Office of General Counsel

The Office of General Counsel (OGC) is responsible for the provision of legal services to the University. It provides legal advice to the Senate, the Chancellor, the Vice-Chancellor, senior executives and other officers and coordinates any external legal services provided to the University.

The OGC has a proactive role in identifying and reducing legal risk. It is committed to effectively responding to the legal needs of its University clients and to responding to requests for advice in a timely and cost-effective manner. It also keeps the University community informed of relevant legal developments and is involved in the formation and review of University statutes, policies and procedures. OGC is also involved in the provision of training and education programs which are intended to facilitate the University's compliance with its legal obligations.

The OGC provides advice to the University in various areas including:

  • research grant agreements
  • consultancy agreements
  • intellectual property, including patents, trademarks and copyright
  • employment law
  • discrimination, harassment and other workplace misbehaviour
  • privacy and access to information
  • research misconduct
  • student misconduct and appeals
  • real property, including purchases, sales and leasing agreements
  • construction projects
  • purchasing goods and services
  • gifts, bequests and trusts
  • affiliation agreements with other Universities or third parties (including international Universities and institutions) with whom the University is undertaking some form of collaboration

If the OGC does not have the specialised knowledge to address a particular issue, it can brief external lawyers to provide assistance.

The OGC does not provide legal services of a personal nature to staff or students. The Students' Representative Council provides a free legal service for undergraduate students. Redfern Legal Centre has a branch office at Sydney University Postgraduate Representative Association and may be able to arrange legal assistance for postgraduate students.

In addition, if there are particular matters of concern to you on a personal basis, you can obtain assistance in the following areas:

  • discrimination, harassment and other workplace misbehaviour – [Human Resources]

How to request legal services

All requests for legal services should be directed in writing to the General Counsel by the head of an academic or administrative unit.

As a general guide, written requests for advice or services should:

  • provide as much background information as possible in relation to the request for advice, including the relevant facts and context of the matter
  • attach copies of all the relevant documents
  • be marked and treated as "confidential"
  • set out the timeframe in which the advice is required (this will assist us in prioritising our work).

We will respond to any urgent or initial inquiries by telephone on (02) 9036 5277 in the first instance.

All requests for advice from and communications with external lawyers must be conducted by the OGC. Under the University of Sydney (Delegations of Authority - Administrative Functions) Rule 2010, the authority to appoint external lawyers to advise in relation to matters relevant to the University or any aspect of its operations or to act on behalf of the University in relation to any matter is delegated to the General Counsel (See Section 4.12).

The University of Sydney (Delegations of Authority - Administrative Functions) Rule 2010, effective from 25 June 2010, lists other University officers who have delegated authority to appoint external lawyers, in consultation with General Counsel.