For urgent matters or general inquiries, please contact us either by phone or email. To request our services, please go to requesting our services and complete an OGC Briefing Sheet. Your matter will then be allocated to one of our lawyers for review. We will send you an email acknowledging your request and advising which lawyer will help you with your matter. Please provide as much information as possible with the Briefing Sheet, including copies of all relevant documents. This will help us to respond to your inquiry promptly.
Generally, the OGC cannot provide personal legal advice to University staff or students. However, we have provided links to services that may be able to help you, at legal services.
We don’t charge for legal services provided to internal clients. However, external legal expenses are usually charged back to the Faculty or Department concerned.
The Delegations of Authority Policy sets out who can sign documents on behalf of the University. However, the Delegations Policy does not address every situation. If you are not sure who should sign a document ask your supervisor or the head of your Faculty or Department.
Documents that aren’t covered by the Delegations Policy must be signed in one of the ways set out below. These documents must be prepared for signing in accordance with the University’s Document Execution Protocol. The OGC will help you to arrange the signing of these documents.
1. Documents that must be signed under section 127(1) of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth)
This usually means either two directors (Senators) or a director and company secretary of Australian Catholic University Limited (the Company) must sign the document. Examples of documents that must be signed under s127(1) are deeds, projects with a high dollar value or involving a significant risk to the University, or when a contractor insists on a document being signed in this way.
Directors of departments within the University are not directors of the Company and are not authorised to sign documents under s127(1). The directors of the Company are the members of Senate.
2. Documents that must be signed under Power of Attorney
The Company has appointed certain persons as Attorneys of the University under a Power of Attorney. The Chief Operating Officer and Director of Finance are both Attorneys of the University. Any document which deals with land (eg. a lease, licence, contract for the sale of land) must be signed by two Attorneys. In most cases, the Chief Operating Officer and Director of Finance will sign these documents.
3. Documents that must be signed by the Vice-Chancellor
All documents that must be signed under s127(1) of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) are signed by the Vice-Chancellor (as company director) and Chief Operating Officer (as company secretary). Other documents to be signed by the Vice-Chancellor are considered on a case-by-case basis.
4. Documents that must be signed under common seal
The Company’s common seal (which is kept by the company secretary, currently the Chief Operating Officer) is only used on rare occasions (eg. on a Deed of Campus Arrangements or on testamurs). The Seal is usually only attached (“affixed”) to a document with the approval of Senate.
However, in formal or urgent matters, when it is not possible to obtain prior Senate approval, the Seal may be affixed to a document on the request of the Pro-Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor or a member of the Senate Standing and Finance Committee.
These documents must be processed in accordance with the University’s Protocol for Affixing the Common Seal (PDF, 175KB). The OGC will help you with this process.
Person(s) acting with the Company’s authority can sign legally binding documents without a common seal. Let the party know that you will arrange for an authorised officer of the University to sign the document. See FAQ ‘Who can sign (execute) documents on behalf of ACU?’ for more detail.
It is important that we have a clear understanding of what you need to be able to provide you with the correct advice. By completing an OGC Briefing Sheet and providing copies of all relevant documentation, you will help us to allocate your matter to a lawyer with the right kind of experience and to respond to your inquiry promptly.
The OGC Briefing Sheet must be signed by an appropriate Head of Faculty or Department to show that the Faculty or Department is aware that the OGC has been engaged.
Completion of an OGC Briefing Sheet helps us to prioritise the large number of requests for legal services that we receive. It also helps our lawyers to comply with their professional requirements regarding client records.
No. We receive a large number of requests for legal services, so it is important to contact us as soon as possible and provide us with as much information as possible. By doing so, we may be able to give your matter priority over other matters that are referred to us at a later date. We can also let you know if you need to provide us with additional documents or take other steps to progress your matter. Please try to avoid referring matters to us at the last minute, as this affects our ability to manage a high volume of urgent matters.
Australian Catholic University Limited is the company created to conduct the activities of the University. The correct way to describe the University in any legally binding document is “Australian Catholic University Limited (ABN 15 050 192 660)”.
Australian Catholic University is the common or business name of the University – it cannot be used to describe the University in legally binding documents.
The University’s ABN is 15 050 192 660 and its ACN is 050 192 660.
The University’s registered address is 40 Edward Street, North Sydney, NSW, 2060.
Under the Delegations Policy, only the Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, General Counsel and Chief Operating Officer may engage external lawyers on behalf of the University. In practice, the OGC manages this process to make sure a firm with the necessary expertise and experience is chosen, and to avoid any potential conflicts of interest.
External lawyers are only engaged if there is good reason for doing so (eg. if we do not have the expertise or resources necessary to help with a particular matter).
We will negotiate a fee with the external law firm, in consultation with your Faculty or Department, and engage the firm on your behalf. We will liaise with you and the firm, and will provide any additional advice you may need.
Although the OGC negotiates fees with external law firms, those fees are usually charged back to the Faculty or Department concerned.
Legally binding documents prepared by external lawyers must be signed by the person(s) who have authority under the Delegations Policy. See FAQ ‘Who can sign (execute) documents on behalf of ACU?’ for more detail.
See FAQ ‘Who can sign (execute) documents on behalf of ACU?’
If you are not sure whether you should make changes to a template document ask your supervisor or the head of your Faculty or Department. If there is any doubt, please contact us for assistance.
Under the Delegations Policy, only the University’s General Counsel is authorised to receive (“accept service”) of court documents, including subpoenas. If your Faculty or Department is approached by a process server (a person who delivers or “serves” court documents) and asked to accept service of a document, please re-direct them to the OGC.
In the case of a subpoena to produce documents, once service is accepted by the OGC, we will then contact the relevant Faculty or Department and make sure that all the relevant documents are collated and forwarded to the Court.
If a subpoena or other court documents are served on your Faculty or Department, please contact the person listed at Supbpoenas and other court documents immediately. These documents must be delivered to the OGC as soon as possible as strict time limits to respond may apply.
Subpoenas and other court documents for the University should be addressed to:
The Proper Officer
Office of General Counsel
Australian Catholic University
Level 3, 3 Berry Street
North Sydney NSW 2060
For further information, see our Fact Sheet on Subpoenas and other court documents (coming soon).
Any requests from police for access to personal information about a staff member or student, should be referred to the OGC as soon as possible: contact us.
The OGC will liaise with police as to whether any information should be disclosed and, if so, how it is disclosed.
Legal professional privilege (also referred to as client legal privilege) is a rule of law which protects confidential communications between a client and their lawyer. In most cases, advice given by the OGC is protected by legal professional privilege. The privilege may protect documents, emails or advice provided verbally from disclosure.
Legal professional privilege is not guaranteed and can be lost (“waived”) by mistake if proper care is not taken. Please contact us before taking any action if you are unsure whether you should disclose a communication or not.
For further information, see our Fact Sheet on Legal Professional Privilege (coming soon).
“ats” means “at the suit of” and is a device used by lawyers who wish to put the name of their client first in the heading of their letters. For example, where Smith is the claimant and Jones is the defendant, the claimant’s lawyers would write “Smith v Jones” and the defendant’s lawyers would write “Jones ats Smith”.
Page last updated: 2017-06-27
Short url: http://www.acu.edu.au/695404