Policy Corporate Governance Legal Services Policy

Legal Services Policy

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This Policy outlines the arrangements for the management, oversight, coordination and provision of legal services for and on behalf of James Cook University.


This Policy applies:

  1. to all officers, employees and any other persons acting for or on behalf of, or in the name of, the University; and

  2. irrespective of any delegation or authority issued in the name of any position title or individual employee.


University General Counsel means the University General Counsel – Legal & Assurance.

Legal Provider or Provider   means a provider of legal services external to the University and includes a firm of solicitors or a barrister.

Referring Officer   the officer, employee or other person acting for or on behalf of, or in the name of the University, who is seeking legal services.

University or JCU   means James Cook University.

Policy and Procedures

1.0   The Role of the Legal & Compliance Services Unit

1.1   Legal and Assurance has principal responsibility for the management, oversight, coordination and provision of all legal advice and other legal services for and on behalf of James Cook University through its executive, administrative and academic areas.

1.2   Legal and Assurance, through its in-house solicitors, is committed to providing independent and professional legal advice and support to all areas of the University, and ensuring that the legal service needs of JCU are met in a timely and cost effective manner, which facilitates outcomes in the best interests of the University. Legal and Assurance seeks to provide pragmatic solutions to legal issues and to minimize the risk of claims and litigation against the University, including by seeking continual improvement of JCU’s processes and procedures and in performance of the University’s daily operations.

1.3   The role of the Legal and Assurance includes, but is not limited to:

  • legal advice, including the interpretation and application of the University’s legislation, policies and procedures;

  • advising on specific compliance and legislative requirements;

  • dispute resolution, litigation and claims management;

  • responding to court documents, subpoenas and requests from third parties under legislative authority (other than requests under the Right to Information Act 2009 (Qld) and the Information Privacy Act 2009 (Qld)); and

  • reporting on the University’s legislative compliance and its claims and contingent liabilities.

2.0   Legal Service Requests

2.1   All requests for legal services must be referred to the University General Counsel.  All requests must be in writing and authorised by the relevant Director, College Dean, Division Executive Officer, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Executive Director, Pro Vice Chancellor, or equivalent.

2.2   The University General Counsel, in consultation with the Referring Officer, will determine whether the work is to be undertaken by Legal and Assurance or through the use of a Legal Provider.

2.3   Legal and Assurance may from time to time issue guidelines, protocols and procedures to assist with the implementation of this Policy and the management, oversight, coordination and provision of legal services for and on behalf of JCU.

3.0   External Legal Referrals

3.1   With a view to ensuring consistency and quality of service, avoiding conflicts of interest, maximizing value from the University’s expenditure on external legal services, and maintaining legal professional privilege, Legal and Assurance has overall responsibility for the management, oversight and coordination of all Legal Providers and the legal requests referred to those Providers

3.2   Where it is determined that work is to be undertaken by a Legal Provider, the University General Counsel will consult with the Referring Officer as to the selection of the Provider. The University General Counsel, however, retains sole discretion as to the selection of this Provider and the terms on which such referral of legal work will be made.

3.3   The University sources the majority of its external legal services from a small panel of Providers (details of this Panel can be obtained from the University General Counsel). This panel is not an exclusive arrangement and, subject to the agreement of the University General Counsel and appropriate terms of engagement being established, legal services may be sourced from other Providers where circumstances demand (such as the need for a specialist in a particular area of the law).

3.4   The Council’s Financial Delegations approve certain officers to authorise and incur legal expenditure for and on behalf of the University.

3.5   Where appropriate, under the Council’s Financial Delegations, the Director, Governance Services and University Secretary may also nominate and approve additional officers to authorise and incur legal expenditure. A nominee may have their delegation suspended or revoked at any time.

3.6   In clauses 3.4 and 3.5, the exercise of any such delegation is limited to the delegate’s area of responsibility and is subject to the prior written approval of the University Secretary or the University General Counsel.

3.7   All expenditure for or on behalf of the University relating to legal services (regardless of whether the invoice is being paid from the Corporate Legal Overheads (CLO) account or another funding source) must be recorded against the ‘legal’ use code (8470) and must be authorised for payment by the University General Counsel.

Related documents, legislation or JCU Statutes

Financial   Management Practice Manual – Delegations Policy

Indemnity, Insurance and   Legal Claims Policy

Litigation Assistance Policy


Approval Details

NOTE: Printed copies of this policy are uncontrolled, and currency can only be assured at the time of printing.

Policy Sponsor:

Vice Chancellor

Approval Authority:


Date for next Major Review:

1 July 2015

Modification History

NOTE: A minor amendment will not result in a change of the next major review date.

Approval date - the date the approval authority approved the establishment, minor or major amendment or disestablishment

Implementation Date - the date the policy was published in the Policy Library and is the date the policy takes effect

Version no.

Approval date

Implementation date





Position titles amended to reflect current organisation structure

Quality, Standards and Policy Officer




Policy sponsor and approval authority amended to reflect approved policy framework



18 May 2012

8 June 2012

Approved by Council