The Official Solicitor
The role of the Official Solicitor was created by the Public Trustee Act 1978 and delivers legal services to the Public Trustee of Queensland and a number of departments of the Queensland Government.
The Office employs approximately 40 lawyers, who are separated into a Customer Legal Services group and a Corporate Legal Services group.
Each lawyer of the Official Solicitor Customer and Corporate Legal Services possesses a broad legal skill set which enables them to deal with the diverse breadth of legal issues faced by the Public Trustee in his various capacities. The rights, values and interests of persons with a disability are the core consideration of the advices and recommendations provided to the Public Trustee for clients with impaired capacity.
Official Solicitor, Customer Legal Services
The Customer Legal Services group is headed by the Official Solicitor, Customer Legal Services, and is called upon to provide specialist advice and services in relation to many areas of the law including:
- issues that arise in the Public Trustee’s role as Administrator for financial matters under the Guardianship and Administration Act 2000 or as Attorney under the Powers of Attorney Act 1998, including misappropriation of monies belonging to customers, constructive trusts and family provision claims under Part 4 of the Succession Act 1981;
- requests for the Public Trustee to be a litigation guardian for court proceedings to be brought or defended by persons under a legal disability and issues that arise in the course of that role;
- personal injury and other litigation being conducted on behalf of the Public Trustee’s customers;
- the drafting, construction and interpretation of Wills;
- succession law matters impacting on deceased estates administered by the Public Trustee, including responding to family provision applications under Part 4 of the Succession Act 1981, advising on beneficiary entitlements, contested probate proceedings and issues arising on intestacy;
- estate litigation including claims against deceased estates administered by the Public Trustee and investigating and seeking to recover misappropriated monies or property for the estate;
- applications for grants of probate from the Supreme Court on behalf of private executors;
- legal services to cater for the property needs of the Public Trustee’s customers and select government clients;
- issues that arise in the Public Trustee’s role as trustee of charitable, statutory, testamentary, minors, court ordered and special disability trusts;
- the administration of prisoners’ property;
- the Public Trustee's power under sections 61 and 62 of the Public Trustee Act 1978 relating to the execution of Transfers and Releases of Mortgage if certain preconditions exist;
- the Public Trustee's role under Part 8 of the Public Trustee Act 1978 relating to unclaimed property.
Official Solicitor, Corporate Legal Services
The Corporate Legal Services group is headed by the Official Solicitor, Corporate Legal Services, and focuses on:
- advising the Public Trustee in his corporate capacity, rather than his representative capacity.
- Applications for the Public Trustee’s sanction of compromises of actions under section 59 of the Public Trustee Act 1978;
- issues relating to the Public Trustee’s confiscation of criminal proceeds as agent of the Supreme Court;
- complex property and leasing services for select government clients;
- leasing for the Public Trustee in his representative and corporate capacity;
- attending Government Reference Groups or providing input relating to draft legislation;
- maintaining relationships with the Queensland Law Society committees on Elder Law, Succession Law and Health and Disability Law.
The Public Trustee, when acting in his corporate capacity complies with the Model Litigant Principles.