Duncan Lawyers

Duncan Lawyers

Duncan Lawyers

Duncan Lawyers is a Melbourne-based law firm, working mainly with government (national, state and local), universities and statutory authorities.  Our core competence is legislation and related policy development.

Our principal is Campbell Duncan.  Campbell has worked as a barrister, parliamentary counsel, legislation officer, solicitor and consultant.  Since 1999 he has worked on overseas projects as well as domestic (mainly Victorian) projects.

Campbell Duncan speaking at a workshop in Cambodia, October 2017

Campbell Duncan speaking at a workshop in Cambodia, October 2017

In Australia, he has worked on major legislation reviews – notably, the Road Safety Act 1987 and the Local Government Act 1989.  His work for major Melbourne law firms was largely for government, including governance advice and appearance work before the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.  Since 1999, he has provided consultancy services to government agencies, the private sector and volunteer bodies.

His international work has included consultancy for major aid agencies – Asian Development Bank, World Bank, Ausaid/DFAT, DFID and MCC (variously as a consultant or as a sub-contractor).  He has worked in Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Botswana, Bhutan, Cambodia, Guyana, India, Indonesia, Lesotho, Mongolia, Pakistan, Samoa, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste, Tonga, UAE (Dubai), Uganda, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu and Vietnam.

International project work has been in the following sectoral areas land use planning, land acquisition and resettlement, regulation of roads infrastructure and road traffic, judicial administration, legislative drafting, building control, decentralisation and local government.



➤ Melbourne office

443 Little Collins Street
Melbourne Vic

➤ Phone

[61] 3 9602 5226

➤ Mail address

PO Box 4
Collins Street West
Vic 8007




Conference paper - the Legislative Ecosystem

The legislative ecosystem was analysed in a paper presented to the Australian PCC/CALC (Pacific Region) Conference in Canberra in April 2018.

The conference, Towards 2050: Drafting for the 21st Century, was organised by the Australasian Parliamentary Counsel’s Committee in association with the Commonwealth Association of Legislative Counsel (Pacific Region).

We will have more to say about the legislative ecosystem in a forthcoming Newsletter.

Legislative lexicon

Legislation should be easy to read.  Whether or not this objective is ever achieved, there is a lot of specialised terminology used by those who design, draft and interpret legislation.

Duncan Lawyers has prepared a lexicon of legislative terminology.  We will be writing further on this topic in the near future.

Local Government Act review (Victoria)

The Local Government Act 1989 (Vic) is under review by the Victorian State Government.  An exposure draft was released in 2018 for a while a Local Government Act 2018 looked likely.  Duncan Lawyers contributed to the review process with preparation of a discussion paper. Alas, the 2018 Bill disappeared when Parliament was prorogued. Still, 2019 is a new year. For more - visit our Current topics page.

Functions of legislation

We have written about the structure of legislation, in particular the difference between primary and secondary legislation. In our latest Newsletter we take a step back and look at the functions of legislation generally.

Universities as law-makers

We examined this issue in our February 2015 Newsletter - a university legislation special issue. We considered the concept of university legislation and the relationship between Acts and the two levels of subordinate legislation made under them.  Also included is a table of University governance instruments, setting out their important features.  The Newsletter can be downloaded from our newsletters page.

Paper presented in Singapore

What is the difference between primary and secondary legislation — is it more than just the the outcome of process?   One can’t always generalise, but that didn’t stop us trying at a conference in Singapore (2012).  More about this on our publications page.