Solicitor for the NT
The Solicitor for the Northern Territory (SFNT) is the Northern Territory Government’s in-house legal practice. Its role is to support the Attorney-General as First Law Officer to maintain excellence and integrity in the government's legal dealings by the provision of quality advice, representation and documentation to government ministers, agencies and employees and statutory bodies. Our client is the Northern Territory.
SFNT is a body corporate established in 1986 by the Law Officers Act. The SFNT operates through four divisions of the Legal Services Branch of the Department of Attorney-General and Justice: Aboriginal Land, Legal Policy, Commercial and Litigation.
SFNT also has a Legal Services Coordination Division which provides a range of administrative services to the divisions and manages workflow including outsourcing of legal work to private legal service providers.
The Litigation Division is responsible for advice and representation in relation to a wide range of civil litigation and administrative law matters and focuses upon the following services:
- Administrative and government law: Statutory interpretation, administrative decision making and representation where decisions are challenged.
- Law enforcement: A wide range of civil matters arise out of the law enforcement role of government including criminal property forfeiture, domestic violence orders, serious sexual offender matters, persons unfit to plead and coronial inquests.
- Employment law: Specialist strategic advice in relation to public sector employment law based on Commonwealth and NT statutes, relevant awards and agreements, and the common law.
- Civil liability claims: Claims for breach of contract, negligence or on other bases which arise from the ordinary operations of government agencies.
The Commercial Division provides strategic commercial legal advice to the Northern Territory Government, its agencies and statutory bodies. The division applies a whole of Government perspective to its legal advice in areas including:
- Aboriginal land
- Native title
- Infrastructure projects
- Land development and management
- Procurement matters
- Funding Agreements
- Mining and resources
- Revenue law, and
- A wide range of general commercial matters.
The Commercial Division provides advice and assistance across a broad range of government contracts and procurement. It also provides advice in areas such as mining, property, land acquisition, pastoral and Crown Lands legislation and Planning law.
The Division’s staff are currently involved in various major projects in the Northern Territory including the Northern Gas Pipeline Project, the Darwin Ship Lift Facility and the proposed 5-Star Hotel Tourism Project. Other major project work has included providing advice for the Inpex Project, the Darwin City Waterfront Redevelopment, the Darwin Correctional Centre Public Private Partnership and various land release projects including Zuccoli and Berrimah Farm and many other Northern Territory developments.
The Commercial Division also provides specialist legal services to the Northern Territory Government on Native Title and Aboriginal land and related matters It provides advice, legal representation and assistance on issues concerning, or claims under, the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) and the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (Cth).
The division retains a core group of experienced solicitors to provide in-house legal advice and representation on whole of government strategic or sensitive issues involving native title or Aboriginal land matters. Some matters litigated or negotiated may have significant policy implications and may also affect strategic projects and relationships, including with Indigenous groups.
Legal Policy Division
The Legal Policy Division provides legislative development, legal policy and advice services to the Attorney-General, other Ministers and Government generally.
The SFNT Graduate Development Program
The SFNT Graduate Program is a 12 month training and development program commencing January 2017, and is most suitable for those with little or no post admission legal experience. The Program offers a range of legal experience to prepare graduates (or recent graduates) for future employment opportunities in either the Government or the private sector. More information can be obtained here.
Service of Legal Documents
Service on the Territory Crown, which includes a Minister, an instrumentality or agency of the Crown, is to be effected by service on the Solicitor for the Northern Territory. Details here
Level 1 Old Admiralty Towers 68 The Esplanade Darwin NT 0800
GPO Box 1722, DARWIN, NT 0801
8935 7847 (Legal Services Coordination)