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Legal services expenditures and conflict of interest

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Dear Office of the Australian Information Commissioner,

A recent foi released documents referring to numerous seconded external law firm employees working embedded in the OAIC. These are law firms also working as representatives for agencies and organisations that are respondents in matters before the OAIC.

I request copy of any document that refers to how such conflicts of interest are managed.

I also request copy of a document listing cost of expenditure of external legal services (including the cost of seconding of external lawyers) for the financial years 2012-2022, by financial year.

I also request a list of external legal firms who have had seconded their employees to the OAIC, by number of employees seconded, in FY2021-2022 and FY2020-2021.

Ciao

Julie

OAIC - Legal, Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

5 Attachments

Our reference: FOIREQ22/00371

 

Dear Julie

 

Freedom of Information request

 

I refer to your request for access to documents made under the Freedom of
Information Act 1982 (Cth) (FOI Act).

Your FOI request was received by the Office of the Australian Information
Commissioner (OAIC) on 5 November 2022. This means that a decision on your
FOI request is currently due on 5 December 2022.

Scope of your request

Your FOI request was made in the following terms:

“A recent foi released documents referring to numerous seconded external
law firm employees working embedded in the OAIC. These are law firms also
working as representatives for agencies and organisations that are
respondents in matters before the OAIC.

 

I request copy of any document that refers to how such conflicts of
interest are managed.

 

I also request copy of a document listing cost of expenditure of external
legal services (including the cost of seconding of external lawyers) for
the financial years 2012-2022, by financial year.

 

I also request a list of external legal firms who have had seconded their
employees to the OAIC, by number of employees seconded, in FY2021-2022 and
FY2020-2021.”

 

In order to process your request as efficiently as possible, I will
exclude duplicates and early parts of email streams that are captured in
later email streams from the scope of this request, unless you advise me
otherwise.

We will not identify you as the FOI applicant during any consultation
process, unless we seek your permission. However, documents that are
within the scope of your request that we may need to consult third parties
about may contain your personal information.

Timeframes for dealing with your request

Section 15 of the FOI Act requires the OAIC to process your request no
later than 30 days after the day we receive it. However, section 15(6) of
the FOI Act allows us a further 30 days in situations where we need to
consult with third parties about certain information, such as business
documents or documents affecting their personal privacy.

The current decision due date for your request is 5 December 2022.  We
will advise you if this timeframe is otherwise extended.

Disclosure Log

Documents released under the FOI Act may be published online on our
disclosure log, unless they contain personal or business information that
would be unreasonable to publish.

Additional information

We note that some information relevant to your request regarding the
OAIC’s appointment of external law firms and legal services expenditure is
available at [1]Legal services expenditure - Home (oaic.gov.au) and
[2]Home Page - Legal Services Panel.

If you would like to discuss your FOI request, please contact me on my
contact details set out below.

Kind regards

 

Molly

 

[3]O A I C logo   Molly Cooke | Lawyer

Legal Services

Office of the Australian
Information Commissioner

GPO Box 5218 Sydney NSW 2001  |
 [4]oaic.gov.au

+61 2 9942 4296  |
[5][email address]
[9]Subscribe [10]Subscribe to
[6]Facebook | [7]LinkedIn | [8]Twitter |   icon Information
Matters

 

Notice:

The information contained in this email message and any attached files may
be confidential information, and may also be the subject of legal
professional privilege. If you are not the intended recipient any use,
disclosure or copying of this email is unauthorised. If you received this
email in error, please notify the sender by contacting the department's
switchboard on 1300 488 064 during business hours (8:30am - 5pm Canberra
time) and delete all copies of this transmission together with any
attachments.

References

Visible links
1. https://www.oaic.gov.au/about-us/our-cor...
2. https://legalservicespanel.gov.au/
3. https://www.oaic.gov.au/
4. https://aus01.safelinks.protection.outlo...
5. mailto:[email address]
6. https://aus01.safelinks.protection.outlo...
7. https://aus01.safelinks.protection.outlo...
8. https://aus01.safelinks.protection.outlo...
10. https://aus01.safelinks.protection.outlo...

OAIC - Legal, Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

5 Attachments

Our reference: FOIREQ22/00371

Dear Julie

I refer to the above FOI request.

Clarification on scope of request

We note that your request includes the following items:

“…

I also request copy of a document listing cost of expenditure of external
legal services (including the cost of seconding of external lawyers) for
the financial years 2012-2022, by financial year.

 

I also request a list of external legal firms who have had seconded their
employees to the OAIC, by number of employees seconded, in FY2021-2022 and
FY2020-2021.”

Noting that you have referred to the different date ranges ‘2012-2022’ and
‘FY2021-2022 and FY2020-2021’ could you please kindly confirm whether in
the first paragraph extracted above you intended to refer to ‘2012-2022’
or if this is intended to read ‘2021-2022.’

It would be much appreciated if you could please confirm this by 12 pm on
Tuesday 15 November 2022. If we do not receive a response by this time we
will proceed with processing your request on the basis that you have
intended to request the cost of expenditure of external legal services for
the financial years 2012-2022 as written in your request.

