Why ask us for comment?
Legal Aid Queensland has employees who are experts in their areas of legal practice and may be able to provide comment to the media on a range of issues.
Many of our employees are media trained and have extensive interview experience across all mediums – print, radio and television.
Once you have identified the subject you are interested in getting more information and comment about, contact the Communication & Community Legal Education team.
One of the team members will then help you by either getting more information or organising an interview with a Legal Aid Queensland expert.
Ability to provide comment
Questions of a political nature or about Legal Aid Queensland's funding, organisational structure or management can only be answered by the Chief Executive Officer.
There are a number of other factors which may limit the scope of the information we provide to the media, for example:
Legal Aid Queensland Act
The Legal Aid Queensland Act 1997 makes it an offence for Legal Aid Queensland employees to breach client confidentiality and a client's right to privacy. As a result, Legal Aid Queensland employees are often restricted by what they can say about certain clients and cases.
For example, staff cannot provide any information to the media — or any other party — which would indicate a person had applied to Legal Aid Queensland for legal help. For Legal Aid Queensland to make that information public, even accidentally, it is considered a breach of that person's privacy. Even if the person is not directly identified it would still be a breach of privacy if enough information is given to enable the person to be identified.
Administration of Justice
Our employees are under a duty to the courts to ensure they do not interfere with the administration of justice. They must uphold a range of laws and obligations relating to their conduct as legal professionals and officers of the court. For example Legal Aid Queensland legal officers cannot disclose privileged communication or information which could result in contempt of court.
Commenting on current cases
Legal Aid Queensland represents the majority of individuals charged with criminal offences in Queensland. We strive to provide as much information to media as possible about the criminal cases we undertake.
However, Legal Aid Queensland legal officers can only comment on current or past cases if the information is already in the public domain, will not interfere with the administration of justice, and the comments provided do not breach client confidentiality.
Our legal staff have a professional responsibility to act in the best interests of their clients. Sometimes that means declining media interviews.
Interviews with current or past clients
Legal Aid Queensland often receives requests from the media to interview clients — past or present. When we get requests, the details of the proposed interview are passed onto the client's solicitor and are then communicated to the client for their consideration. Where an interview is clearly not in the best interest of the client, the solicitor may advise against an interview. However, it is ultimately the decision of the client as to whether they want to comment to the media.