Individuals that have been required or directed to give evidence or answer questions have the right to legal or other representation. There is also a particular set of rights for individuals involved in an Integrity Tribunal.
Before engaging with us, it may be helpful to understand certain provisions in the Integrity Commission Act 2009 (Tas).
A notice issued to your client may be subject to confidentiality under section 98 of the Act. Unless that person has a ‘reasonable excuse’, they must not disclose the existence or contents of the notice, or any matters relating to it. What amounts to a ‘reasonable excuse’ is provided in section 98(2) of the Act, and includes the need to seek legal advice in relation to a notice.
The Commission does not cover legal fees for people involved in investigations, except in the instance of an Integrity Tribunal. However, your client may be eligible for reimbursement of your fees through their employing public authority under the relevant Tasmanian Employment Direction.
For a tribunal, a witness may apply to our CEO for assistance with legal costs.
Privilege and procedural fairness
Privileges, including the privilege against self-incrimination, are preserved in our processes. The process for claiming privilege is set out in section 92 of the Act.
We are required to observe the rules of procedural fairness. This includes enabling a person to respond to adverse findings or comments. We take the response into account before finalising a report.
More details are available in our Procedural Fairness Guidelines (PDF, 186.5 KB).
If your client has been issued with a notice under section 47(1)(b) of the Act to attend and give evidence, the schedule of the notice will broadly set out the nature of evidence they are required to give.
During the interview you cannot answer questions or give evidence on your client’s behalf. However, you may ask questions or request a break to speak with your client.