Terms & Conditions

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Accessibility

Australian Government departments and agencies are required by the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 to ensure that online information and services are accessible by people with disabilities.

Our website has been designed to meet the Government Online and National Office for the Information Economy standards, including those that relate to access for people with disabilities. The design work has drawn on the Web Accessibility Initiative of the World Wide Web Consortium—see www.w3.org/WAI—and incorporates all relevant priority 1 and 2 requirements.

If there is data that you require and it is in a format you cannot access, or if you experience any other accessibility difficulties, please advise us by emailing webhelp@ags.gov.au.

© Commonwealth of Australia All rights reserved

[Unless otherwise indicated, material on this website is copyright Commonwealth of Australia.]

Material contained on this website is copyright. You may download, store in cache, display, print and copy this material in unaltered form only (retaining this notice or links to it where they appear) for your personal, non-commercial use or use within your organisation. Apart from any use as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, all other rights are reserved. Requests for further authorisation should be sent to webhelp@ags.gov.au.

Privacy

AGS recognises the importance of protecting people’s privacy and their personal information. The following sections outline the obligations, policies and practices that AGS has in place for the management and protection of the personal information that it collects and holds.

About AGS

AGS provides legal and related services primarily to Australian Government departments and agencies. We operate on a fully commercial and competitive basis as a legal practice in public ownership.

AGS is a statutory authority under the Judiciary Act 1903 and is prescribed as a government business enterprise by regulation made under the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997.

About the Privacy Act

The Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act) imposes privacy obligations in relation to personal information held in the records of certain agencies and organisations. These obligations relate to the collection, storage, access, use and disclosure of personal information.

  • ‘Personal information’ is information in any form about an identifiable, living individual.

  • ‘Record’ means a document or database (however kept) or a photograph or other pictorial representation of a person. It does not include a generally available publication, library reference material or records accessible through the National Archives of Australia.

AGS and the Privacy Act

By regulation made under subsection 7A(2) of the Privacy Act, AGS is prescribed as an ‘organisation’ for the purposes of the Act. This means that AGS is subject to the National Privacy Principles (NPPs) which regulate the way private sector organisations collect, use, keep secure and disclose personal information.

AGS is also a contracted service provider (CSP) for the purposes of the Privacy Act when it provides legal and related services under contracts with Commonwealth agencies. Under section 95B of the Act, Commonwealth agencies are required to take contractual measures to ensure that CSPs (which include sub-contractors) do not breach the Information Privacy Principles (IPPs) which are the rules that govern the way federal public sector agencies handle personal information. In addition, CSPs are required to comply with NPPs 7 to 10 and section 16F (information under Commonwealth contract not to be used for direct marketing). This means that AGS is obliged to follow the IPPs as well as the NPPs with respect to personal information relating to the provision of legal services to the Commonwealth.

(Detailed information on the NPPs and IPPs can be found on the Privacy Commissioner’s website at Federal Privacy Law).

In order to comply with its obligations under the Privacy Act, AGS has a policy to handle all the personal information that it collects, holds and uses, in accordance with the IPPs and those NPPs which do not have an IPP equivalent.

In addition to the requirements under the Privacy Act, our obligations to protect personal information arise from other sources including the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 and the Crimes Act 1914. Also, our lawyers are subject to professional obligations arising from Commonwealth, state and territory law.

The sort of personal information that AGS collects and its purpose

Broadly, AGS collects personal information in order to:

  • provide professional legal and related services to our clients

  • manage our employees and contractors, including to consider prospective employees

  • receive services from suppliers

  • advise our clients of the latest legal developments

  • promote and market our activities to our clients.

The types of personal information that we hold will depend on the nature of the legal matter we are conducting for a client or the particular business activity or management function being undertaken. This information includes (but is not limited to) names, residential and work telephone numbers, residential, work and email addresses, occupations, employment histories, family backgrounds and financial records.

