The Department of Home Affairs is seeking expressions of interest from experienced criminal defence lawyers with strong advocacy skills willing to represent subjects under the appointed lawyer provisions set out in the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Act 1979 (Cth) (ASIO Act).
Appointed lawyers must be enrolled as a legal practitioner of a Federal or Supreme Court, have 5+ years’ post-admission experience and hold a practising certificate granted under a law of a state or territory.
Division 3, Part III of the ASIO Act contains a questioning framework to assist ASIO gather intelligence on politically motivated violence, including terrorism, acts of foreign interference and espionage. ASIO may only question an individual pursuant to the authority conferred by a warrant issued by the Attorney-General.
Questioning is overseen by an independent prescribed authority. In certain circumstances, the prescribed authority must make a direction to appoint a lawyer for the subject of a questioning warrant.
Appointed lawyers must be willing to attend as required for each questioning session under a questioning warrant, however availability and other commitments will be taken into account when scheduling questioning sessions. Lawyers provide advice during breaks in questioning, and are provided with further information on the questioning process before representing a questioning subject.
There is, however, no guarantee that lawyers included on the register will be appointed as lawyers in connection with a questioning warrant. ASIO’s compulsory questioning powers are exceptional in nature and likely to be used sparingly.
Suitably qualified criminal defence lawyers who wish to nominate their interest in performing this role should provide the below information to SecurityandIntelligencePolicy@homeaffairs.gov.au:
- full name
- contact details (landline and mobile phone number, and email address)
- details of their employer (if any)
- date of admission to practice
- curriculum vitae
- a copy of their current practising certificate as an Australian legal practitioner.
Email SecurityandIntelligencePolicy@homeaffairs.gov.au if you would like further information.