About this policy
This privacy statement sets out how Legal Aid ACT manages personal information when performing its functions.
This policy is written in simple language. The specific legal obligations of Legal Aid ACT when collecting and handling your personal information are outlined in the Information Privacy Act 2014 and in particular in the Territory Privacy Principles found in that Act.
This statement is made in accordance with the Territory Privacy Principle 1.3 of the Information Privacy Act.
You can access the Information Privacy Act here.
Legal Aid ACT collects, holds, uses and discloses personal information to carry out functions of activities under the Legal Aid Act 1977; the Public Sector Act 2014; the Information Privacy Act 2014; the Territory Records Act 2002 and the Health Records (Privacy and Access) Act 1997.
These functions and activities include:
- providing advice and representation with legal issues
- determining whether legal assistance may be provided under the Legal Aid Act
- payment of money to and receipt of money from and individual
- handling privacy and freedom of information complaints and reviews.
When you deal with Legal Aid ACT it may be difficult to remain anonymous. Some services provided over the phone may be for information only and will accommodate the use of a pseudonym (a made up name). Other services provided by this organisation require an individual to be an identified individual, this will require an individual to provide information and proof of their identity.
If it is impractical or unlawful for us to deal with you without you providing identifying information. We will let you know why we need your personal information and what it will mean for you if the information is collected.
Collection of your personal information
At all times Legal Aid ACT tries only to collect personal information where that information is reasonably necessary for, or directly related to, one or more of our functions or activities.
Sometimes we may collect personal information without your consent, such as when it is required or authorised by law, or a court or tribunal order, or is necessary to prevent a threat to the life, health or safety of one or more individuals, or to public health or safety.
Legal Aid ACT will not collect personal information that is not required in order to perform our function.
How do we collect personal information?
Legal Aid ACT will only collect information by lawful and fair means. Information provided about an individual or opposing party will be managed in accordance with our obligations about that information as legal practitioners.
The main way Legal Aid ACT collects personal information about you is when you give it to us.
Your personal information may be collected in a variety of ways, including through paper or online forms, in correspondence to and from you as well as email, over the telephone and by fax.
We may also collect personal information if you are on our committees or participating in a meeting or consultation with us.
Normally we collect information directly from you unless it is unreasonable or impracticable to do so. In certain circumstances, for example where it is required by law, we may also obtain personal information collected by other Australian, state or territory government bodies or other organisations.
We also collect personal information from publicly available sources where that may enable us to perform our functions effectively.
Types of information we collect and hold
At all times Legal Aid ACT tries to only collect the minimum information that we need. The personal information we collect and hold will vary depending on what we require to perform our functions and responsibilities. It may include:
- information about your identity (eg. date of birth, country of birth, passport details, visa details and drivers licence).
- your name, address and contact details.
- information about your personal circumstances (eg. age, gender, marital status, and occupation).
- information about your financial affairs (eg. payment details, bank account details/balances and information about business and financial interests).
- information about your employment (eg. applications for employment, work history, referee comments and remuneration).
- information about your legal matters
- information about assistance provided to you under our assistance arrangements.
Sensitive information is handled with additional protections under the Information Privacy Act.
Sensitive information is information that is about an individual's-
|racial or ethnic origin||member of a trade union|
|political opinions||sexual orientation or practices|
|member of a political association||criminal record|
|religious beliefs or affiliations||genetic information|
|philosophical beliefs||biometric information (including photographs, voice or video recordings of you)|
|membership of a professional or trade association|
Notice of collection
When Legal Aid ACT needs to collect personal information from you we will notify you about:
- who we are and how you can contact us
- the circumstances in which we may or have collected personal information
- the name of the law that requires us to collect this information (if any)
- the purpose for which we collect the information
- how you may be affected if we cannot collect the information we need
- the details of any agencies or types of agencies which we normally share personal information with, including whether those recipients are overseas, and which countries those recipients are located in.
Written and eGrant applications for legal aid contain the following privacy statement on the declaration page.
Collecting through our website
Legal Aid ACT collects the information listed at 'Types of information we collect and hold' on an eGrants application form that is submitted online.
No personal information is collected for statistical purposes online.
Social Networking Services
If Legal Aid ACT collects personal information on social networks, the information collected is for the purpose of legal proceedings and ensuring the appropriate representation of clients.
A social network may also collect information in accordance with their own privacy principles.
Legal Aid ACT does not maintain a subscriber list in order to send bulk email information to individuals, however, email lists may be maintained for groups of stakeholders or contacts for business purposes and these lists may be shared and distributed beyond these groups. Removal from these lists may be requested at any stage.
Use and disclosure
Legal Aid ACT will not use your personal information for a secondary purpose or share your personal information with government agencies, private sector organisations or anyone else without your consent, unless an exception applies.
Exceptions are available in a number of circumstances including when:
- you would reasonably expect us to use the information for the secondary purpose that is related (or directly related - in the case of sensitive information) to the original purpose for which the information was collected.
- the use or sharing of information is legally required or authorised by an Australian law, or court or tribunal order.
- the collection is reasonably necessary for a law enforcement related activity such as the prevention, detection, investigation, prosecution or punishment of criminal offences or breaches of the law; intelligence gathering, surveillance, conduct of protective or custodial services.
- we reasonably believe that collection is necessary to lessen or prevent a serious threat to the life, health or safety of any individual, or to public health or safety.
- we have reason to suspect unlawful activity, or misconduct of a serious nature, that relates to our functions and we reasonably believe that collection of the information is necessary in order for us to take appropriate action.
- we reasonably believe that the collection is reasonably necessary to help locate a person who has been reported as missing.
