Russell Kennedy provides a broad range of Government and Administrative legal services to clients in local, State and Commonwealth government.
In working with government, Russell Kennedy has developed a unique understanding of its operations and requirements in the use of legal services. Our approach in providing legal services to government takes into consideration policy objectives and broader issues of maintaining the public interest. We are aware of, and responsive to, the political, social and commercial sensitivities of matters for government and suggest appropriate legal strategies and advice to cater for those sensitivities.
Statutory Interpretation and Administrative Law
Russell Kennedy acts for several Victorian departments providing advice on statutory interpretation, drafting and policy matters. We also regularly assist government clients to understand the impact of new or amended legislation on their operations, as well as helping them meet their statutory obligations.
Coronial Inquests and other Inquiries
We have a unique understanding of the complexities of coronial inquests and other inquiries and the risk management based advice required when advising clients in these situations.
We have significant experience representing statutory authorities and hospitals in coronial inquests, acting on behalf of the Victorian State Government departments in coronial inquests and other matters, advising aged care providers in respect of their general obligations in the areas of coronial inquiries and representing members of Victoria Police in regards to inquests, personal injury and other matters.
Judicial and Merits Review
Russell Kennedy understands the issues facing those who are tasked with making administrative decisions and how best to assist those decision makers in discharging their duties. We have advised local, state and commonwealth government regarding judicial and merits review.
FOI and Privacy
Russell Kennedy has experience in advising and assisting agencies in relation to their obligations under freedom of information legislation. Often these requests relate to projects that involve high levels of public scrutiny and/or are of a politically sensitive nature. We understand the obligations on government agencies to release documents on request, and are sensitive to the issues that can arise in relation the release of information that may be contrary to the public interest.
Acting for the Secretary to the Department of Justice in making applications for postsentence supervision orders in respect of serious sex offenders pursuant to the Serious Sex Offenders Monitoring Act 2005 and the Serious Sex Offenders (Detention and Supervision) Act 2009. We have been extensively involved in:
advising on the introduction of the new legislation to Victoria and across Australia;
recommending amendments to both the acts;
providing advice about draft amendments to the legislation; and
advising about the interaction between the Serious Sex Offenders (Detention and
Supervision) Act 2009 and the Disability Act 2006 (Vic) which formed the basis of inter-
Department discussions to harmonise the acts and legislative amendment.
Assisting Victorian Departments in the review of and reform to various Victorian legislation including Equal Opportunity Act 2010, Racial and Religious Tolerance Act 2001, Health Services (Conciliation and Review) Act 1987, Statute Law Amendment (Relationships) Act 2001 and the Crimes (Mental Impairment and Unfitness to be Tried) Act 1997.
Assisting the Department of Justice to develop protocols with the Department of Human Services to manage legislation which overlapped between the departments and advised on legislative reform to manage the interface between the relevant acts.
Assisting the Department of Justice in the development of the Corrections Amendment Bill 2008, which amended the Corrections Act 1986 (Vic) to create a Victims’ Claims Fund. The scheme quarantines certain compensation payments made to prisoners to satisfy compensation claims made by the victims of crimes committed by the prisoner. The Department needed advice within a week on the operation and implications of the scheme, and the areas of law affected by the amendments. That advice, which took into account the responsibilities of other areas beyond the Department’s portfolio responsibilities, also required a comparative analysis of similar legislation interstate and overseas.
Advising and representing government clients on appealing or resisting the appeal of judicial decisions and opposing administrative review of decisions of government and government agencies.
Advising municipal councils regarding judicial or merits review of their statutory decision making.
Developing internal processes and policies for the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons to create a decision making framework that affords procedural fairness and natural justice and minimises the possibility of judicial review of decisions made.
Acting in judicial review and merits review proceedings, including against the Minister for Immigration in respect of decisions made about visa applications for immigrants and asylum seekers.
We advise clients on politically sensitive FOI matters. These involve ministerial communications, requests from the Victorian Opposition and applications by media representatives or members of the public. We have also represented the Victorian Government and various government departments and authorities in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal and court hearings.
Our team regularly advises on and drafts privacy policies to ensure compliance with the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth), Information Privacy Act 2000 (Vic), Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic), Health Records Act 2001 (Vic) and associated regulations and guidelines.
Russell Kennedy assists statutory water corporations and local government authorities in several requests made under freedom of information laws.