Freedom of Information: Department of Justice

The Western Australian Freedom of Information Act 1992 gives the public a right to access information held by the Department.

If you are searching for court transcripts and documents of a judicial nature please contact the relevant court directly as these documents are accessible outside of the Freedom of Information provisions.

Information statement

The information statement, as required by the Freedom of Information Act 1992, is incorporated in the Annual Reports for the former Department of the Attorney General and the former Department of Corrective Services.

Application form

Access to personal information

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No fee or charge is payable for an application for personal information about the applicant. All applications relating to personal information must be in writing. Personal information can be:

  • factual or routine information, for example, date of birth, length of employment, qualifications and/or
  • opinions or evaluative material such as advice or recommendations of a third party - for example records of interviews, material in personnel records.

With the exception of individuals currently in the custody of the Department, applications to access the personal information of an applicant must be accompanied by proof of identification documentation.

All applications lodged on behalf of another person must be accompanied by the written authorisation of the individual on whose behalf the application is lodged.

Amendment of personal information

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A person can apply to amend personal information in a document held by the Department.

With the exception of individuals currently in the custody of the Department, applications to amend the personal information of an applicant must be accompanied by proof of identification documentation.

All applications lodged on behalf of another person must be accompanied by the written authorisation of the individual on whose behalf the application is lodged.

Applicants must provide details and, if necessary, documentation in support of their claim to amend inaccurate, incomplete, out-of-date or misleading information.

In addition, applicants must indicate how they want the amendment to be made within the options set out in the Freedom of Information Act 1992, including:

  • altering information
  • striking out or deleting information
  • inserting information
  • inserting a note in relation to information.

Access to non-personal information

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Requests for access to information held by the Department of Justice that do not relate solely to the applicant under the Freedom of Information Act 1992, must be made as non-personal applications.

Access to prisoner information

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The Department of Justice understands it can be a difficult time for families and friends when a loved one is in prison.

If you, your family or a friend wants to know more about a prisoner, you can write to the Minister for Corrective Services or the Commissioner, Corrective Services. Before you do though, it's important to get prisoner consent.

Certain prisoner information can be accessed as outlined below. However, access to specific prisoner records, is only available through the Freedom of Information process.

Location of a prisoner

To request the location of a prisoner in Western Australia, please complete the online enquiry form. Your request must include the following in the message field:

  • The full name of the person you wish to know the location of, as well as any other details you have which will assist us in identifying the person (eg date of birth)
  • Your full name including contact details and
  • Your relationship to the person you are requesting the location of or your reasons for requesting the information.

If you do not have access to email, please call the Department's Information Release area on Monday to Friday between 7.00 am to 3.00 pm on +61 8 9264 1711. An officer will note down the above details in order for your request to be processed and we will respond to your query.

Note: Incomplete details may cause delays in processing the request.

Obtaining prisoner consent

To make it lawful for the Department to pass on prisoner information, the prisoner must consent to the release of information. Consent may be provided by the prisoner concerned by completing the Prisoner Consent for Verbal Release of Information (PDF) form with the assistance of a prison officer.

The consent of the prisoner concerned is required so that the Department can comply with its Policy Directive 6 - Access to Information (PDF) and the national privacy principles of the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth). Under both of these, the Department cannot release any information regarding the specific details or management of any prisoner to a third party, even family and friends, without that prisoner’s written consent.

Release of Prisoner information

The Minister and/or the Commissioner will only release prisoner information after the prisoner concerned has consented to the release of information. On receipt of consent, they will be in a better position to provide you with an understanding of your loved one's condition and management.

If you wish to write to the Commissioner or the Minister, the correct address is:

Commissioner:

Commissioner for Corrective Services
Department of Justice
David Malcolm Justice Centre
GPO Box F317
PERTH WA 6841

Minister:

Honourable Francis Logan MLA
Minister for Emergency Services and Corrective Services

Dumas House
10th Floor
2 Havelock Street
PERTH WA 6005
Telephone: +61 8 6552 6300
Facsimile: +61 8 6552 6301

Access to health information on ex-prisoners for health providers

Community health care providers can access medical information about patients who are ex-prisoners through a dedicated telephone line provided by the Department.