If Legal Aid ACT has this information it is allowed to provide your biometric information (such as your fingerprints or photograph) or your biometric templates (digital representations of your distinct characteristics) to an enforcement body (like the Australian Federal Police, Department of Immigration) if we comply with any guidelines made by the Information Privacy Commissioner. Legal Aid ACT may also disclose personal information to Commonwealth intelligence agencies where that disclosure is authorised by the head of the intelligence agency and the agency certifies that the collection of this personal information from Legal Aid ACT is necessary for its functions.
Sharing information with service providers
Legal Aid ACT contracts with service providers to support us to carry out specific activities and functions.
In some circumstances it may be necessary for Legal Aid ACT to share personal information with these service providers to enable them to perform their functions efficiently and effectively.
In these situations we protect personal information by only entering into contracts with service providers who agree to comply with Territory requirements for the personal protection of personal information
Disclosure of personal information overseas
In some circumstances Legal Aid ACT may need to share or store information with overseas recipients.
If this disclosure is necessary we will take reasonable steps before disclosing the information to ensure that the recipient treats the personal information with the similar standard of care as is required by the Information Privacy Act.
In some cases, the information will already be sufficiently protected under the law governing the overseas recipient, and you can access mechanisms to enforce those protections.
If it is practical and reasonable to do so we will obtain your consent to overseas disclosure. However, there may be situations where we are unable, for example, where we share information as part of a law enforcement activity.
Quality of personal information
Legal Aid ACT is required to take reasonable steps to ensure that the personal information we collect is accurate, up to date and complete.
Personal information we use or disclose must be relevant for the purpose for which we use or disclose it.
In some circumstances and if it is appropriate, we can assist you to correct your personal information held by us if it is no longer accurate, up to date and complete.
Storage and security of personal information
Legal Aid ACT is required to take reasonable steps to ensure that personal information it holds is safe and secure.
We strive to protect your personal information from misuse, interference or loss and from unauthorised access, use, modification or disclosure in accordance with the Information Privacy Act 2014.
The Territory Records Act establishes frameworks for the management of your personal information if it is held within the files or data systems of Legal Aid ACT.
Our information technology systems employ comprehensive protections to guard against unauthorised access. Paper based files are stored securely.
As a part of our general practice personal information is only available to staff who need to have access in order to perform their roles.
Accessing your personal information
In accordance with the Information Privacy Act (Territory Principles 12 and 13) you have the right to ask for access to personal information that Legal Aid ACT holds about you. You are also entitled to request that we correct that personal information, if you believe it is no longer accurate or up to date.
If you contact us to request access to your personal information we must provide you with access to your information in an appropriate manner, if it is reasonable and practicable to do so.
If it is not reasonable or practicable we must respond to your request in writing within 30 days telling you why we are unable to provide you with access to that information.
We will not charge you any fees for making the request or providing you with access.
You also have the right under the Freedom of Information Act 1989 to request access to documents that we hold and ask for information that we hold about you to be changed or annotated if it is incomplete, incorrect, out of date or misleading.
Correcting your personal information
If you ask Legal Aid ACT to correct your personal information, we must take reasonable steps to correct the information if we are satisfied that it is incorrect, inaccurate, incomplete, irrelevant, out of date or misleading.
If we agree to correct information and that information has previously been shared with another agency, you may request that we notify the other agency of the possible need for them to correct that information.
There may be reasons why we refuse to correct that information, for example if we are required or authorised by law not to correct the information.
If we refuse to correct the information we must give you written notice of why we have refused to correct your information and how you may complain about our decision, within 30 days.
If we refuse to correct your personal information, you can ask us to attach or link a statement that you believe the information is incorrect and why, to the information.
We will not charge you any fees for making the request for correction, correcting the information or attaching a statement to the personal information.
How to make a complaint
Complaints about how Legal Aid ACT has managed your personal information need to be made in writing to the contact details below. We are also able to assist you to lodge your complaint if required.
We will consider your complaint to work out how we can resolve your issue satisfactorily.
We will tell you promptly that we have received your complaint and then respond to the complaint within 30 days.
If you are not satisfied with our response you may ask for a review by a more senior officer or you can make a formal privacy complaint to the Australian Privacy Commissioner under section 34 of the Information Privacy Act.
The Australian Privacy Commissioner is an independent body that will assess your complaint and can make a determination that our actions are an interference with your privacy. If your complaint is upheld by the Commissioner you may be able to seek a remedy in the Magistrates Court.
How to contact us
You can contact us by:
Telephone: 02 6243 3411
Facsimile: 02 6243 3438
Or through assisted contact:
National Relay Service (NRS)
- TTY users phone
- Speak and Listen users phone
- Internet relay users connect to the NRS
- Translating and Interpreting Service
Apart from a local call cost these are free services for you.
Legal Aid ACT follows all relevant laws when handling personal information.
Freedom of Information
Members of the public can seek access to documents held by Legal Aid ACT, or to change the personal information that we hold, by making a request under ACT freedom of information laws.
Legal Aid ACT will make your files available to you to inspect on an informal request, or under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act. If you want access to your file or copies of documents you can come to our Civic office in person together with personal identification, or you can write to us with your request.
You will not be able to access information which is considered exempt under the FOI Act.
Legal Aid ACT handles all personal information in accordance with ACT privacy laws.
The privacy of information given to us concerning your affairs is protected by section 92 of the Legal Aid Act 1977 (the Act). The information will not be disclosed to third parties unless you consent to disclosure, or disclosure is permitted by the Act. Information is shared between the staff of Legal Aid ACT, and with your lawyer, to the extent necessary to make properly informed decisions about the provision of legal assistance. For example, we may need to ask your lawyer for information relevant to your eligibility for legal assistance.