Pamela Tate SC

Visiting Fellow, June 2007

Pamela Tate SC is the Solicitor-General for the State of Victoria, Australia. She was appointed Special Counsel to the Human Rights Consultation Committee in Victoria in 2005 which recommended the enactment of the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities. The Charter was enacted by the Victorian Parliament in July 2006. It is largely modelled on the United Kingdom's Human Rights Act 1998.

Pamela Tate has been actively involved in the early stages of the implementation of the Charter in advising the Government on the compatibility of proposed legislation with the human rights protected by the Charter and the general implications of the Charter. She will appear for the Attorney-General in human rights cases when the obligation on public authorities to comply with the Charter takes effect in 2008. While in Britain, Pamela Tate will undertake research on the operation of the Human Rights Act with particular emphasis upon its impact in litigation.

As Solicitor-General, her primary responsibility is to appear in Constitutional cases in the High Court of Australia (the highest appellate court in Australia) representing the interests of the State of Victoria or the Attorney-General. These cases largely involve challenges to the validity of legislation passed by the Commonwealth Parliament and questions concerning the distribution of legislative powers between the Commonwealth and State Parliaments in the Australian Federation. It is also part of her role to appear in major public interest cases. From 2008 these cases will include ones involving the interpretation of legislation under the Charter or the compatibility of the conduct of public authorities with the Charter.

Before taking up the position of Solicitor-General, Pamela Tate worked as a barrister at the private Bar for 12 years and was appointed as Senior Counsel (the Australian equivalent of Queen's Counsel) in 2002. During her time at the Bar, she was actively involved in the Women Barristers' Association and was its Convenor in 1999. She is a member of Australian Women Lawyers and a member of the Advisory Board of the Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies at Melbourne University. She has published in the areas of natural justice and legitimate expectations, and jurisdictional error.