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Legal Advice Database

The Secretary’s Review of Commonwealth Legal Services (the Secretary’s Review) includes a focus on coordination and collaboration to improve outcomes and support efficiency between the various parts of the Commonwealth legal services system.

Specifically, Recommendation 5 of the Secretary’s Review outlines the need to share knowledge through ‘An electronic solution to better share critical legal advice and other information held by Commonwealth entities to improve consistency and reduce duplication of effort’. 

The Secretary’s Review states that:

[It] has proposed a database for sharing legal advices, with a key focus on capturing information that has relevance to the broader Commonwealth. The database would include advice from AGS, external providers and in-house lawyers. The recommended solution is a whole-of-government approach that will require an upfront investment and ongoing funding in order to deliver future efficiency.

AGD should work with other entities to establish a central database designed to share key legal advice of broader relevance to Commonwealth entities, with appropriate protections for the security and integrity of the material. This should be supplemented with a mechanism to share other useful material such as templates and guidance.

Additionally, Recommendation 42 of the 2018 Independent Review of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 and Rule provides that the Attorney-General’s Department (AGD) and the Department of Finance work together to explore how legal advice on the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability (PGPA) Act and Rule can be shared across Commonwealth entities. The two recommendations from the separate Reviews will be jointly implemented under this project.

A Government Legal Advice Database Steering Committee has been established to progress implementation of these recommendations. We look forward to bringing you further information as the project develops.

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