Where an obligation under a contract of service requires AGS to do so, we collect and hold some types of sensitive information. Sensitive information is personal information about an individual’s racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, membership of a political association, religious beliefs or affiliations, philosophical beliefs, membership of a professional or trade association, membership of a trade union, sexual preferences or practices, criminal record or health information.

How AGS collects personal information

Our clients supply us with certain personal information to enable us to provide them with legal or related services. This information might relate to our clients’ employees or to other persons associated with the particular legal matter. Where it is reasonably practicable to do so, we will collect this information directly from the employee or person concerned.

On occasions, we may need to gather personal information from other sources such as public records and third parties, for example, reports from referees of prospective employees, medical or other reports on claimants for compensation. Depending on the circumstances, reasonable steps will be taken to ensure that the individual is, or has been, made aware of:

  • our identity and how to contact us

  • the fact that he or she can get access to the personal information that is being gathered about him or her

  • the purposes of the collection of that information

  • with whom else we might share the information.

We will only collect sensitive information (for example medical information) about an individual if:

  • the individual has consented

  • the law requires the collection

  • the collection is necessary for the establishment, exercise or defence of a legal or equitable claim, or for a proper legal forensic purpose, or

  • the collection is necessary to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to the life or health of any person and the individual whom the information concerns is incapable of consenting to the collection.

We understand that anonymity is an important element of privacy. Unless there is a legal or practical reason or a contractual obligation which requires identification, individuals have the option of not identifying themselves when entering business transactions with us.

We will record your email address if you send us a message. If you would prefer that your personal details not be included on our mailing lists for marketing purposes, please advise us and we will comply with your request.

You should be aware that AGS mail server systems record all incoming emails before they can be accessed by AGS employees. These emails are screened by our email security systems and, as part of that process, can be viewed by authorised AGS information technology personnel.

More generally, you are reminded that email sent over the internet is not secure, and could be intercepted without your knowledge. AGS has other methods of receiving information such as normal mail, fax, telephone and face-to-face. You may prefer to use one of these methods.

How AGS uses and discloses personal information

We use and disclose personal information for the primary purpose for which it was collected, namely to enable us to carry out our business as a professional legal practice. We may also use and disclose personal information for reasonably expected secondary purposes directly related to the primary purpose or for other purposes permitted under the Privacy Act.

The people or organisations with whom we might share personal information include, but are not limited to:

  • our clients (with respect to personal information we have gathered in relation to a legal matter we are undertaking for them)

  • barristers and other individuals or organisations who assist us in providing legal services

  • courts, tribunals and regulatory authorities

  • law enforcement agencies, where appropriate

  • contractors or agents who provide services to us, for example, off-site storage facilities for our files and banks who transmit payments on our behalf.

We use personal information to promote and market our legal and related services, such as legal seminars and publications, to our clients and other interested parties. We do not disclose personal information, for example mailing lists, to third parties to allow them to direct market their services and products.

On occasions, it might be necessary for us to send personal information overseas, for example to a foreign based legal firm with which we are collaborating on a legal matter. We will not send the information outside Australia without the person’s express or implied consent or otherwise complying with NPP 9 (transborder data flows) or where we are obliged to do so under a contract providing services to a government or government-owned entity.

Access to personal information held by AGS

AGS will provide individuals with access to personal information about them that AGS holds, subject to any applicable exceptions under the Privacy Act. We will first require the individual to be able to verify his or her identity and specify the information he or she wishes to access.

Where we refuse access to the information being sought, we will provide the individual concerned with reasons for the refusal.

People will not be charged for lodging a request to access personal information. We may, however, charge individuals a fee to cover the reasonable administrative costs involved in providing access to their personal information. The fee will be determined on a case by case basis and the individual will be informed beforehand of the likely cost.

Requests for access to personal information should, in the first instance, be directed to our Corporate Secretary—details provided at the end of this statement. AGS employees seeking their employment details should initially do so in accordance with our personnel procedures.

Accuracy and security of personal information held by AGS

We will endeavour to ensure that personal information sought and held by AGS is relevant, accurate, complete and up-to-date. If an individual is able to establish that information held by AGS about him or her is not correct, complete or up-to-date we will take reasonable steps to amend it.

