Assistant Victorian Government Solicitor
LLB, Bachelor of Commerce

Current Practice

Stephen advises police clients on a wide variety of contemporary legal issues confronting Victoria Police in its dynamic policing environment.  
Stephen's deep and abiding interest in policing issues was reflected in his appointment  to the role of Assistant Victorian Government Solicitor (Police Branch) commencing January 2016. In his current role, Stephen leads a specialist team of policing lawyers advising Victoria Police on a range of matters including policing practice, police powers and duties, crime, evidence, administrative decisions and State liability.  
 
He also advises the Chief Commissioner in areas such as media law (including contempt and suppression), prisoner management, public order (including protests and demonstrations), sporting integrity, subpoenas (including public interest immunity), protection of vulnerable witnesses, defamation (including removal of offensive online publications), intervention orders and forensic procedures. 
 

Experience

Stephen has over 30 years' experience as a lawyer including 25 years acting for and assisting Victoria Police on legal matters.  From 2001 to 2016, Stephen led the VGSO's  Litigation and Dispute Resolution Branch and has a further 15 years' experience in litigation for state government and private practice. 
 
Stephen has a long history of providing legal advice to Victoria Police. In 2001, Stephen was appointed the VGSO's inaugural Client Liaison Solicitor for Victoria Police, and worked closely with the Victoria Police Civil Litigation Unit to better understand Victoria Police's legal environment and needs. In collaboration with Victoria Police, Stephen developed extensive resources for effectively managing and resolving police legal matters.
 
Stephen has extensive experience following his 15 years as Assistant Victorian Government Solicitor in managing a high volume of sensitive matters including civil claims against police members, negligence claims, prisoner claims, contempt of court, inquests, personal injury claims, contractual disputes, vexatious litigant claims,  Crimes (Mental Impairment & Unfitness To Be Tried) Act cases and general litigation. Stephen frequently brings this unique government experience to bear in presenting on the model litigant principles, which underpin all  of Victoria's litigation.  
 
Stephen's passion for efficient legal service and knowledge management has led him to develop the VGSO Litigation Manual, an in-depth electronic information resource enabling fast, accurate and consistent service to clients in multiple complex  areas of law. He has recently project managed the completion of a similar resource uniquely for the efficient conduct of police matters. 
 
Stephen has significant experience in the establishment and conduct of royal commissions. Stephen led the State's legal response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, involving close liaison between multiple State departments and agencies. He was legal advisor to Victoria Police during the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission. 
 
Stephen's interest in knowledge management and efficient legal practice is evidenced in the creation of a unique electronic legal repository for lawyers advising Victoria Police providing up-to-date and vital information on all key areas of work performed by the Police Branch.  Stephen also regularly attends biennial conferences of the Australia and New Zealand Police General Counsel to discuss contemporary policing and legal issues in Australia and New Zealand.
 

Memberships and professional associations

  • Law Institute of Victoria
  • Australian Corporate Lawyers Association