State of Tasmania
The Attorney General's Department, which served the state government from 1901, was mostly concerned with the administration of justice in the Supreme Court of Tasmania. It had other, subsidiary functions that varied over the years. One of them was, from 1946, the administration of the Probation and Paroles Service for adults and children, formerly run by the Gaols Department. In 1955, the Service was split, with the Social Services Department taking over the children. In 1983, the Attorney-General's Department became the Law Department.
In 1907, when the government formally listed its Departments for the first time, the Attorney-General's Department appeared as the Law Department with the Attorney-General as the Minister and the Solicitor-General as the Departmental head.
In the 1920s,the Attorney-General's Department became a branch of the Solicitor-General's Department.
The Sheriff's, Supreme Court, Magisterial and other Departments came under the Attorney-General but were not part of the Attorney-General's Department. In 1934, they were amalgamated. After that, the Department became involved in policy making, advising the government on developments in legal, judicial, criminal, and prison management.
In 1946, the Department took responsibility for a probation service recommended by the Chief Justice, John Morris, following the 1943 Royal Commission on the Hobart Gaol. Tasmania was the first Australian state to assist people released by the courts on probation. The system included the juvenile probation service, which the Social Services Department took over in 1955.
1823 - 1856 Law Officers' Establishment
1856 - 1901 Attorney General's Department
1901 - 1983 Attorney-General's Department
1983 - c. 1992 Law Department
c. 1992 - 1998 Department of Justice
1998 - c. 2004 Department of Justice and Industrial Relations
c. 2004 - Department of Justice
Sources used to compile this entry: Morris, John, Report of the Royal Commissioner on the Hobart Gaol, The Commission, Hobart, 1943, 49 pp; Wettenhall, RL, A Guide to Tasmanian Government Administration, Platypus Publications, Hobart, 1968, 206 pp.
Prepared by: Caroline Evans
Created: 3 April 2014