If we disagree with the individual’s view about the accuracy, completeness or currency of the information, we will provide reasons for our refusal to amend the information and where requested, take reasonable steps to record a statement on our files that he or she has a contrary view.

AGS uses a range of physical and electronic security measures to protect personal information from misuse and loss and from unauthorised access, modification or disclosure. These measures include but are not limited to restricted physical access to our offices, security containers, firewalls, secure databases, computer user identifiers and passwords.

Visiting our website

When you look at this website our server makes a record of your visit and logs the following information:

  • your server address

  • your top level domain name (for example .com, .gov, .au, .uk)

  • the date and time of the visit to the site

  • the pages accessed and documents downloaded

  • the previous site visited

  • the type of browser used.

The data listed above is collected to facilitate website and system administration, including monitoring to prevent security breaches and enhancement of the website to meet users’ needs.

We will not attempt to identify users or their browsing activities except in the unlikely event of a criminal investigation, for example where a law enforcement agency has issued a warrant to inspect our server’s logs.

We do not use cookies when people make general visits to our website. Cookies are small text files that may be transferred to your computer’s memory by the servers of some of the websites you visit. Their purpose is to track and store information about a visitor’s usage of a website.

We do use cookies in relation to some of the specific web pages we have established for particular clients to allow them limited access to information on our intranet. These cookies are used only during a browsing session and expire when the visitor closes his or her browser.

External sites that are linked to or from the AGS website are not under our control and you are advised to view their privacy statements separately.

Complaints procedures

If you have a concern regarding the way in which we handle your personal information and wish to make a complaint, please contact our Corporate Secretary—details provided at the end of this statement.

Under the Privacy Act, the Privacy Commissioner has the power to investigate complaints or acts or practices that may be a breach of privacy even if there is no complaint. If you have made a complaint to AGS about an AGS practice which you think amounts to an arbitrary or unreasonable interference with your privacy and you do not believe that the matter has been resolved satisfactorily, you should either write to the Privacy Commissioner setting out the details of the practices which you think interfere with your privacy, or telephone the Privacy Hotline 1300 363 992 (local call charge).

If you wish, you are able to make a complaint directly to the Privacy Commissioner rather than to AGS. In most cases, however, it is likely that the Office of the Privacy Commissioner would refer you to AGS, in the first instance, to see if your complaint can be resolved without requiring the involvement of the Office.

Further information

To find out more about how AGS manages personal information, please contact:

Norm Holcroft
Corporate Secretary
Australian Government Solicitor
T: 02 6253 7204 | F: 02 6253 7305
Email: Norm Holcroft

For more general information on the Privacy Act and the IPPs and NPPs:

As necessary we will, from time to time, review and revise this privacy policy statement. We reserve the right to amend this policy at any time and any amendments will be notified by posting an updated version on our website at http://www.ags.gov.au.

Disclaimer

While AGS has exercised due care in ensuring the accuracy of the material contained on this website, the information on the site is made available on the understanding that AGS is not engaged in rendering professional advice here. The website may not cover all the information available on a particular issue.

Some material on this site may include or summarise views, standards or recommendations of third parties. The inclusion of such material is not an endorsement by AGS of that material; nor does it indicate a commitment to any particular course of action.

Before relying on the material contained on the website, users should obtain appropriate professional advice relevant to their particular circumstances to evaluate the material’s accuracy, currency, completeness and relevance for their purposes.

Links provided to other websites are provided for the user’s convenience and do not constitute endorsement of the information at those sites. AGS accepts no responsibility for material contained in any website that is linked to this site.

Contact us at webhelp@ags.gov.au should you have any questions or issues about the above information.

No spam

The email addresses published on this page are provided for the benefit of our clients and those wishing to contact AGS on legitimate business. Accordingly, any unsolicited commercial electronic messages we receive at any of the published email addresses may be referred to the Australian Communications and Media Authority for prosecution. Please note that AGS does not generally provide legal services or advice to private individuals or organisations.

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