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.
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 and DFID. He has worked in Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Botswana, Bhutan, Cambodia, Guyana, India, Indonesia, Lesotho, Mongolia, Pakistan, Samoa, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Tonga, UAE (Dubai), Uganda, Uzbekistan and Vanuatu.
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
 3 9602 5226
➤ Mail address
PO Box 4
Collins Street West
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.
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 has now been released — a Local Government Act 2018 now looks likely. Duncan Lawyers contributed to the review process with preparation of a discussion paper. It can be downloaded from the Local Government Act review website. For more - visit our Current topics page.
Best Practice Guide to Independence in Tribunal Appointments
A 2015 Discussion Paper released by the Council of Australasian Tribunals Inc (COAT) proposed a Best Practice Guide to Tribunal Independence in Appointments. The Guide was to include sample legislative provisions (prepared by Campbell Duncan) illustrating how the principles might be implemented in tribunal legislation in future.
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 there a functional difference or is the allocation of provisions between the two just 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.