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Administrative access policy

Policy statement

Where Legal Aid Queensland (LAQ) acts for you as your solicitor, you are entitled to certain documents held on your file(s). You can apply in writing to LAQ for access to those documents.

This policy is written in the context of the requirements of the Legal Aid Queensland Act 1997, the Right to Information Act 2009, the Information Privacy Act 2009 and the Australian Solicitor Conduct Rules 2012.

Purpose

This policy explains:

  • who can apply
  • how you can apply
  • which files you can apply for
  • which documents you are entitled to access
  • requesting other documents

How do I access my file?

You can apply to access your file(s) if we acted for you as your solicitor in a matter. The matter could be for criminal, civil or family law. If we funded your matter but a private solicitor acted for you, we would not hold your file(s). You will need to make your request to the private solicitor who acted for you.

If you owe a legal aid contribution, you are expected to pay any money owed to us, or make arrangements to pay the money before documents are made available to you.

How do I apply?

  If you would like to request documents from your legal file, you must either:

  1. provide your request in writing and include your signature*; or
  2. provide your request in writing and provide a certified copy of proof of your identity (eg, driver licence, birth certificate, passport) which has been certified by a Justice of the Peace, Commissioner for Declarations or Solicitor as a true copy of the original (for prisoners a copy of your prisoner identity card certified by a Corrective Services Officer is required).

*Note – if you have never been required to provide your signature to LAQ, such as on an application for aid form or by giving written instructions to your lawyer, you will need to provide certified proof of identity (see step 2 above).

You can apply in writing to:

Senior governance officer
Legal Aid Queensland
GPO Box 2449
Brisbane Qld 4001
Phone 1300 65 11 88
Fax 07 3238 3410
Email rti@legalaid.qld.gov.au

In your request, you need to identify which file(s) you want to access documents from. If you have a file reference, eg B0001234 please quote this on your application.

Which documents can I apply for?

You can only apply for access to documents on file(s) where you are the client. This includes both current file(s) and finalised files. You cannot apply for access to file(s) where someone else is the client, eg LAQ acted as solicitor for your child, partner etc.

Which documents am I entitled to access?

When a solicitor creates a file, documents on the file may belong to the solicitor, the client or a third party (another person). You are entitled to documents on the file which belong to you. You may also be able to obtain copies of some documents belonging to the solicitor but the solicitor can charge you a fee for the costs of photocopying.

Documents which belong to you

Generally, you are entitled to:

  • documents which existed before your solicitor started acting for you and which you gave to you solicitor to hold on your behalf
  • documents which came into existence after your solicitor starting acting for you and which were made by your solicitor for your benefit
  • documents which came into existence after your solicitor starting acting for you and which were given to your solicitor as your agent.

Documents which belong to your solicitor

Documents prepared by your solicitor for the benefit of the solicitor.

Documents from third parties

Documents are sometimes received by your solicitor from third parties. You are entitled to these documents only if:

  • the documents were given to your solicitor as your agent, and
  • there is no restriction by the third party preventing your solicitor from giving the documents to you.

Requests for other documents

This administrative access policy aims to make it easier and faster for you to access documents from your client file(s) than under the Right to Information Act 2009 (the RTI Act) or the Information Privacy Act 2009 (the IP Act).

If you do not receive some documents on your file(s) under these guidelines, you may be able to access the documents under the RTI Act or the IP Act.

Legislation and references

  • Right to Information Act 2009
  • Information Privacy Act 2009
  • Legal Aid Queensland Act 1997
  • Australian Solicitor Conduct Rules 2012
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