The role of the ODCPL

To support the Director in performing the functions of his role, the Office of the Director of Child Protection Litigation (ODCPL) has been established within the Department of Justice and Attorney-General (DJAG) portfolio .

The Office comprises administrative staff and legal officers, including three Assistant Directors.

The Director’s main functions are to:

  • prepare and apply for child protection orders and conduct child protection proceedings in the Childrens Court of Queensland
  • prepare and apply for transfers of child protection orders or proceedings between Queensland and other states; and
  • prepare, institute and conduct appeals against decisions of the Childrens Court of Queensland on applications for child protection orders, and decisions to transfer a child protection order or children protection proceeding to another State.

The Director of Child Protection Litigation Act 2016 (DCPL Act) sets out the principles to be followed when the Director and staff administer their functions and powers.

The main principle is that the safety, wellbeing and best interests of the child are paramount.

This is consistent with the Child Protection Act 1999 and the requirements of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Other principles under the DCPL Act require the DCPL to work collaboratively with the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services (DCCSDS); only take action that is warranted in the circumstances; and consider whether there is sufficient, relevant and appropriate evidence before applying for a child protection order. Only the DCCSDS can refer a child to the DCPL.

If you have a reason to suspect a child in Queensland is experiencing harm, or is at risk of experiencing harm, please refer to the DCCSDS website for information.

The DCPL Act provides that when the chief executive of the DCCSDS is satisfied that a child is in need of protection and a child protection order is the most desirable and appropriate order to protect the child, it must refer the matter to the DCPL.

The DCPL makes an independent decision about whether or not an application for a child protection order should be made and the type of order that should be sought. If an application for a child protection order is made, the DCPL will be responsible for conducting the proceedings in the Childrens Court of Queensland.

The Director reports to the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice. While accountable to Parliament through the Minister for Justice and Attorney-General, the Director is not subject to ministerial direction in relation to the performance of the role’s statutory functions.