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Access to records for legal proceedings

Access to records held by the Archives in response to discovery orders and subpoenas

e-Discovery and the law - what is the record?

Presentation on digital records in evidence, 31 May 2011, by Seamus Byrne, Director of KordaMentha, Australian information lawyer and computer forensics expert. (pdf 1.4Mb)

Accessing records

Agencies need to be able to find and use all of their records, in all formats and in all locations, to support business activities.

Records within your agency

Most APS employees are information workers who create, use and interpret records. Making your records easy to find and use will have a significant impact on the efficiency of your agency. One of the Digital Continuity Principles is to ensure that digital information is discoverable, accessible and useable. This is important for business and legislative reasons

Records held in Australian Government agencies are subject to the access provisions of the Archives Act 1983 and the Freedom of Information Act 1982 and are subject to the Privacy Act 1988. To meet these legislative requirements, Australian Government agencies should ensure that they are able, at any time, to provide access to records in a usable form.  Access to records in your agency contains more information about making records easy to find.

Records held by the National Archives

Agency records that have been transferred to the custody of the National Archives may occasionally be needed to support ongoing business. To retrieve or view records that have been transferred to the Archives from your agency, see Access to records held by the Archives.

Other agencies' records

Agencies may also need to access records that are in the custody of another agency. For information on viewing records created by, or in the custody of other agencies, see Access to other agencies' records.

Public access

Your agency has a responsibility to make its records available to the public as evidence of its activities and to demonstrate accountability for its actions. The public has a right of access to records under the Archives Act 1983.

Special access

If you are:

  • a former governor-general, minister or senior public servant who wishes to refresh memories of events dealt with while in office
  • an authorised biographer of one of these people
  • a person who has deposited personal records with the Archives
  • a person preparing major works of national significance for publication

you may qualify for special access to the Archives collection. This means you are granted access to records which are not in the open access period or which are not publicly available.

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2016