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AGLS Board nominations

The Attorney-General's Department is seeking nominations from general counsel, heads of legal or other senior government lawyers to become members of the Australian Government Legal Service (AGLS) Board. We are seeking to appoint 5 new board members for a term of 2 years, starting early 2023.

AGLS Board and member responsibilities

The AGLS Board is composed of 10 senior government lawyers from across the Commonwealth, plus a standing member from the Attorney‑General's Department. Generally, half the board members change annually, with new members appointed for 2‑year terms. This staggered re-appointment process provides continuity in membership and retention of corporate knowledge. It also provides regular opportunities for new members and perspectives.

The Secretary of the Attorney-General's Department, or their delegate, appoints all board members, based on the advice of the Office of Legal Services Coordination. The board will need to elect a new chair once new members are appointed.

Board members cannot serve for more than 2 consecutive terms unless the Secretary of the Attorney-General's Department invites them to do so.

Current AGLS Board members

Members whose terms expire in early 2023

  • Andrew Ford – Deputy Chief Counsel, National Disability Insurance Agency
  • Louise Rafferty – Senior Executive Lawyer, Australian Government Solicitor
  • Meredith Leigh – First Parliamentary Counsel, Office of Parliamentary Counsel
  • Susannah Palmer – A/g Senior Director, Comcare
  • Position vacant – Chief Counsel, Services Australia

Members whose terms expire in early 2024

  • Lisa Keeling (AGLS Board Chair) – General Counsel, Australian Digital Health Agency 
  • Andrew Evers – General Counsel, Department of Defence
  • Katie Miller – National Manager, Legal and Enforcement, AUSTRAC
  • Justine Ross – Chief Executive Officer and Chief Counsel, Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency
  • Miriam Moore – General Counsel, Department of Health.

Standing member

Kathryn Haigh, a member of the inaugural AGLS Board and appointed for a term of 2 years, has joined the Attorney-General's Department as First Assistant Secretary of the Legal Services and Royal Commissions Division. She is now a standing member of the board.

About the AGLS Board

Since its establishment in November 2020, the AGLS Board has worked to establish key governance frameworks to support the aims of the AGLS for years to come. This has included developing the AGLS Strategic Plan, AGLS committee charters and work plans, and the AGLS stakeholder engagement and communications plan.

The board oversees these streams of work, with key contributions and support from several AGLS committees. Nominated board sponsors work closely with the chairs of each committee.

The Office of Legal Services Coordination (OLSC) within the Attorney‑General's Department provides secretariat support to the board.

The AGLS Board Terms of Reference set out the responsibilities of AGLS Board members and appointment process. Key aspects are described below.

Board members are general counsel, heads of legal or other senior government lawyers from across the full range of Commonwealth legal practices. Members serve on a volunteer basis. They are responsible for delivering the board's objectives, including through determining the priorities and strategic direction of the AGLS.

The board meets at least 6 times each year. Meetings generally occur in Canberra, but  AGLS Board members are geographically diverse, so teleconference and audio-visual conference facilities are available.

Nominated board members are responsible for taking on sponsorship roles for one or more of the AGLS committees.

Board activities

This year, the board has overseen a range of activities to support government lawyers:

  • The very popular Foundational Australian Government Lawyer Training program, delivered by senior government lawyers, provides training to new government lawyers on the fundamental topics relevant to their work. It was held in April and will be held again on 28-30 November 2022.
  • The Legal Risk Committee met 4 times bringing together the heads of legal from all departments and a selection of agencies to discuss issues of shared interest.
  • The AGLS Conference was held on 20 October 2022. It was an outstanding success, with 574 government lawyers attending in-person or online. The theme 'Diversity in the law: Our practice and our people' highlighted the diverse areas of law and practice in which Australian Government lawyers work and how inclusivity supports that work.
  • The board developed a heads of legal induction package and strategy to welcome and support lawyers appointed as general counsel for the first time. This will soon be available to heads of legal.
  • The first Legal Circles Group Mentoring program recently finished. It supports the development of government lawyers through small group mentoring. The second program will start shortly.
  • An Australian Government Legal Advice Database is being progressed, to better sharing legal advice and other information held by Commonwealth entities, improve consistency and reduce duplication of effort. A new working group is being established to assist with developing key aspects of the database, including assisting with user testing and developing behavioural protocols for using the database. The Attorney-General's Department is leading this project with support from the board.
  • The General Counsel Charter and the Statement of expectations of Australian Government lawyers have been conveyed to the heads of legal of each Commonwealth entity.

Nominate to be an AGLS Board member

As set out in the AGLS Board Terms of Reference, members serve on a volunteer basis. Membership will seek to reflect cultural, gender and regional diversity. Membership is also intended to reflect the full range of different types of Commonwealth agencies as much as possible, drawing from:

  • departments, other non-corporate Commonwealth entities
  • corporate Commonwealth entities
  • AGS
  • small, mid-size and large agencies, and
  • Canberra and non‑Canberra based agencies.

Membership also seeks to reflect diverse agency functions including policy, regulatory, specialist and operational. An agency head must provide their written endorsement for any board nominations from their agency. Membership is limited to one member per Commonwealth agency (with the exception of the standing member), unless otherwise agreed.

To nominate yourself, or a suitably qualified lawyer in your agency, as an AGLS Board member, email the AGLS Team at agls@governmentlawyers.gov.au.

Your email must include:

  • a short summary (300 words or less) of your/your colleague's interest in nominating
  • a written endorsement of your nomination from your agency head
  • the name of your agency
  • your/your colleague's usual work location
  • a copy of your/your colleague's current CV.

Nominations are due by 5 pm (AEDT), Thursday 15 December 2022.

This process may also be used to fill future board vacancies in 2023. You are welcome to forward this expression of interest to others within your network.

Get more information

To find out more about the nomination process you can:

For more information about the role of an AGLS Board member, you may wish to contact a current board member. Email the AGLS Team (agls@governmentlawyers.gov.au) for contact details.

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