Solicitor for the Northern Territory

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. 

The Solicitor for the NT is a body corporate established in 1986 by the Law Officers Act

It operates through four divisions of the Legal Services Branch of the Department of Attorney-General and Justice.

The Solicitor for the NT also has a Legal Services Coordination Division providing a range of administrative services to the divisions. 

It manages workflow including outsourcing of legal work to private legal service providers. Read the NT Legal Services List for more information. 

Litigation Division

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 that arise from the ordinary operations of government agencies.

Commercial Division

The Commercial Division provides strategic commercial legal advice to the NT 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
  • a wide range of general commercial matters.

The Commercial Division provides advice and assistance across 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 NT. 

These include the Northern Gas Pipeline Project, the Darwin Ship Lift Facility and the proposed five-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 land release projects including Zuccoli and Berrimah Farm and other Northern Territory developments.

The Commercial Division also provides specialist legal services to the NT 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 has 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. 

Model litigant policy

The Territory, its agencies and employees, and all lawyers acting for the Territory (including law firms providing legal service to the NT Government pursuant to the NT Legal Services List), must behave as a model litigant in handling all claims and litigation. 

Read the Solicitor for the NT's Model Litigant Policy (45.4 kb).   ||   PDF (30.9 kb)

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 NT. 

Subject to the exceptions below, pursuant to s.13 of the Crown Proceedings Act 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 NT by any of the below:

Delivery in person 

Level 2, Old Admiralty Towers
68 The Esplanade
Darwin NT  0800

Mail

GPO Box 1722
Darwin NT  0801

Court boxes

Ordinary service may be affected by delivery to the Solicitor for the NT court boxes located at the Supreme and Local Court registries.

Service on the Solicitor for the NT is not required if a special provision made by, or under the Crown Proceedings Act, provides for another form of service. 

If the Territory Crown is represented by a legal practitioner, other than Solicitor for the NT, service is to be effected on that practitioner.

Contact 

Level 2
Old Admiralty Towers
68 The Esplanade
Darwin NT 0800
(08) 8935 7847
LegalServices.SFNT@nt.gov.au

Mail

GPO Box 1722
Darwin NT 0801

Last updated: 28 November 2017