Solicitors do not need to provide a separate authority document from their clients. An application under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act) from a solicitor can be just in the form of a letter stating who they represent and the fact that the application is made under the GIPA Act.
If the client is a current inmate or on a low income, the application fee of $15.00 can be requested. Otherwise the fee is $30.00. If the client is not currently an inmate, a photocopy of a health benefits card or similar is required to qualify for the lower application fee. The legislative requirements for an application are set out in section 41 of the GIPA Act.
Solicitors representing clients who wish to lodge a claim with Victim Services for an injury incurred as the result of an assault in custody, should ask for the 'assault package' for the relevant incident (a date of incident should be provided). The application should state that third-party information is not included in the scope of the application. Out-of-scope information is deleted with the remainder of the record released. Victims Services has advised that the names of alleged assailants and offender witnesses are not required for claims.
Applications can take at least 20 working days to process – in some cases longer. Accordingly, applications should be lodged with this Unit taking into consideration the length of time to process an application.
All applicants, including solicitors, are advised to only apply for the specific records that they need rather than simply asking for all files. Agencies are not obliged to process applications that would be an unreasonable and substantial diversion of resources.
The staff members of the Information Access & Privacy Unit are happy to help you draft the scope of your application and to provide advice on what records may be of assistance to you.