The separation of the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice was one of the key recommendations of the Fitzgerald Inquiry. This recommendation was implemented in September 1989, resulting in the establishment of The Department of the Attorney-General. The department initially assumed responsibilities from the Health Department, the Premier's Department and the Department of Environment and Heritage, however following a change in State government in December 1989 the Heritage and Arts functions were shed in favour of a purely legal portfolio.
Attorney-General and Minister for Heritage and the Arts 25 Sep 1989 - 7 Dec 1989
Attorney-General 7 Dec 1989 - 24 Sep 1992
The Department of the Attorney-General was responsible for providing legal and related services to the Government, its agencies and the people of Queensland, through Government Law Offices.
The functions executed by the Government Law Offices included:
- Administration of publicly funded legal assistance
- Initiation, prosecution and discontinuance of criminal proceedings
- Law reform initiatives through Law Reform Commission
- Administration of trust accounts
- Criminal injuries compensation
- Administration and legal advice in relation to matters of public administration and government
Aside from the Government Law Offices, these functions were supported by a number of programs initially administered by the Central Service Agency and later administered by specialised Divisions (eg. The Community Justice Program became the Alternative Dispute Resolution Division). These programs included an Administrative Support Services Program, Consultancy Services Program, Internal Audit Program, Community Justice Program and Acts Sub-Program (including JP section).
In October 1991, the newly created Freedom of Information and Administrative Law Division assumed responsibility for the implementation of Freedom of Information and Judicial Review legislation in Queensland for the first time.
Between September 1989 and December 1989, the department was also responsible for the Office of Heritage and the Arts, which comprised responsibility for the State Library, Queensland Cultural Centre Trust, Queensland Art Gallery, Queensland Museum (transferred from the Premier's Department) and a "Cultural Record Function" (transferred from the Department of Environment and Heritage). These functions reverted to their originating agencies or their originating agencies' successors with the change of government and subsequent departmental restructure in December 1989.
The Attorney-General's Department comprised a number of offices including the Solicitor-General's Office, the Director of Prosecutions Office, the Special Prosecutor's Office, the Law Reform Commission Secretariat, the Crown Solicitor's Office, the Public Trust Office and the Public Defender's Office in addition to a Central Service Agency. Briefly from 25 Sep 1989 to 7 Dec 1989, the department also included the Office of Heritage and the Arts.
Following review in March/April 1991, the department was restructured into divisions, which assumed responsibility for the functions of the Central Service Agency: the Alternative Dispute Resolution Division, Community Justice Division, Policy and Legalisation Division and Corporate Services Division. At the same time, the Public Defender's Office was merged with the Legal Aid Commission and responsibility for the Public Trust was transferred to the Justice Department. In May 1991, the Crown Solicitor's Office became Crown Law. The Freedom of Information and Administrative Law Division was created in October 1991.
Office of Heritage and the Arts, 25 Sep 1989 - 7 Dec 1989
Solicitor-General's Office, 25 Sep 1989 - 24 Sep 1992
Director of Prosecutions Office, 25 Sep 1989 - 24 Sep 1992
Special Prosecutor's Office 25 Sep 1989 - Mar/Apr 1991
Law Reform Commission 25 Sep 1989 - 24 Sep 1992
Central Service Agency, 7 Dec 1989 - Mar/Apr 1991
Crown Solicitor's Office, 7 Dec 1989 - May 1991 (became Crown Law Division)
Crown Law Division, May 1991 - 24 Sep 1992
Public Trust Office, 7 Dec 1989 - Mar/Apr 1991
Public Defender's Office, 7 Dec 1989 - 28 Mar 1991 (merged with Legal Aid Office)
Alternative Dispute Resolution Division, 1 Jul 1990 - 24 Sep 1992
Community Justice Division, 1 July 1990 - 24 Sep 1992
Policy and Legislation Division, May 1991 - 24 Sep 1992
Corporate Services Division, Mar/Apr 1991 - 24 Sep 1992
Freedom of Information and Administrative Law Division, Oct 1991 - 24 Sep 1992
On 25 September 1992, under Public Service Management (Departmental Changes) Order (No. 1) 1992, the Department of the Attorney-General and the Department of Justice were amalgamated into the Department of Justice and Attorney-General. The newly merged department absorbed the functions of the Attorney-General's Department, in addition to the majority of the Justice Department's former responsibilities and the Arts Division from the Department of the Premier, Economic and Trade Development.