Kind regards

 

Molly

 

[1]O A I C logo   Molly Cooke | Lawyer

Legal Services

Office of the Australian
Information Commissioner

GPO Box 5218 Sydney NSW 2001  |
 [2]oaic.gov.au

+61 2 9942 4296  |
[3][email address]
[7]Subscribe [8]Subscribe to
[4]Facebook | [5]LinkedIn | [6]Twitter |   icon Information
Matters

 

Notice:

The information contained in this email message and any attached files may
be confidential information, and may also be the subject of legal
professional privilege. If you are not the intended recipient any use,
disclosure or copying of this email is unauthorised. If you received this
email in error, please notify the sender by contacting the department's
switchboard on 1300 488 064 during business hours (8:30am - 5pm Canberra
time) and delete all copies of this transmission together with any
attachments.

References

Visible links
1. https://www.oaic.gov.au/
2. https://aus01.safelinks.protection.outlo...
3. mailto:[email address]
4. https://aus01.safelinks.protection.outlo...
5. https://aus01.safelinks.protection.outlo...
6. https://aus01.safelinks.protection.outlo...
8. https://aus01.safelinks.protection.outlo...

OAIC - Legal, Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

5 Attachments

Our reference: FOIREQ22/00371

 

Dear Julie

I refer to your request made under the Freedom of Information Act 1982
(Cth) (FOI Act).

Your request was received by the Office of the Australian Information
Commissioner (OAIC) on 5 November 2022.

Your request includes documents which contain information concerning an
organisation’s business or professional affairs and third-party personal
information. Accordingly, the OAIC is required to consult with those
individuals and organisations under s 27 and/or s 27A of the FOI Act
before making a decision on the release of those document(s).

For this reason, the period for processing your request has been extended
by 30 days to allow time for this consultation (see s 15(6) of the FOI
Act). This means that the processing period for your request will now end
on 4 January 2023.

The consultation mechanisms under ss 27 and 27A apply when we believe the
person or organisation concerned may wish to contend that the requested
documents are exempt for reasons of personal privacy and/or or may
adversely affect their business or financial affairs.

The FOI decision maker will consider any comments received as part of the
consultation process. However, the final decision about whether to grant
you access to the documents, rests with the FOI decision maker.

In the event that the FOI decision maker makes a decision to release
material, despite objection from a consulted third party, that third party
has review rights available to them should they wish to contest such a
decision.

We will not identify you as the FOI applicant during any consultation
process. Please note that documents that are within the scope of your
request may contain your personal information or information that may
identify you.

Kind regards

 

Molly

 

[1]O A I C logo   Molly Cooke | Lawyer

Legal Services

Office of the Australian
Information Commissioner

GPO Box 5218 Sydney NSW 2001  |
 [2]oaic.gov.au

+61 2 9942 4296  |
[3][email address]
[7]Subscribe [8]Subscribe to
[4]Facebook | [5]LinkedIn | [6]Twitter |   icon Information
Matters

 

Notice:

The information contained in this email message and any attached files may
be confidential information, and may also be the subject of legal
professional privilege. If you are not the intended recipient any use,
disclosure or copying of this email is unauthorised. If you received this
email in error, please notify the sender by contacting the department's
switchboard on 1300 488 064 during business hours (8:30am - 5pm Canberra
time) and delete all copies of this transmission together with any
attachments.

References

Visible links
1. https://www.oaic.gov.au/
2. https://aus01.safelinks.protection.outlo...
3. mailto:[email address]
4. https://aus01.safelinks.protection.outlo...
5. https://aus01.safelinks.protection.outlo...
6. https://aus01.safelinks.protection.outlo...
8. https://aus01.safelinks.protection.outlo...

OAIC - Legal, Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

8 Attachments

Our reference: FOIREQ22/00371

 

Dear Julie

 

Please find attached documents for release, schedule and decision in
relation to the above matter.

 

Kind regards

 

Molly

 

[1]O A I C logo   Molly Cooke | Lawyer

Legal Services

Office of the Australian
Information Commissioner

GPO Box 5218 Sydney NSW 2001  |
 [2]oaic.gov.au

+61 2 9942 4296  |
[3][email address]
[7]Subscribe [8]Subscribe to
[4]Facebook | [5]LinkedIn | [6]Twitter |   icon Information
Matters

 

 

 

Notice:

The information contained in this email message and any attached files may
be confidential information, and may also be the subject of legal
professional privilege. If you are not the intended recipient any use,
disclosure or copying of this email is unauthorised. If you received this
email in error, please notify the sender by contacting the department's
switchboard on 1300 488 064 during business hours (8:30am - 5pm Canberra
time) and delete all copies of this transmission together with any
attachments.

References

Visible links
1. https://www.oaic.gov.au/
2. https://aus01.safelinks.protection.outlo...
3. mailto:[email address]
4. https://aus01.safelinks.protection.outlo...
5. https://aus01.safelinks.protection.outlo...
6. https://aus01.safelinks.protection.outlo...
8. https://aus01.safelinks.protection.outlo...

We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are Julie please sign in and let everyone know.