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Access to information

  • GIPA request delays

    GIPA request delays

    There may be delays for staff in responding to GIPA requests, particularly where archived information is requested.

    If we believe there will be delays in responding to your GIPA request, we will notify you as soon as possible and keep you updated throughout the process.

    During this time please submit all GIPA requests by email to our In-house Counsel Unit:

    We appreciate your co-operation.

Under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (NSW), referred to as the "GIPA Act", members of the public can access government information. The objective of the GIPA Act is to make government information more accessible by:

  • requiring government agencies to make certain information freely available.
  • encouraging government agencies to release as much information as possible.
  • giving the public an enforceable right to make applications for government information, and
  • restricting access to information only when there is an overriding public interest against disclosure.

The type of information that is accessible under the GIPA Act and the related process to access that information varies.

Information held by Legal Aid NSW is available to the public in two main ways. These are via mandatory or proactive release for ‘open access information’ and/ or by a request for information.

Under the law, Legal Aid NSW is required to publicly release certain information and make it available on our website, free of charge. This is known as ‘open access information’ and includes:

  • policy documents
  • documents tabled in Parliament
  • information guide
  • disclosure log
  • details of information not disclosed to the public
  • register of government contracts
  • major assets and property disposals.

You can find all the open access information published by Legal Aid NSW on the Open access information page.

The information that may be available by request is any information other than open access information. Legal Aid NSW is authorised and encouraged to release records held upon request, subject to any overriding public interest reasons against disclosure.

To read more about the exception, its application, and how it might affect you, please visit Information and Privacy Commission NSW | Fact Sheet - What is the public interest test?

Please note that Legal Aid NSW is only required to hold most client records for 7 years. If you are requesting information that is outside of that scope (7 years), it may be unlikely that we will still hold it.

How to make an information request

What to do when making a GIPA application
You can request any records or documents that may be held by Legal Aid NSW.
You can request personal (relating to individual/s) or non-personal information.
You must specify the records that you require. The more specific, the more targeted.
What NOT to do when making a GIPA application
You should not frame a request by asking for ‘all’ documents relative to a particular matter. It is best that your request be specific to the type of information, records, or documents that you seek. This enables effective and efficient searches to be undertaken to identify the information requested.
You cannot request an answer to a question. The request must be for information that is already contained in a specific record or document.
If the scope of the request is too large, then it may be refused on the grounds that it is an unreasonable and a substantial diversion of resources. You will be provided with an opportunity to narrow the scope of your application prior to refusal. Please note that significant processing charges may also apply to applications that take a long time to process. It is advised to only ask for the information that you need.
It is not advised to apply for documents that relate to current legal proceedings. These types of requests are best dealt with via subpoena or a court order.
It is not advised to request records or documents that are already available to you by other means. Please refer to the (insert hyperlink) Legal Aid NSW GIPA Homepage for more information regarding our already published information.

If the information you need is not already published on our website, we may still be able to release it to you on request, without a formal access application. This is known as an ‘informal request’.

If you have previous dealings with Legal Aid NSW and wish to submit an informal request, you should contact the office you dealt with at first instance for the quickest response. For metro and regional offices contact details see Our offices.

If that office cannot assist you, you can contact the Legal Aid NSW In-House Counsel Unit via email at – provide your full name, contact details and a clear summary of the information you seek.

For example:

My name is [insert name]. I was a client of Gosford Legal Aid in 2017. I wish to gain access to the information that Legal Aid has on file in relation to my 2017 criminal matter. My Legal Aid file number was [insert file number]. My phone number is [insert phone number] and my email is [insert email]’.

In order to protect our client’s privacy, if you are requesting information in relation to a Legal Aid grant or any assistance that we have provided we may still require you to provide a copy of valid identification before we consider your informal request. However, if this is required, we will let you know.

If the information you seek cannot be accessed via the Legal Aid NSW website or an informal request, you can make a formal access application. This involves a written application which can be completed by download our formal access application form (PDF, 93 kb), as well as providing an access fee of $30.

When completing your formal access application, a reminder to:

  • nominate an email address or postal address for correspondence
  • ensure you put your correct personal details – if you are a legal practitioner making this application on behalf of a client, please provide your own details as well as the client’s
  • provide a copy of a valid form of identification (such as Drivers Licence) – if you are a legal practitioner making this application on behalf of a client, please include a signed authority along with a copy of their valid form of identification, and
  • provide the $30 application fee (by Electronic Funds Transfer with the reference ‘YourName/GIPA’) or by providing credit or card details for charge).

If your application does not include all of the above, it may be deemed invalid and unable to be processed. If that happens, we will let you know what you need to do to make your application valid.

Applications can be emailed it to or mailed to:

Right to Information Officer
Legal Aid NSW
PO Box K 847

Note: If sending the application by post there may be a delay in receiving your application.

Note: no cash payments will be accepted. Please either provide your credit or debit card details in the paper application or complete an Electronic Funds Transfer with the reference ‘YourName/GIPA’.

For further information on formal access applications including estimated processing times, please see Formal access application further information.


Access application form

Access application form PDF | English | April 2023 | 93 kb

Internal review form

Internal review form PDF | English | April 2023 | 51 kb