The Department provides all prisoners with a written summary of their medical records when they are released from custody. To enable ongoing clinical care to be given by the relevant community health care provider, where patients have mislaid this information, a 1800 telephone number has been set up.

The 1800 077 735 number (the Department’s Central Medical Records) is available to all health care providers during normal business hours. Outside these hours details of the enquiry (including name of enquirer and telephone number) can be left on an answering machine and will be responded to as soon as possible.

Lodgement of Applications

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All Freedom of Information applications must be:

  • in writing;
  • give enough information to enable the requested information to be identified;
  • give an Australian address;
  • give any other information or details required under the Freedom of Information Regulations 1993; and
  • be lodged with the Department and accompanied by the $30.00 application fee (non-personal applications only).

Freedom of Information applications (PDF) for the Department of Justice may be lodged:

By post, addressed to:

Freedom of Information
Department of Justice
GPO Box F317
PERTH WA 6841

In person, addressed to:

Freedom of Information
Department of Justice
Level 2, Gordon Stephenson House
140 William Street
PERTH WA 6000

Note: the public entrance is via Railway Lane off the Murray Street Mall

By email: foi@justice.wa.gov.au

By facsimile: +61 8 9481 8504

Freedom of Information queries for the Department of Justice should be directed to foi@justice.wa.gov.au or +61 8 9264 1124.

Applications for documents dealing with legal matters that involve the State Solicitor’s Office should be addressed to:

FOI Coordinator
State Solicitor’s Office
PO Box B83
PERTH WA 6001

Applications for documents dealing with wills, trusts and estate management should be addressed to:

FOI Coordinator
Public Trustee
GPO Box M946
PERTH WA 6843

Applications for documents relating to personal guardianship should be addressed to:

Public Advocate
PO Box 6293
PERTH WA 6892

Applications for documents relating to the State Administrative Tribunal should be addressed to:

State Administrative Tribunal
GPO Box U1991
PERTH WA 6845

Service delivery

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Under the Freedom of Information Act 1992, the Department is required to process requests for information within 45 days of receiving the application. There is provision under section 23 of the Freedom of Information Act 1992 to refuse access to documents and information on a range of grounds. Applicants have a right of appeal in these cases, initially to the Department and subsequently to the Information Commissioner.

Notice of decision

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The applicant will receive in writing, notice of the Department's decision relating to the request. The notice will include the following information:

  • date of the decision
  • name and designation of the decision maker
  • reasons for deleting any matter
  • reasons for deferring access
  • arrangements for giving access
  • reasons for refusing access to any matter
  • the amount and basis for any charges levied and
  • the rights of review and procedures to be followed.

Review rights

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Applicants have the right to submit a written request for a review of the decision. This must be done within 30 days after being given notice of the decision. The review is to be conducted by a person other than the person who made the original decision. The agency must respond with a written notice of decision within 15 days and no fees are involved.

If the applicant remains unhappy, they may lodge a written complaint to the Office of the Information Commissioner within 60 days following the internal review decision (30 days for third parties). The Commissioner's decision is final unless an appeal is made to the Supreme Court on a question of law.

Charges

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The Department can apply the following charges when processing a non-personal FOI application:

  • charge for time taken dealing with the application - $30.00 per hour
  • charge for access time supervised by staff - $30.00 per hour
  • charges for photocopying - $30.00 per hour for staff time; and 20c per copy
  • charges for staff time in transcribing information from a tape or other device - $30.00 per hour
  • charge for duplicating a tape, film or computer information - actual cost
  • charge for delivery, packaging and postage - actual cost.

In cases where charges levied are expected to be higher than $25.00, the applicant will be provided with an estimate of charges as soon as possible after receipt of the application. The Department reserves the right to request an advance deposit. A reduction in charges may be sought in the case of financial hardship.

Page reviewed 26 November 2020