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​​Lawyers Network Website

Background

The NSW Government Lawyers Network (Lawyers Network) is a secure website which provides a platform for NSW Government lawyers to share legal advices, precedents and other relevant material with other agencies within the NSW public sector.

In accordance with Recommendation 12 of the NSW Department of Justice, Legal Services Blueprint 2011 (Blueprint), certain reforms were developed to improve business processes and delivery of legal services across Government.

The Lawyers Network was developed in response to Recommendation 5 of the Blueprint, which sought to centralise information sharing by providing cross-government access to legal resources through developed of a web-based platform with the sole purpose of sharing, where appropriate, precedents and advices. It is expected that the resource would ultimately reduce demand for common legal advices, reduce duplication and costs and assist agencies in deciding when further legal services are required.​

Purpose

The Lawyers Network web site is a platform for sharing advice and information that may be of value or benefit to other legal teams across the public sector. It is expected that the resource will reduce demand for legal advice and assist agencies in deciding when to defer legal services externally. The resource is also intended to provide greater coordination between legal teams across government and promote greater internal collaboration with the ultimate goal of achieving less external legal services expenditure and maximising potential for consistency in service across government.

For further information please see the NSW Government Lawyers Network Fact Sheet.

Who can access the site?

The NSW Government Lawyers Network is designed wholly and exclusively for NSW Government legal officers from agencies and departments across the sector. To become a member and have access to the Lawyers Network users are required to satisfy the following criteria:

  1. The user provides legal advice as part of their role;

  2. The agency where they are employed represents the Crown; and

  3. The user holds a current practising certificate.

Members must also acknowledge that they will abide by the; Terms and Conditions of Use, the conditions of confidentiality and legal professional privilege and the sharing principles association with material subject to the site.

Members are only provisioned on the site by the Legal Services Coordination and only when they have signed and returned a signed membership application acknowledging agreement with the above requirements.

To become a member please complete the NSW Government Lawyers Membership Form and send the signed form to: NSWLSC@justice.nsw.gov.au  

Instructions on how to use the site will be made available to those who are eligible to access the site.​

RISK REGISTER

What are the risks?

While steps have been taken to keep information on the site confidential you should always consider whether an advice is suitable for inclusion on the site. Circulating legal advice amongst employees of the Crown would not constitute disclosure of that advice by the Crown and would therefore not waive privilege however due to inherent risks associated with making legal advices available on the site, it is not possible to completely exclude the possibility of waiver of privilege. Accordingly users should have regard to the classes of advice that may or may not be suitable for posting on the site. 

Please review the Terms and Conditions and Sharing Principles for a guide on mitigating risks when sharing legal advices.

The below risk register outlines some of the measurers that have been taken to mitigate risks associated with sharing legal advices.

Risks/ConcernsMitigation Strategies/Opportunities
How will we ensure that the site is secure?
  • SSL Certificate
  • Strict membership
How can we keep the site up to date and the content current?
  • Rotating and distributing training and content responsibility throughout departments and agencies
  • LSC to audit documents periodically and to remind users to check currency of documents
How do we get legal staff to use the site?
  • User training, targeted Legal Support Staff training
  • Flexible 'Sharing Principles' to govern the site to encourage varied content
  • Develop FAQs and Quick Reference Guides on key functions

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How do we protect confidential information?
  • Terms and Conditions must be accepted before membership and access to the site are granted
  • Strict membership
  • Flexible department/agency approach to sharing so that departments/agencies decide what they want to share and are comfortable with sharing on the site
  • User access and traffic to the site is tracked and reports can be generated on all users.
How do we protect privileged information?
  • Terms and Conditions must be accepted before membership and access to the site are granted
  • Access to be provided to a restricted group of members. Ie. Legal Directors/General Counsels, Senior Lawyers or Principal Lawyers only

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