Freedom of Information
Anyone can apply for access to documents and records held by Legal Aid WA. If our documents contain personal information about you that is incorrect or incomplete, you can ask us to fix what is wrong.
This information will help you to understand how you can access documents and personal information held by Legal Aid WA. Find out:
- how to ask for documents
- how to make a formal Freedom of Information (FOI) request to Legal Aid WA
- how you can correct your personal information.
How do I ask for documents?
The first step is normally to contact the Legal Aid WA office that was involved in creating the information and ask if you can be given a copy of the documents. Where appropriate, we will try to provide documents without needing you to make a formal Freedom of Information (FOI) request.
If you are not given the documents you want, you can make a formal request under the Freedom of Information Act 1992 (WA).
How do I make a formal FOI request?
<< You can now apply online to submit an FOI application using this link >>
If you do not want to use the online form, formal FOI requests must be in writing, addressed to Legal Aid WA’s FOI Coordinator. Your application can be sent to any of our offices.
You need to provide enough information about what you are looking for, so that we can find the documents in our system. It is helpful to include names, dates, locations or addresses, reference numbers, and subject topics in your application.
Your application should say whether or not you want copies of the documents, or just to come and look through them. You must provide an Australian address so we can contact you about the application (an email address alone is not sufficient) and also pay the correct application fee.
If you do not want to include any personal or business information about another person, please write this down. It will save time in processing your application.
How does Legal Aid WA deal with my FOI request?
Once we have found all the documents relevant to your application, we will make a decision for every document about whether to release it in full, edit it, or deny access to that document. Your application must be determined as soon as possible, and within:
- 30 days for access to personal records, or
- 45 days for access to non-personal records.
We will write to you and tell you the outcome of your application. If we have decided to edit or refuse access to documents, we will explain why and tell you your rights to have the decision reviewed.
How can I get Legal Aid WA to correct my personal information?
You have the right to ask us to correct your personal information that is in our documents if you believe the information is inaccurate, incomplete, out of date, or misleading.
Requests must be made in writing, addressed to Legal Aid WA’s FOI Coordinator, and can be sent to any of our offices. You need to include a return mailing address so we can contact you.
Requests must include enough detail that we can identify the document and the personal information you want corrected. You must explain why the information needs to be changed and should give us some proof to support that belief if possible.
You should tell us how you want the personal information to be corrected. We can change the information by altering it, crossing it out, adding new information or adding a note to the document. Normally we do not permanently delete or remove information, or destroy documents.
What if I am unhappy with a FOI decision?
You can ask for an internal review by the Director of Legal Aid if you are unhappy with any part of a decision about accessing or correcting information, including releasing your information to someone else.
If you are unhappy with the internal review (or if the Director of Legal Aid WA made the original decision), you can lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner of WA, asking for an external review of the decision.
More explanation is available from the Office of the Information Commissioner of WA.
Are there fees or charges for making FOI applications?
It is free to ask for documents that contain personal information that is just about you. We will edit the documents to remove all the personal information about anyone else from the copies before we give them to you (for example, the names of lawyers, other parties, or witnesses).
It is free to ask us to correct your personal information.
If you want to access information that is not just about yourself, you will need to pay a $30 application fee, as well as charges to cover the cost of processing your application.
You can ask us to give you an estimate of charges when you send in your FOI application. Even if you don’t ask, we must give you an estimate of the charges if they are likely to be more than $25 and check that you want us to go ahead and deal with your application.
There are no application fees or charges to ask for internal or external reviews.
If you have questions about accessing documents or correcting your personal information, you can contact Legal Aid WA’s Freedom of Information Coordinator by calling our Perth switchboard on (08) 9261 6222.
More information about Freedom of Information
Office of the Information Commissioner of WA
- Is FOI my best option?
- Steps for access applicants
- Requirements for a valid access application
- How much does it cost?
- Can I get everything I want under FOI?
- Review of agency decisions
- Role of the Information Commissioner
- Amendment of personal information
Reviewed: 25 February 2021.