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Annual Report 2019 - 2020

Legislative compliance and fair processes

Full compliance with public interest disclosures

Legal Aid NSW has complied with our six-monthly reporting obligations under the Public Interest Disclosures Act 1994 (NSW).

Public interest disclosures 2019–2020
Public officials who have made a public interest disclosure1
Public interest disclosures received by Legal Aid NSW
Corrupt conduct1
Public interest disclosures finalised by Legal Aid NSW
Public interest disclosures made by public officials in performing their day-to-day functions as public officials1

There was one public interest disclosure made during this reporting period. We notified the NSW Ombudsman and the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

Significant judicial decisions relating to the Legal Aid Commission Act 1979 (NSW)

In Gillies v Legal Aid Commission of New South Wales [2020] NSWSC 836, Adamson J confirmed that the CEO of Legal Aid NSW does not fall within section 69 of the Legal Aid Commission Act 1979 (NSW). In that decision, the NSW Supreme Court confirmed that there is no right of appeal to a Legal Aid Review Committee against a determination made by the CEO to refuse legal aid, as the CEO is not a member of staff and occupies a statutory office as per Schedule 3A clause 5 of the Act. Her Honour also confirmed that, subject to an obligation to act reasonably, Legal Aid NSW is entitled to allocate legal aid at its discretion.

In EIF v Legal Aid New South Wales [2020] NSWCATAD 113, the Tribunal held that Legal Aid NSW was not required to disclose the identities of the complainants to a panel practitioner who was the subject of a number of complaints, as such a requirement would be likely to prejudice the supply of information that was necessary for Legal Aid NSW to perform its statutory functions with respect to private practitioners appointed to panels.


Legal Aid NSW manages personal information in accordance with its Privacy Management Plan. The plan explains how we manage personal information under the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (NSW) and the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002 (NSW).

A review of the organisation’s compliance with the privacy legislation was completed this year, resulting in the development of a revised Privacy Management Plan that commenced in April 2020. Legal Aid NSW includes privacy notices in all its application forms and other public documents, and provides advice and guidance to staff on dealing with privacy issues.

Two applications for internal review (privacy complaints) were received during the reporting period. Both internal reviews were conducted in accordance with the privacy legislation and the NSW Privacy Commissioner’s Guidelines. Both applicants subsequently applied to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal for external review. One application was later withdrawn, and the other was ongoing at the end of the reporting period.

Right to information

Legal Aid NSW adopts a proactive approach to the release of information where possible.

The full details of the applications we received under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (NSW) (GIPA Act) are set out in Appendix 7. During the 2019–2020 reporting period we received 23 formal GIPA applications. Most of our applications were requests by individuals for their own information.

There were three applications for internal review of a GIPA decision received in the 2019–2020 reporting period, one application for external review by the Information Commissioner, and four applications for review by the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.