Judge slams Solictor General’s office for professional negligence and misconduct
Justice Poole has slammed the Solicitor General’s office for its repeated failure to defend claims for damages brought against the State – claims which all drain the public purse of monies that could be spent on vital services like schools and hospitals.
The judge says the conduct of the lawyers in the Solictor General’s office raises serious questions of professional negligence and even professional misconduct as they fail to defend claims against the State and abandon any defense their clients could raise.
Delivering his judgement on 22 September in the case of Pangu v Korr  in which the defendants were the Police Commissioner and the State, the judge said:
“8. The Defendants have filed no relevant material whatsoever. There is no Notice of Intention to Defend or Defense; although the file contains numerous affidavits of search, procedural motions and notices of ceasing to act or of appearance.
9. It seems that, yet again, the Solicitor General’s office is content to allow Default Judgments to be entered against the State because lawyers are unable or unwilling to try to defend or to settle such claims. In effect, they abandon any defense which their client, the State, could raise. Such conduct by a lawyer in private practice would raise serious questions of professional negligence and even professional misconduct.”
The case involved a claim against the police for wrongful arrest, malicious prosecution, unlawfully seizing, using and damaging a vehicle and stealing property from it.
The Solicitor Generals Office is part of the Department of Justice and Attorney General headed by Secretary Lawrence Kalinoe. The Department currently has twelve Australian’s working within it as part of Australia’s Strongim Gavman aid program. Some of those lawyers work directly inside the Solicitor General’s office.