary it is initiated by the office;
- Raising awareness with the Government on development of laws internationally through training programmes, legal publications (Legal Lali), education, seminars and presenting papers in the conferences organized by respective ministries.
- Working in committees of various departmental boards in the development of major legal infrastructure and providing integrated services in matters such as, compulsory acquisition of land, environmental planning and protection, adequacy of property settlements, resource owners’ rights, etc.;
- Meeting the advocacy requirements of departments and bodies by providing in-house Counsels to act and where necessary engaging Senior Counsels from abroad or private sector (very rarely);
- Advising the departments and bodies of our international obligations and the means and mode of complying with requirements, including necessary legislative reform;
- Assisting departments and bodies with all commercial legal matters including negotiating contracts etc.